Technology touches every aspect of an Association’s life, from member experience and engagement to event management to general administration. The Technology options to support and improve your Association’s performance are rapidly growing – from specialized, niche tools to comprehensive Association Management Software (AMS) solutions – yet there are no one-size-fits-all, silver bullet tool or ways to implement them. Out of a vast array of available technologies, how do you know what works best to improve efficiency and add value for your Association?
Identifying and implementing the best-fit technology is a multi-faceted puzzle that requires strategy and planning, an understanding of the your business needs and integration of new technology into current operations.
Here are tips to help you gain true business value throughout all the lifecycle stages of your new technology:
• Assess the Problem Space to validate the business problem that you want new technology to address. Keep in mind that technology, by itself, is not a solution but one element that must fit into your existing ecosystem, which includes people and processes.
• Research the environment of those who will use the technology. What do they currently use? What are the bottlenecks they are facing? Solicit input from key Stakeholders at all levels to identify problems, find solutions and gain understanding and support for the transition to new technology.
• Appraise the technology with both short-term and long-term business outcomes in mind. What solves an immediate solution today may not be sustainable or it may reduce your flexibility going forward.
• Ensure your implementation partners and system integrators are familiar with your business and IT architecture and landscape.
• Involve Stakeholders to avoid siloed implementation. To get the most out of your technology investment, you want it to function smoothly and efficiently across your Association in a way that breaks down silos and enhances cross-functional communication.
• Stay grounded in the Problem Space and focused on the business needs established during your strategic planning to ensure alignment between technology, business processes and value delivery.
• Provide extensive training and support so your teams understand and utilize the full benefits of your new technology.
• Build on Stakeholder involvement in the Pre-Purchase and Implementation stages to champion the new technology and address resistance to change.
Use a Product Management Approach to New Technology
You need a structured approach to identifying, selecting, purchasing and implementing technology to successfully overcome the challenges and to quickly deliver increased business value. Technology does not work in isolation. The real value from any technology can be harnessed through:
• Breaking down organizational silos.
• Fostering a collaborative culture that embraces change and encourages innovation and creativity.
• Keeping focused on a well-defined Problem Space, the business value and the customer or user from the earliest stages of planning through implementation to the value delivery process.
Product Management1 principles and a resulting open and collaborative culture can help you streamline and optimize your processes to identify and implement technology improvements that fully leverage your digital assets and deliver maximum value to your members and streamline your Association’s processes and workload.
1See Dhavale, How To Use Product Management To Drive Digital Transformation