Going to AMS Fest!
Imagine traveling to DC right now, staying a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, with the most controversial election we can remember happening in less than two months. That's where I will be September 15-16.
What's the occasion, you ask?
It's AMS Fest, the gigawatt
party conference put on by Teri Carden of ReviewMyAMS.com. It's a geeky gathering of association staffers and executives, IT consultants, and association management consultants and entrepreneurs.
I know. You're jealous. Well, you should come to the next one. The next best thing is me telling you all about it, both before and after I go.
What is Review My AMS?
AMS stands for Association Management System. It's software used primarily by associations, but also other kinds of fundraising and member-based organizations. An association management system typically manages member records, keeps data on individual and company members, handles accounts receivable and dues billing, does a host of other things, and (quite importantly) is a website content management system (CMS) at the same time. Yeah, AMS software packages tend to be huge and complex.
At 501CiO we are giddy about a particular AMS called iMIS, because we have seen how it helps so many associations operate intelligently. I'll say more about iMIS after I explain what Review My AMS does.
Review My AMS is a place where people, mostly from associations, write about their experience with their AMS. Currently there are – get this – 600 reviews representing fifty-six brands of AMS software. A lot of people don't know there are that many kinds of AMS out there. And 600 reviews! You can imagine the wealth of information you can find on the ReviewMyAMS.com website.
But perhaps more important than the information is the therapeutic value of reading other users, people in jobs just like yours, who love or hate or maybe tolerate their AMS. Whatever we work with day after day – a machine, a software, a vehicle, a tool – we tend to have mixed feelings about it. AMS's are no exception to the rule.
And everybody wants to love the tools they work with.
One step toward loving your AMS is to get on ReviewMyAMS.com and write your review. Write it honestly. You have frustrations with iMIS. Some days you might see the frustrations more than the technological miracles it makes possible. But include also the ways it saves your organization time, keeps records you can't imagine holding in spreadsheets, unifies systems so you don't have half a dozen places to go look for things, allows different parts of your association universe to talk to each other, and provides your members with information and self-service options.
Oh, and if you post a review, you get access to read ReviewMyAMS.com reviews for free.
Things I Am Looking Forward to at AMS Fest
You probably thought I was going to say the evening social events. No, actually, I am fired up about being around the best of the best in our industry talking about stuff that matters.
Take, for example, the session on September 15 at AMS Fest, “Beneath the Surface: Investors Discover Association Tech & What it Means for You.” There's this thing going on in our association world where Private Equity firms are investing in association technology companies. There have been mergers and acquisitions. Some associations have been not-so-kindly forced to swap out one system for another (in some cases after having a conference where they assured users it wouldn't happen).
I'll hear from association executives how the experience was for them switching AMS's or implementing major upgrades and changes. Brainy software experts will be on panels with communication savvy consultants explaining some future trends in association technology. Crowd-sourced sessions will address topics voted on by the attendees. That should be fun. I can't wait to see what a smart crowd of association tech users will see as the most important matters for discussion.
Most of all, I'm looking forward to getting back and sharing things I've learned with all of you after AMS Fest.
What About iMIS?
I've been reading reviews on ReviewMyAMS.com for a little while now and I've learned some things.
iMIS is highly rated on Review My AMS. It has more reviews than any other AMS. This is a rough indicator that iMIS is one of the most-used AMS's out there.
Positive reviews of iMIS include the following statements:
"This system has the capability to support your business into the future. Understanding the data requirements and the support you need is critical for making the right decision to purchase this software."
"My staff has found the iMIS 20 back office interface easier to use and the web content manager a breeze. The reporting options and functionality are excellent."
"iMIS is a fantastic and powerful AMS. We’ve gone through the versions from 10 to now 20 and each have been an enhancement on the last."
Here are three big lessons I have learned from the content of the reviews (maybe each of them should be a separate "501CiO Quick Topic" article):
- Users who like iMIS best have the latest version, while those who complain iMIS is behind the times have the ten-years-ago version.
- The best reviews of iMIS come from people who have a great consultant team working with them (ahem, like 501CiO, right readers?).
- Finally, it matters how you use it. Every association has some unique processes. Getting good advice in configuring your system from consultants and user groups (like NiUG, the National iMIS User Group, see NiUG.org) is a great idea.
Well, there are a few thoughts for now. I'll have more to share on this after AMS Fest. Meanwhile, next week we will talk about being "Over-tasked and Under-teched." The week after that, "Sliding Up, Not Down."
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501CiO Consulting, LLC, specializes in getting small and mid-sized associations affordably into the Cloud version of iMIS. We build award-winning websites for associations. We setup, we train, we implement. Most of all we serve the association industry proudly.
web-content, software, reviews, iMIS, CMS, associations, AMS