How to Align Your Association Internally on a Technology Change

How to Align Your Association Internally on a Technology Change

Choosing any software or a new Association Management Software (AMS) is significant for any organization. The success of this transition hinges on aligning your team internally to ensure a smooth and efficient changeover. Changing your technology can seem like a big lift – but with efficient planning, it can be an exciting time for your organization. Here’s everything to consider to align your team on a technology change. 


Assessing the Need for Change

The first step in aligning your team is understanding why a change is necessary. This should be the step you take before engaging with vendors – it will help you overcome internal hurdles if you can continuously point back to the why throughout the process. 

Begin by identifying the challenges with your current software. These could include inefficiencies, user dissatisfaction, or technological limitations that slow down your organization’s performance.

Recognizing the benefits of upgrading or changing the AMS is crucial. A new system can offer improved functionality, enhance member experience, and streamline operations. Conduct a thorough needs assessment by gathering surveys and feedback from team members and analyzing how the current system is used and where it falls short. Once you’ve gathered the feedback from every department in your organization, combine it into one comprehensive list. Quantify the challenges whenever possible – if you can provide tangible reasons to switch to other team members or your board, it can be easier to make the case. 

Engaging Internal Stakeholders

A successful technology evaluation process requires the engagement of key internal stakeholders. Identify who has to be involved in the whole process, who needs to have buy-in, and who needs to be the ultimate decision-maker. Usually, associations will have 1 or 2 stakeholders involved in every aspect of the process and a few key team members who pop into specific conversations to evaluate their specific requirements (like finance, event management, etc) in the system. 

If you don’t have an IT team at your organization, don’t stress. It’s still possible to choose and implement technology without an internal IT team. 

Effective communication is vital. Keep stakeholders informed with regular updates and open forums for discussion. Hold meetings and debriefs to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Forming a project committee that includes representatives from all key areas can help gather input and feedback, making stakeholders feel involved and invested in the process.


Determining Your Budget 

Establishing a budget for the AMS transition involves determining the total cost of ownership. This includes software licensing fees, implementation and migration costs, and training and support expenses. Every vendor will have different fees – some don’t charge by license, and some have flat-fee implementation fees or support and training built-in to the annual licensing fees. Set an overall budget for the project, including licensing fees and implementation costs. 

The budget approval process can be challenging. Present a compelling business case to leadership, and lean on the why you established in step one, showcasing any quantifiable amount your current system’s inefficiencies have cost you or how much a new system could increase membership renewals, fundraising efforts, or other avenues. 


Developing a Timeline

Developing a realistic timeline is crucial for a successful technology selection process. Set clear goals and milestones. Create a detailed project timeline that coordinates with all departments, ensuring minimal disruption to daily operations and aligning with organizational events and activities. Look at the contract with your current vendor to set goalposts on when you need to be live on a new system. Usually, you’ll want one to two months of overlap between your new system going live and sunsetting your old system. Knowing that most implementation projects take 6-8 months, backtrack the date that you want to be live on your new system by that length of time. That should be when you plan to sign a contract and get started on implementation with a new vendor. 

Regular progress reviews are essential to monitor the project’s advancement and make necessary adjustments. Be prepared to address any delays or unforeseen challenges promptly.

Aligning your team internally for an AMS technology change is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning and execution. You can ensure a smooth transition by assessing the need for change, engaging internal stakeholders, establishing a budget, and developing a timeline. Start the alignment process early, communicate openly, and stay flexible to navigate challenges successfully.


Related Posts

Your members are ready for what's next. Are you?