Two Lingering Things On Many Tech Execs’ Minds

While some subjects stirred heavy debate at the ASAE 2012 Technology Conference & Expo, data points from attendees exposed big under-the-radar issues.

Last month, ASAE’s 2012 Technology Conference & Expo brought in a ton of great debate, but what wasn’t heavily debated could be top of mind in 2013.

Sometimes, gathering all the data together tells a bigger story, which is why‘s postmortem on the conference is a must-read for association execs. The company’s polls and audience-based Q&A, used to great effect during the town hall session, reflect what’s really keeping tech execs up at night.

For those playing at home, these numbers offer a snapshot of some of the industry’s real sticking points.

The live audience feedback at the town hall session was great—especially when people disagreed on various points and it caused lively debate. But for those playing at home, these numbers offer a snapshot of some of the industry’s real sticking points. You already know some of them—mobile, responsive design—but the stats surfaced two big questions worth your focus:

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“Is Big Data Right For Us?”

It always seems like thrown-around phrases like “cloud computing” and “bring your own device” define the conversation, but sometimes, the trends may not match what associations are actually doing. In the case of big data, it’s not an across-the-board thing yet, as 63 percent of respondents at Tech 2012 reported that their organizations don’t use it.

What’s stopping them? It might be the complexity of the data that would need to be managed. Seventeen percent of respondents currently using big data said it comes from 20 or more different sources, so it’s bound to get a little messy when you try to harness it all.

If there are technical challenges holding your association back from hopping on big data, it’s understandable to second-guess the approach. But on the other hand, the benefits from harnessing member data (no matter how complex) might be worth battling the technical challenges posed.


“Should I stick with my AMS?”

The other major stat to come from the conference? A solid 40 percent of tech execs in attendance are considering switching their association management system platform. Why’s that? Age might be a big reason: 24 percent reported that they’ve stuck with their current AMS provider for a decade or longer.

This could provide some room for major players in the AMS space to innovate or more aggressively compete. With association execs looking in another direction for their data-management needs, there is opportunity for more forward-thinking players to stand out in the space—especially as AMSes were the largest technology cost for most of the organizations in attendance.

Although a solid 45 percent are satisfied with their current platform, this year is one for AMS providers to prove their worth.

But ultimately . . .

These may be the industry’s trends, but they’re not necessarily your trends. If you don’t think big data is a good fit for your organization, don’t use it! If you think your AMS is the bee’s knees, there’s nothing stopping you from sticking with it.

The goal here is to be aware of the larger trends at play. So, with that in mind, the Conferences.Io infographic is over here. Does it match what you’re seeing in your organization?


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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