Rhythm: A Cloud-Native AMS

Rhythm: A Cloud-Native AMS

Here we are - launch day. Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time discussing why we felt so driven to create a brand new take on Association Management Software. After much reflection, I’ve decided that for me it started with baseball cards. Obviously.

Jim Catts, computerYou see, way back in the 80’s my mom and dad bought our first family computer - an 8088 running MS-DOS. At that time, we were the only family I knew with one in their home. My dad worked with computers and my mom insisted all the kids learn about them. Together we built my first program. A database. For my baseball card collection.

Fast forward right past flannel, Reebok Pumps, and the macarena and suddenly it’s 2005. I’m writing my first line of code for an AMS. Fittingly, it was a data access layer for an underlying relational database. I would spend the next 12 years building solutions for associations as their relationship with the AMS evolved around me.

From my vantage point, this evolution had two driving forces. First, as associations looked for new ways to use technology to engage members they began to ask more of their AMS. AMS platforms added Event Management, Certifications, Online Stores, Documents Management, and more. The second force was rising member expectations, frequently an unconscious comparison to the other experiences they have with technology in their daily lives.

Today, we expect technology to know us. When we get online, the content we receive is personalized. Our homes learn our schedules and adjust the temperature and lights automatically. Today, we expect technology to be everywhere. We pull out our phones to look up that actor we just can’t place. Our cars read our text messages so we can be connected at all times.

We expect yesterday’s impossibility to become today’s reality.

To know us, to connect us, and to continuously improve. Anytime. Anywhere. Always. These are now basic requirements from technology if an association wants to change the world one member at a time.

Honestly, that’s a big ask. Especially when so much has been added to the once simple AMS. So, we looked at other big asks. Anything I want shipped to my house tomorrow. Any movie on any device starting right now. File my taxes from my phone. We found technology innovators embracing change by deconstructing the monoliths of the last 20 years into tiny independent parts, all working seamlessly together. We saw how they created automated tools that can test, update, monitor, and heal each of those parts allowing them to reliably push out improvements even under the load and pressure of a tax season or holiday shopping rush.

We quickly saw how these principles could transform something as big and complicated as an AMS into a fleet of interconnected parts each dedicated to just one aspect of the association and member experiences, but working as a cohesive platform. A truly cloud-native architecture. One that could help you keep pace with member expectations in the cloud and mobile era.

To do so meant thinking about things in a completely different way. It meant straying outside the Microsoft ecosystem I have been building on for the last 20 years. It meant moving away from the relational database like the one that once held my baseball cards. It meant looking at every technology decision through the mantra: to know you, to connect you, and to continuously improve. Anytime. Anywhere. Always.

In this blog series, I’d like to share with you some inside baseball on why we made each of those decisions along the way.

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