sible for making sure the technology of the AMS
aligns with the organization’s available IT resources.
At the same time, references should be checked
to make sure the company providing the new AMS
system has the ability to execute.
Wampler: On a technology standpoint, IT should
make sure staff can get to the data and reporting
in an easy manner. Ease of use for the member,
ensuring the platform is cloud-based and response
times are good, and has APIs for connecting with
other platforms are also important, in addition to
evaluating any roadmaps for future improvements.
Native mobile app capabilities or offerings are also
an added value and not something IT would need to
look at adding themselves at a later time.
FORUM: Once the decision has been made
on the new AMS, what should IT’s role be in
outlining the implementation timeline and plan?
Diazluna: Again, a POC (Proof of Concept) can be
used and IT should drive this effort. It is OK to be
flexible and tweak the original requirements gathered during the AMS evaluation, but organizations
need to be aware of scope creep. An agile implementation is always preferred where “features” and
“functionality” are released in stages.
IT, in coordination with business units, should
agree on the different sprints and what will be
implemented in which sprint. IT should work on all
the integration points as soon as possible as these
usually become risks that are entirely driven and
completely preventable by IT.
Finally, it is IT’s job to set the right expectations
for the entire organization. An AMS implementation will invariably be more complex than originally
anticipated. It is also IT’s responsibility, with the
assistance of the executive sponsor, to keep the
project on target and the business units engaged
and receiving updates. Full transparency and communication is a must.
Wampler: Definitely helping to keep it on track, as
well as to keep scope creep from happening. Once
a partner has been decided and a SOW finalized,
too many times new issues come up or other processes that were not discussed come to light. This
is normal, but should only be addressed if those
additions are not going to throw off the timeline.
Consider those additions a “phase two” type of the
project if they do interfere with it. Reminding the
staff that the project is a marathon and not a sprint
FORUM: What are some of the roadblocks that
an association may encounter during the imple-
mentation phase, from an IT perspective?
Diazluna: Poor requirements and a lack of business units’ involvement in the early stages are
definitely major roadblocks for an AMS implementation. Not setting the right expectations and a lack
of transparency can also create frustration. In my
experience, curiously enough, major roadblocks
have more to do with human interactions than technical constraints. Make sure to identify early your
“champions” so that they can help push the project
Wampler: Did I mention scope creep? In all seriousness, I would also add in the risk or associations
thinking the AMS is only an “IT” thing. The project/
process is all about improving the association’s capabilities for their members. This includes everyone
from all departments and requires input and work
from those departments as well, while doing their
daily job. It’s hard, but it is only for a short time,
relatively speaking, and in the end, will only help
the organization succeed.
“The main role for IT is to remove all risks, or as many
as possible, on an AMS implementation. Depending on
the size of the organization, this can take many forms.
What never changes is IT’s responsibility to recognize and
remove all risks of the AMS implementation.”