Attention Association C-suite: A new generation has begun

Dinosaurs are still roaming the Earth.  If you don’t believe me take a close look at your existing association management approach.  Chances are you will see a not-so-rare “DoesEverythingAsaurus”. 

While the rest of world has moved on to greener pastures, the DoesEverythingAsaurus continues to survive by feeding on promises of being all things to all people. 

This approach has served its own purposes well as it looks great on paper and practically guarantees the customer won’t leave, or more accurately, can’t leave.  After all, when it finally hits you that the DoesEverythingAsaurus in fact doesn’t do much very well, you’re stuck. You can’t spend that kind of money and just walk away – right?

The answer depends largely on your attitude. 

When a small business owner refuses to make course corrections they get crushed, period.  Every single employee is very carefully selected to perform a specific job which is critical to the survival of the business.  A results driven focus forces employers to ensure their team is equipped with the best tools possible for optimizing the completion of the task. 

We are presently in a time filled with outstanding tools.  More importantly, it has never been easier to integrate these tools together.  API’s allow these tools to be easily integrated.  If you are using a tool that does not offer an API, demand it or run as fast as you can. 

Some examples of real-life integrations include your Communications Team.  Let’s face it, they don’t want to learn how to operate a space shuttle.  They want a website they are proud of and they want to effectively blast out communications to folks.  They come to you and say “we want eblasts to work just like MailChimp”. 

Why force them to take 5 steps when they could get there in 2? 

Why not just let them use MailChimp?  MailChimp has a great API and it’s inexpensive.  This would be a no-brainer for the small business owner.  Do you really need a committee to talk about this?  Do you really need to research MailChimp and attempt to copy the functional aspects into a frankinsteined “AMS” version of it? 

Apply this example to your Accounting department.  Does your CFO really prefer AMS or CRM software over proper accounting packages?  Not likely. 

20 years ago integrating disperse line of business (LOB) systems was like traversing a minefield blindfolded.  This is no longer the case.  LOB integrations have come a long way. 

Authoritative Data Source

You do need a single source of data-truth.  This fact is without question a best practice to ensure data consistency and information continuity.  Choose your authoritative platform wisely.  Start on a platform that is aligned with the things your association staff is clamoring for.  This approach requires a platform that has a massive global community and is highly extensible with strengths in areas such as internal and external content management, collaboration, workflows, powerful search, document management, security, business intelligence and reporting, records retention and affordability.   

One platform to consider as your authoritative data source is Microsoft SharePoint.  SharePoint excels in these areas and many others. Microsoft has many solutions but none even come close to the capabilities of SharePoint.  The SharePoint ecosystem is the largest in Microsoft product history and continues to grow at a healthy rate.

While SharePoint may not be a magic bullet, nothing else even comes close.

The platform has evolved and continues to be advanced by the world’s largest software manufacturer. If you have not seen SharePoint in a while, you should.

This best-of-breed approach positions Microsoft’s most powerful platform to do what it does best.  Meanwhile, integrating non-Microsoft LOB’s with SharePoint involves straight forward API calls.   

Realizing the DoesEverythingAsaurus is not only alive and well, but actually thriving across the association landscape, more associations are considering a modern approach to association management activities.  The resulting Association Management Ecosystem™ is a re-invention of something that simply couldn’t work 5-10 years ago.  It works today because we not only have the ability to easily integrate SharePoint with non-Microsoft API’s, but the SharePoint platform itself has its own thriving ecosystem.

Real Ecosystems Have 3rd Party Apps

Relying on a single vendor to advance your solution is expensive, non-sustainable and does not scale.  Regardless of your vendor’s size, the result is a hopeless reliance on a single point of failure.  Not a great game plan. 

Now consider the extensive ecosystem of just SharePoint specific 3rd party apps for iPhones, iPads, Windows, etc. such as “BoardPacks for SharePoint” by eShare which gives Board Members a collaborative iPad solution while also keeping IT folks happy about content living in a secure centralized and controllable location.

Board Members use iPads – BoardPacks for SharePoint by eShare Board Members use iPads – BoardPacks for SharePoint by eShare

Naturally Integrated - Sometimes the best way to harness a platforms speed of innovation is with natural integrations as with this one with iPhones and Android phones.

“Siri, call a CEO from our member directory”
SharePoint Mobile Sync by SharePoint AMS

“Yammer” which makes your environment more social for a very important audience, your staff! 

Get Social - Yammer for SharePoint by Yammer/Microsoft

Get Social - Yammer for SharePoint by Yammer/Microsoft

There’s even a SharePoint App store,
not to mention the thousands of companies selling hundreds of thousands of SharePoint add-on’s.

SharePoint App Store
SharePoint App Store

API administration by your IT Team involves pasting 3rd party API keys into lists.

3rd party Windows Apps already exist allowing your staff to access key membership information stored in SharePoint.

GimmalPoint by Gimmal


Breathe life into your membership data using any of the several best of breed BI and reporting tools
already integrated with SharePoint.

SharePoint data visualization via GeoFlow

Create, deliver and track learning with SharePoint LMS.

With SharePoint LMS you can offer an online course catalog with access to learning content for your entire organization. A complete overview of learning results is available with single sign in to your portal and makes learning and learning management easy and simple.


This post merely scratches the surface of the advantages of a true ecosystem approach. 
(sorry about the surface link, couldn’t resist ;)

There’s an exciting new world out there full of fantastic choices but you can’t get there while riding the DoesEverythingAsaurus.

We believe one tool cannot possibly deliver greatness across all functional landscapes.  Our unique Association Management Ecosystem™ approach incorporates the best of all landscapes.  

With an API centric architecture, you are assured your solution is usable, sustainable, integratable and highly relevant.

If you are looking for a single tool that claims to do everything, you will find it, but not here.  There’s hundreds of DoesEverythingAsaurus systems making that claim and we truly wish you the best – we can still be friends ;)

However, if you are trying to identify a superior approach to your association management activities, we invite you to consider our Association Management Ecosystem™.