Making the right digital choice is not all down to technology. Understanding how technology across the organisation supports your business processes and data strategy is key.
The pressure on organisations to be more digital savvy is growing and growing, accelerated by COVID-19, but not created by it. The choice of Association Management Software (AMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Website, Apps, Event Management Systems (EMS) or Learning Management systems (LMS) etc… all can be daunting, all with amazing features being marketed to you.
We have put together some key points to help you make the right decision, or at least steer your decision process, avoiding being swayed by the technology bells and whistles.
In a recent study conducted by Digital Excellence (2021/22) Report by Memberwise, the top digital challenges for associations include inadequate systems to help track and drive member engagement, inadequate self-service for members, siloed information, and lack of reporting – all of which can be resolved if you plan your supplier selection, ensuring the technology fits your organisation and is based on your business requirements.
In addition to what the technology can offer, there are three other considerations when shortlisting your suppliers. These need to align to ensure that you can effectively move forward, you must keep in mind that there are no perfect suppliers, but when you address these areas, you will be able to have a balanced and informed decision.
Selection of technology shouldn’t be done in isolation, this should involve a wider team across the organisation, ideally the one that you used when reviewing and setting your business requirements, or maybe wider, get them actively involved in assessing and using test sites. This will ensure that it is a decision you make now will be one you don’t have challenges with later. Does the demo tick those boxes, are the users enthused by it?
If you’ve done your planning and understand your business requirements, identifying a realistic budget is a simpler process and will avoid having to cut back mid project. All suppliers will estimate the budget needed for the roll-out, if you have done the background planning then this should be a very good estimate – changes to requirements are the biggest contributors to budget creep.
This element often gets de-prioritised but don’t underestimate the importance of this to ensure project success. You must make sure that the whole organisation appreciates the value in the change, fully understand what this will do, both, for your members and the staff – will your supplier help with this process?
Knowing where you may encounter resistance will help you plan for it, perhaps preempt it. Doing a risk assessment is a standard practice across many areas of the business and is just as important here. Staff tell you they need a new system; the volume of workarounds and manual process are too much…but do they? Perform a risk analysis – ask staff what they need, what they fear about a new system, will there be job security concerns with more automation, do they accept that they will need to change processes and allow time to get up to speed.
Do you have sponsorship at a senior level in the organisation? Leaders across the organisation need to be prepared, supportive and understand the benefits but also understand the impact to their part of the organisation and be willing to drive the change.
Have you built a communication plan? While this is not always a complicated aspect of the project it’s key to keep it on track, and more importantly can be a major factor that will make or break the project. Once you have done your risk assessment you can ensure that you are addressing staff fears and are able to mitigate informed risks.
We worked with a client that was not only providing staff with information sessions on the new system but had created a full change management programme, KPI setting for employees as well as inclusion in their staff annual reviews. How would this work in your organisation?
If you’d like to chat, we are here and have worked with many clients over the last 20+ years. Each organisation has unique challenges but discussing these and brainstorming solutions can normally provide the answer and direction you need.
Chrysalis Digital provides a digital transformation service designed to help build a more agile, efficient, and innovative organisation. With its broad cross-sector experience Chrysalis has helped many organisations map their digital path and through careful planning and assessment, choose the right technology partners. Chrysalis Digital is 100% agnostic when recommending CMS and CRM suppliers to its clients.
If you need any help with the next steps in your journey, please call Ben Sturt on 07469 768990 or email email@example.com.