Nothing ever stays the same. Things change because that’s the only way they can be improve. Progress demands change. With anything, as we identify issues, we fix them – as new technology becomes available, we implement it. Staying the same would require us to allow issues to continue and to ignore technological advances. That’s obviously not going to happen – nor should it.
So, if things change, we need to manage that change (especially in a business scenario). Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. I’d love to be able to tell you that every AMS provider does not fall within the group of those that do not succession plan their metamorphoses, but the truth is some providers are not exempt from this indictment. Some AMS providers plan for their future (and its success) without factoring in the clients that got them there – their existing clientele.
If you happen to be in that pool of existing clients that is being left in the wake of your AMS providers so-called progress, know that you have options. Whatever you do, do not think that you have to comply by changing the way you prefer to do things just to accommodate the direction your AMS provider wants to go in. You are the client. Your role is to express your needs and goals to the provider. The provider’s role is to provide you with (and continue to provide you with) a solution that will meet your needs and empower you to achieve your goals. The moment that unspoken contract is broken or compromised – there’s an issue. So, if this happens, what should you do?
Depending on the amount of inconvenience caused, the first thing you should do is reach out to your current provider. At some point in your partnership history with your provider, there was a reason why you chose them over other options. So, if the provider wants to honour the longevity of your relationship by ensuring their solution is valuable to you (as they have before), the agreement you have may be salvageable. However, if it becomes clear that the provider isn’t interested in taking care of your needs, you need to start taking the steps to move away from their services and implement a new solution that will benefit your efforts as it should.
Follow the high-level approach described below to transition as smoothly as possible from your current AMS to a solution that’s a better fit.
- Research other options
- Interview prospective providers
- Request demos
- Internally review your findings
- Conduct follow-up meetings with provider shortlist
- Request proposals
- Identify which prospective provider will be the most transparent, supportive and attentive to your needs
- Acquire your data from your current provider
Once you’ve decided on the right provider and solution for you, the provider will guide you through the transition process and get you on the road to enjoying the management of your membership once more. After all, that’s what an association management system should be – a tool that allows your professional administrators to lighten their load and your members to interact with the community you’ve created in a way that makes sense.
No matter how your provider evolves, it should not devalue the solution they have provided you. Your association’s ability to benefit its membership is just as important as the provider’s ability to benefit their clientele.