If you're like most organizations, you're in the market for new technologies that can improve or enhance your goals and results. Before you decide on your next investment, though, be sure to look past basic features and functions and into how your software of choice handles these three crucial elements.
Association executives know that managing an influential, engaging, and valued organization takes a multi-faceted arsenal of tools. This includes innovative programs, attractive benefits, and a team that can connect with your membership. It also should include a calculated and well researched investment in technology.
According to CompTIA’s 2019 industry outlook, IT spending will reach $5 trillion this year worldwide, and one would assume associations could be included in that staggering number. But according to a Salesforce report, only 25 percent of associations prioritize technology to help manage their organizations.
In order to compete for the attention of members and drive the kind of growth and change many strive to achieve, that number needs to grow.
Associations do rely on technology daily, from email systems to application platforms to the important association management system. But simply having some technology is not the same as utilizing it for growth and purpose. Nor does its pure existence mean that it’s serving the association properly.
Associations should take a step back to look at all their existing technology investments -- as well as the new platforms they are considering -- and ensure they work cohesively, smartly, and safely. The right selections and set-up can create a tech stack that serves as a catalyst toward improved mission and membership goals.
Three areas to audit:
Integrations can be extremely useful in creating a smart tech line-up as they enable you to have the same data in every place it could prove helpful. Integrations remove the time-consuming process of exporting and importing, and remove the very real possibility of data being compromised by human error.
Make sure your main systems have built-in integration ability with each other, or an open API where an integration can be built.
Security and privacy
With growing security and privacy regulations and standards like GDPR, associations need to make sure their systems keep sensitive data protected and that its used properly.
Ask questions about where SaaS systems are hosted and what kind of encryption and security protocols are in place. Look for certifications like Privacy Shield to ensure the technology providers you work with don’t only meet your security criteria, but are being proactive in their protection. Regulations are only going to increase and become more stringent as time goes on, and you want to partner with a company who will already be ready when the rules change.
There’s a good that the clothes that fit you in college don’t fit you any longer, and if they do, you wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Technology needs and wants can change as swiftly as fashion trends, and if you are going to spend the time and money to invest in a platform, it needs to be one that will work for you both now and down the road.
Look for a system that is scalable and tailorable -- one that can meet your needs now and grow with you as your requirements change.