Mobile Technology: Are Associations Behind the Curve?

Despite widespread adoption of mobile devices, associations aren’t yet focusing on mobile strategy, say tech execs at the ASAE Technology Conference & Expo.

Nearly half of Americans own smartphones and 25 percent have a tablet computer, according to the latest Pew Research data. So it may come as a surprise that only 4 percent of association executives surveyed Thursday during the Town Hall Meeting at the 2012 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo said mobile is the technology that their organization is spending the most time and money on.

More than nine out of 10 said they were spending more on their websites than on mobile.

“Associations still haven’t changed their budgets for technology to match the things that are happening around us,” said ASAE CIO Reggie Henry, CAE, who moderated the town hall discussion. “We get hung up on technicalities, and that stops us from moving to the big picture.”

While mobile hasn’t yet become a top priority in association technology planning, attendees agreed it is the most pressing tech issue facing the industry.

“All of this technology is not just ‘the next thing,’” Henry said. “It’s changing how we communicate, and what our circle of friends looks like.”

But how should associations adapt their offerings for mobile? Responsive web design and mobile apps are the two primary options, but town hall participants made it clear that the industry hasn’t yet determined which is the better route.

“It all comes down to functionality,” said one responder to an interactive poll. “If you need specific functionality that isn’t available on the web, build an app. If you can access that functionality via the web, than make your website responsive.”

Henry concurred. “You can’t get caught in the discussion,” he said. “You have to just get in there and try things and find what’s right for you and act.”

How is your association approaching mobile? Is it getting enough attention? Let us know in the comments.


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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