Technology

Social Media Roundup: Careful Building That Custom AMS

By / Sep 22, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

An association management system maker who designed a custom AMS before getting into the biz explains the pitfalls he encountered. Also: Small events are a big deal.

Your association management system (AMS) has to carry a pretty big workload, so it’s important to get the dang thing right.

But “right,” according to one professional in the field, shouldn’t mean “custom.” More thoughts in today’s Social Media Roundup:

A Custom AMS Headache

You may look at all of those AMS platforms out there and wonder why it’s worth the money to go with some vendor when you could build a system yourself.

That’s not a great idea, according to a guy who did just that.

“Building your own AMS, or paying a company to build it, is a Bad Idea,” writes Andrew Ryan, CEO of MemberSuite, Inc. “It will always cost you more than buying it, regardless of how inexpensive it seems.”

After graduating from college, Ryan consulted with an association and spent two years helping to build its AMS. The experience taught him a lot about what can go wrong—including the fact that coding is not the same as solving a problem, that the scope or limitations of your project can change, that long-term what-ifs will linger, and that security can be a mess if you’re not taking it seriously.

In the end, he writes, it’s important to “realize, regardless of whatever math you’ve done, that it will always cost you more to build than to buy. You might just be paying the piper in a different way.”

Effective Database Management’s Wes Trochlil gives Ryan’s post a vote of approval, even if it seems like there’s a conflict of interest.

Ryan “has an interesting perspective because prior to running his own AMS company, he was actually hired by an association to build a custom solution for them,” Trochlil notes. (ht @deirdrereid)

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

“Just remember that the beautiful large meeting facilities prominently featured in meeting magazines may be what you and your clients lust after, but, most of the time, they aren’t what your clients actually need.”

Adrian Segar, author of Conferences That Work, isn’t afraid to call out the sacred cows of the industry on his blog, and his most recent post is no exception. In the post, he argues that big events too often get all the attention, when small events may really be what your attendees need.

Segar highlights a report from Hotel News Now, in which officials from Omni Hotels & Resorts and MGM Resorts say that 65 percent of their meeting business is coming from events that book 100 or fewer rooms.

While big events are by no means going away anytime soon, Segar says, “large meetings are the exception rather than the rule.” (ht @rockettm)

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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