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 Is Upcoming Salesforce.com Release A Big Deal For Association Management Software?

How Is Upcoming Salesforce.com Release A Big Deal For Association Management Software?

Salesforce.com always has featured lots of data, but getting it out in a format you wanted could be challenging. That’s why the enhancements in the next product update are a big deal for association management software built on the Salesforce.com platform.

An article on the InfoWorld website reports that Chatter, the platform’s social collaboration and messaging service, will see several improvements covering areas like search, content previewing and general usability.

Analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, says the upgrades to Chatter are much welcomed.

“The toughest challenge with products like Chatter and other enterprise social networks is avoiding the social feed deluge,” he tells InfoWorld. “It’s like being buried by email.”

Association wants to be able to get into Salesforce.com and see what their contacts are doing outside of the portal on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If there’s a group on LinkedIn that’s germane to your case, that offers a whole new area for membership. If you’re doing something around veterinarian work, for example, a group focused on preventing animal cruelty would make for a great pool of prospects.

Analytics also will be revamped in the Salesforce.com update this spring with the ability to view dashboards from the platform’s Touch mobile interface.

“The reporting engines are good, but advanced analytics still require other tools,” Wang says. “Analytics has been the stepchild at Salesforce.com but a big opportunity for partners.”

Another new feature will allow salespeople to run forecasts quarterly. In addition, users will be able to run forecasts with partner opportunity data.

“Forecasts and partner forecasting helps improve the ability to handle indirect sales,” Wang tells InfoWorld. “This joint forecasting should help improve coordination and quota assignment.”

The upcoming Salesforce.com also will include a retooled online “help” resources platform complete with a series of new downloadable PDFs. Help topics will be organized by feature area, user type and task.

Source: InfoWorld, December 2012

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How Can Association Management Software Turn Data Into Meaningful Information?

How Can Association Management Software Turn Data Into Meaningful Information?

There’s certainly no shortage of data today. The question is how do associations turn that data into meaningful, actionable choices to drive decision making?

Analyzing engagement data is where experts say associations soon will turn their attention as they embrace “Big Data” concepts, according to an article on the Associations Now website.

“You now have the ability to know consumers better than they know themselves,” says Brian Solis, a business consultant and author.

That’s because with every tweet, Facebook post and comment consumers are leaving “digital breadcrumbs” of data explaining their behaviors and interest.

The shaping of data is where businesses in general struggle. Fortunately, association management software systems are growing increasingly sophisticated, allowing groups to capture more data than ever before about members and their interactions.

Now they must add “the human algorithm,” Solis tells Associations Now. “You need a purpose when you’re interpreting data,” he explains.

That means associations can’t merely collect and amass data. The data must be used to help advance your association’s specific goals.

Metrics are important to understand the behaviors of association members, including who is most active in your community and who regularly attends events or webinars. Beyond monitoring member activity, associations need to decide how they want to act on that information. That’s the next step.

Solis believes that associations soon will be riding the wave of “Big Data” similar to many large companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix. He notes that a growing number of groups are seeking online membership software Platform Solutions and engagement measurement tools to manage the massive amounts of actionable data available for mining.

The bad news is that data is growing in both volume and complexity. The good news, Solis notes, is that “everybody is still trying to figure this out.”

Source: Associations Now, December 2012

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