Embrace digital transformation and master platform-based association management

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By Dirk Behrends, Vice President, Association Solutions, Fonteva & Protech

Some associations remain deeply committed to their proprietary Association Management Software (AMS) solutions – after all, they have invested significant time and money developing them. In this context, it is understandable that the expression digital transformation– defined as any IT modernization that has a fundamental impact on the way an organization operates and generates value – can be daunting.

But while the buzzword seems to come straight from a marketing department, the business value of digital transformation is significant. The past few years have made it clear that association leaders must embrace technological change to ensure business continuity.

Emerging research confirms this premise: a recent study by Altimeter suggested that digitally mature companies are better able to maintain strategic direction during the pandemic. “They are focused on digital innovation, integrating a new wave of technologies with an intensity that exceeds the market,” the researchers said.

Simply put, digital transformation gives associations a clear competitive advantage. This is because proprietary AMS solutions, or legacy systems, prevent associations from keeping up with next-generation cloud technology.

Integrations and customizations designed to engage members and generate non-dues revenue in legacy systems become difficult to maintain, and recurring licensing and maintenance fees add up.

Associations that depend on legacy systems are also forced to plan costly and time-consuming software upgrades that drop productivity and diminish user experience. Additionally, the association’s in-house IT staff bears the burden of maintaining security protocols, a dangerous prospect in today’s high-risk threat environment.

Combination Software Platforms vs. Legacy Solutions

The solution is to make the transformative change of owner or old AMS systems for associative software platforms. These integrated, association-specific technology suites are built on trusted cloud-based business platforms such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365.

By moving operations to true cloud platforms, associations can simplify their technology stacks, reduce costs, and unlock the security, accessibility, and flexibility needed to build a scalable and resilient future.

“Basing systems on cloud platforms is not just an IT decision, it’s a business decision that strategically positions your association to fulfill its mission, whatever the future,” said Jake Fabbri, Chief Marketing Officer at Fonteva & Protech. “Here and now, associations have options, but they will be handcuffed in the future if they don’t select a true cloud platform solution today.”

“The new normal in the association world is all about systems that are built on a platform that serves as the hub of an association’s member intelligence,” Fabbri continued. “While this is not at all new to businesses outside of the nonprofit space, it is something nonprofits need to pay attention to.”

The key to choosing an appropriate association platform is education, and that’s where resources like AssociationPlatforms.com Come in. Bookmark this site now and you’ll have a go-to source for subject matter expert expertise on how to mobilize technology change.

Technological change is crucial given that more than 76% of companies already describe their relationship with technology and digital transformation as “usually average or above average.”

“AssociationPlatforms.com will make life easier for association leaders and staff,” said Erin Lemons, Senior Director of Marketing at Fonteva & Protech. “The site helps mitigate risk by advising readers on how to select and use enterprise solutions based on world-class customer relationship management tools.”

Ensuring a foreseeable future

In a recent global survey, 97% of companies said: “the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation processes in their organizationswith 68% saying digital transformation “has accelerated a lot.”

By adopting the right platforms, association leaders can ensure greater security, foster seamless member experiences, leverage cutting-edge research and development, and encourage employee advancement through process reduction. manuals.

“Recent events have laid bare the underlying rigidity of the systems and processes that associations have put in place,” Fabbri said. “In addition to meeting consumer expectations that nonprofits deliver a Google-like user experience and provide services like Amazon, nonprofits also need to ensure that they don’t have all their eggs in one revenue basket. .”

To forge a strategic path forward, Fabbri said associations must strive to figure out how to continue to engage their members, preferably before their members know what they want.

“It’s not just about collecting dues,” he said. “The questions that associations need to answer with their technology revolve around how they can better meet the needs of their members in the future. Where can you fill market gaps? How to become the go-to information resource for your industry? Just looking back to who needs a reminder to pay their dues is yesterday’s association model. And organizations that don’t scale or transform will be left behind.


In in early 2021, Togetherwork acquired Fonteva, a platform solution based on the robust capabilities of Salesforce. At the end of 2021, Togetherwork acquired Protech, an associative platform solution based on Microsoft Dynamics 365. AssociationPlatforms.comFonteva and Protech are educating the industry on technology that enables associations to deliver a modern member experience.

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