Association Today

Association News You Can Use

Association Today is a blog authored by Paul Lundy that talks about the news and insights relevant to the association industry.

How Can Mobile BI Help Associations Improve Member Retention?

How Can Mobile BI Help Associations Improve Member Retention?

For associations to be successful with member retention, research shows they must embrace decision-making Platform Solutions that people will actually use. Daniel Yuen, a research director at Gartner, recently wrote an article on Forbes.com about three key BI trends that will shape the strategies and tactics of associations between now and 2016.

Forget mobile business intelligence. If you’re like most organizations, you feel like you’re doing great just knowing how to pull these reports up on your laptop.

But for organizations to grow and be successful over the next few years, especially when it comes to member retention, it’s critical that they embrace decision-making Platform Solutions that people will actually use.

Daniel Yuen, a research director for business intelligence, analytics and performance management at Gartner, recently wrote an article on Forbes.com about three key BI trends. He outlines several technologies that his company’s analysts say will shape the strategies and tactics of associations between now and 2016.

Here are three of Gartner’s predictions.

...
Continue reading
1486 Hits

Why Does Association Management Demand Stellar KPIs?

Why Does Association Management Demand Stellar KPIs?

Truly remarkable association management is impossible without a great set of key performance indicators. Unfortunately, many organizations come up short. According to a recent article on the Associations Now website, having this clarity of purpose is important for growth. Organizations must have an obvious connection between dues and member value.

Sure, it’s fine to look at general metrics such as revenue and membership growth. But having a core set of KPIs and strategies is critical to understand what’s really important to the organization. Once you have a strategy, then you can develop a real plan about where you ought to focus your efforts. You can’t measure success until you can first define it.

According to a recent article on the Associations Now website, having this clarity of purpose is a major key for growth. Organizations need to have an obvious connection between dues and member value as they grow.

“More people are planning to grow,” says John Gillespie, managing director of Veris Consulting, a Virginia-based company that provides accounting consulting, forensic accounting and survey research consulting services. “They know they need to grow, but the growth is still a challenge.”

In short, organizations need to clarify their strategy and business goals. However, a survey in the article shows that only 40 percent report on KPIs to their boards. One reason for this, the article explains, is that there is “still a ‘fuzziness’ around analytics in associations because there is no standardization around measurements.”

Measuring data also takes time and money. But again, this effort is important to developing a successful association management growth plan.

“Metrics are more important than ever,” Gillespie tells Associations Now. “Nonprofits need to move toward more detailed strategic and fundraising plans specifying financial, operational, program and development metrics with realistic benchmarks to assess progress toward larger goals.”

Source: Associations Now, February 2013

Continue reading
1788 Hits

How Can Association Management Develop A Successful Data Strategy?

How Can Association Management Develop A Successful Data Strategy?

While there are a lot of Platform Solutions being developed around Big Data and BI tools, association management needs to do a few things before investing in these expensive tools and consultants.

For one thing, it’s more important for organizations to first determine what metrics the association should measure. There’s a ton of data out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if the association isn’t zeroed in on exactly what data it needs.

This is why having a data strategy is the key to success. It helps associations focus on what really matters. The organization’s leadership needs time to understand the scope and complications of Big Data projects and what additional tools they might need to harvest good information.

To do this, associations need to ask themselves, “What metrics are we most interested in? Is it the indicators of satisfied members who continuously renew?” Only after they ask themselves these kinds of questions can they effectively drill down on the correct metrics.

Again, you can be swimming in data, but without a firm understanding of what’s important to know and what’s just nice to know, you easily can waste a ton of time and money without ever getting where you need to be.

The volume of information is growing at staggering rates. In fact, recent research from Gartner says that about a third of companies are storing a million gigabytes of data, an amount that requires a complex association management software system to manage and mine it.

However, as a recent article on the Wired magazine website notes, truly actionable information isn’t always easy to come by. To illustrate this, the article compares Big Data to crude oil.

“Big Data has become a vast, largely untapped resource capable of powering progress, and it requires a certain expertise to extract and refine to maximize its utility,” the article explains. “But unlike a fossil fuel, data isn’t necessarily spent once used; its value can continue growing as new pieces of information are added, provided that it is managed effectively.”

With the right technology and skill, Big Data can be a “powerful, renewable force,” but it requires proper context and refinement. Associations have to think seriously about how to create, edit and store their data, which is easier said than done.

Source: Wired Magazine, February 2013

Continue reading
1350 Hits

5 Ways BI And The Cloud Give Power To Association Management

5 Ways BI And The Cloud Give Power To Association Management

Fueled by cloud technology, business intelligence is giving real power to association management.Organizations that fail to embrace these online innovations will absolutely be left behind.

Organizations trying to get by with limited BI and reporting capabilities are at a big disadvantage because they’re limited in how they can communicate and grow. That’s because they can’t mine the necessary data.

BI innovation is being pushed out in the cloud at such an accelerated rate. In fact, the rate of enhancement and innovation in the cloud is 10 times what it is in any other environment.

Still, it’s important to remember that while a lot of vendors will say they’re in the cloud, a true public cloud is a multi-tenanted environment. This means everybody using the software is on the same solution without different versions running concurrently. Think about a service such as Gmail; when the program updates, everyone on earth experiences the change at the same time. They’re all running the same version.

An article on the InformationWeek website outlines several ways — including the cloud — that innovations in business intelligence can give a big boost to association management.

...
Continue reading
1313 Hits

How Can Association Management Software Help Manage Data?

How Can Association Management Software Help Manage Data?

Big Data will be the next big thing for big businesses in 2013.

Small- and medium-sized businesses have backed away from the expense, IT force and training needed for data analysis projects. But 2013 could be their year, too, as new technology is leveling the playing field, according to an article on the Washington Post website.

Of course, Big Data is a relative term. It’s really just data regardless of the size or the organization. And data is a big problem for organizations of all sizes.

That’s why associations need to make managing data a top priority. Association management software can help.

The key to managing business data is making sure it’s all in one place. Data silos are the biggest roadblock. That’s what prevents you from looking at data properly. If you have to go to three databases to get information, it’ll always be a reporting and business intelligence nightmare, not to mention cost prohibitive.

Organizations must strive to buy technology that enables them to keep all of their data in one location. Whether it’s managing members, prospects, vendors or investors, everything needs to be in a single database.

Today’s association management software Platform Solutions have good analytics built-in. You can easily search for and run reports on data. Best of all, it’s easily customizable. Just make sure that if you use a third-party solution you have a way to get that data into your primate database.

Also, don’t enter notes. You can’t easily report on them. Enter information into a field that requires a checkbox or pick list so you can pull a report. If you’re putting information into a notes field, it might be important data, but you’ll never get anything useful out of it. It’ll come back as a glob of words that’s nearly impossible to analyze.

That means if you’re looking for member interests don’t give users a free-form text field. Provide a drop-down menu with options like sports, traveling, gardening, etc.

Data helps organizations prepare and plan. For instance, your organization might require a specific certification as part of membership. A steep drop-off in that certification could be a pending disaster as far as membership revenue goes. If you don’t have that data, you’ll be completely blindsided.

Continue reading
1330 Hits