Why You Need a Data Strategy Before Going All-In on a New AMS

Data is everything when it comes to managing your associations’ membership. It’s the lifeblood of an organization, providing insights into member engagement, event attendance, financial performance, and much more.

Association Management Systems (AMS) play a vital role in managing your member data, but without a smart data strategy to build upon, an AMS can quickly cause more headaches than it solves. Many AMS products are complex and require significant training to use effectively. Customization options and vendor support are often limited, which means you may be forced to cobble together multiple applications and software to truly meet your needs. And the more you take a haphazard approach to building your technology infrastructure, the more likely you are to miss out on the insights that matter most.

Before making the decision to invest in a new AMS, defining your association’s data strategy will equip you with the insights you need to make informed decisions and ensure that your technology is aligned with your goals and KPIs.

What Does an AMS Do?

Association Management Systems serve several critical functions within an association, including member database management, member communication, dues payment processing, online networking and community-building, learning management systems, and website management. While these functions are essential, relying solely on an AMS may limit your organization’s growth and potential for data-driven decision-making. 

A data strategy can enhance the functionality of your AMS in many ways, including: 

  1. Member Database: Implementing a data strategy allows for effective segmentation and personalization of member experiences by guiding you in capturing the metrics that matter most. By leveraging data, you can offer tailored programs and events to specific member groups, ultimately improving engagement and satisfaction. In many cases you’ll find a need to clean up duplicates and inaccurate data to get more out of your member database.
  2. Member Communication & Online Network: Analyzing member interactions using data can provide insights into which events and resources are most valuable to your members. Understanding member preferences and behavior can optimize engagement strategies and strengthen your community.
  3. Dues Payment Portal: A data strategy can empower you to create reporting and analytics dashboards that identify high-value members, enabling cross-selling and upselling opportunities. Additionally, you can leverage predictive analytics to forecast member retention and attrition, allowing proactive measures for member retention.
  4. Learning Management System (LMS) Functionality: A data strategy supports the LMS functionality of an AMS by enabling personalization, targeted offerings, performance tracking, continuous improvement, integration with member data, and data-driven decision-making. It enhances the educational experience for members, promotes engagement, and allows associations to efficiently deliver educational content and support the professional development needs of their members.
  5. Website Management & Content Personalization: Collecting and segmenting data enables you to deliver personalized experiences on your association’s website. By tailoring content based on member interests and behavior, you can enhance user experience and drive higher engagement.

What Is a Data Strategy?

A data strategy is an overarching plan that guides your association in leveraging data and analytics to achieve your critical business objectives. It’s built upon four key concepts:

  1. Story: Defining a vision, goals, use cases, and success metrics that align with your association’s objectives.
  2. Oversight: Establishing a dedicated delivery team, defining key stakeholders, implementing risk and issue management processes, and ensuring adequate program funding.
  3. Transformation: Outlining requirements, selecting appropriate delivery methodologies, designing data architecture and infrastructure, and implementing effective data governance practices.
  4. Culture: Developing a change management plan, providing education and training, establishing communication strategies, and fostering communities of practice.

To guide you on your data strategy journey, UDig offers a comprehensive guide to creating your data strategy roadmap as well as a data strategy roadmap template.

Choosing the Right AMS Starts with a Smart Data Strategy

Before embarking on the selection of a new AMS, prioritizing the development of a data strategy will help guide your requirements and decision-making process. By embracing a data strategy first, associations can make more informed decisions, enhance member experiences, improve data quality, and drive meaningful growth. Investing in a comprehensive data strategy will lay a strong foundation for successful AMS implementation and maximize the value of your data.

If you’re ready to embark on your digital modernization journey, UDig can help you develop a data strategy that positions your association for future-focused success.


Data Strategy Resources