Prioritize Interoperability and Ensure a More Harmonious Future

Do your tech systems work well together? Here’s how to break down data barriers between teams and departments, improving staff and member experiences.

By Marc Hehl, Chief Operating Officer, Impexium

As the central source of truth for association management, the AMS technology you choose should come with several future-friendly superpowers, from robust workflow automation to AI-powered engagement tools.

But it’s also vital to consider how well your system can get along with others.

In technical terms, the ability of an AMS to play nice with other products, applications, and information systems is known as interoperability. According to Microsoft, interoperability both “allows disparate information systems from multiple vendors to readily work together and exchange data” and “enables valuable business connections.”

Interoperability shares characteristics with the concept of integration, though the two are not interchangeable. While integrated systems depend on middleware (often described as software “glue”) to translate information, interoperable systems communicate using a common language.

A truly interoperable AMS, therefore, connects multiple business applications and solutions seamlessly, breaking down barriers between association teams and departments in real time and making it easier to set strategic goals and report on progress.

We’ve all heard that communication is the key to success in personal and professional relationships; the relationships between information systems are no different. By ensuring your AMS can effectively “talk”—meaning send, receive, and process data—with other core systems, you will better position your association for success now and into the future.

The good news is, you’re not expected to tackle the technical aspects of interoperability on your own. Best-of-breed association-specific AMS providers take advantage of the years of research and design in interoperability and other areas that the world’s leading tech companies have already completed. Platforms that leverage Microsoft’s resources, for example, tap into the company’s ongoing commitment to interoperability.

“Microsoft has made—and continues to make—broad-ranging changes to our technology and business practices that promote greater interoperability,” according to the company’s website. “Our approach includes delivering interoperability in our products and technologies; collaborating with customers, partners, and competitors; supporting and developing industry standards; and providing developer resources and access to Microsoft intellectual property (IP).”

Lower Costs

Interoperability has a direct impact on an association’s bottom line.

Many associations looking to upgrade their AMS have already invested in community management platforms, learning management systems, job boards, or partnerships with marketing companies. Interoperability between these existing systems and a new AMS makes it possible for association execs to preserve prior investments while enjoying the conveniences of modern AMS technology.

Another reason forward-thinking association leaders invest in interoperable technologies is to enable streamlined, compatible, and therefore cost-effective operations. Slow or non-existent data exchange between your association’s AMS and other systems can lead to costly administrative bottlenecks, miscommunications, and errors. These mishaps can also frustrate staff, who would rather direct their energy toward more creative and strategic work.

The same goes for members, who may turn to other organizations and resources to fulfill their needs. Avoid high turnover and low member retention rates by ensuring all of your technologies work together peacefully.

Fewer Errors

There’s much to be said about the power of automation and AI in driving business outcomes, and that’s why modern AMS platforms embrace AI, making it easier for associations to make fast, data-driven decisions cost effectively and at scale.

But the accuracy of AI is a direct reflection of the information it runs on, making access to comprehensive and consistent data across teams and departments essential. With harmonious, interoperable systems, digital assets are centralized and in real time, improving data visibility, accuracy, and completeness.

Remember, the point of collecting and analyzing data is to gain practical insight into the needs and interests of your association community. The more accurate the data, the more accurate the insights.

A Better Member Experience

Increased synergy between an association’s technical systems not only improves data analysis and reporting—it also helps execs better serve their membership.

Members only want to join associations they can trust. From a security and data privacy perspective, interoperability eliminates the need to repeatedly enter sensitive data into the system, instead allowing those with permission to access secure, shared records across teams and departments.

Interoperability also decreases the complexity of member-facing services and processes, such as onboarding. If your AMS and other core systems can send, receive, and process data seamlessly, you’ll be able to simplify the user experience, highlight unmet needs, and increase personalization.

As execs across the globe seek to future-proof their associations through modern AMS purchases, they absolutely must put interoperability on their checklists. This AMS functionality enables valuable business connections, lowers costs, and makes for highly accurate data analysis—all of which add up to improved outcomes both internally and externally.

To learn more about how Impexium’s Association Management Solution (AMS) empowers associations to innovate easily, do more with data, and expand possibilities, request a demo.