Have you ever heard of a for-profit company buying association management software to run its business? No, of course not. So, why do some associations feel they need to settle for a CRM built for the commercial world, and then spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on customizations to try to make it work for them?
Everyone agrees traditional Association Management Software (AMS) served its day but now it's outdated. Modern associations require expanded, updated functionality.
Generic systems, on the other hand, like Salesforce- or Microsoft CRM-based software, were never designed to handle the detailed, complex requirements of membership organizations.
So, what's the answer? Enter the purpose-built iMIS Engagement Management System (EMS) — modern, innovative, scalable, and ready for the demands of today's association. The unique design of the iMIS EMS platform — where the business system and websites are one and the same — means that every system action has the potential to deepen engagement.
Let's compare association management software and explore why iMIS EMS is superior.
How AMS and CRM Systems Fall Short
Not Specifically Designed for Associations
While the highly advertised CRM products built on generic Salesforce or Microsoft CRM platforms may be tempting to some associations, it's important to remember that these systems were designed for transactional customer data and were not intended as association management software. These efforts are new to the association market. They don't have the knowledge or experience to fully comprehend and respond to the unique, complex needs of membership organizations.
The iMIS EMS platform is purpose-built. It's #1 worldwide because of the depth of functionality it offers associations.
Customizations: The Biggest Source of Project Failure
Generic CRM-based software experiments can only remotely approximate what is already native to the iMIS EMS platform. These solutions depend on layers and layers of expensive customizations just to do simple association tasks. Some leading analyst firms report that more than 60% of projects with heavy customization result in failure.
iMIS has 95% of the features you need to attract new members and keep them engaged — right out of the box.
Reliance on Third-Party Apps
Many of the upstart products built on Salesforce or Microsoft CRM platforms rely on customization and third-party applications to cobble together an offering for the association market. An association's core needs are not met by the core product, as they are in iMIS, which means lost time and increased expense in the attempt to assemble third-party products to do the job. The fact is, much of what's available for these products doesn't really perform as advertised and isn't useful to associations.
Hundreds of standards-based, association-centric apps that seamlessly integrate with iMIS to meet your precise requirements.
High Unexpected Costs
While many associations look at the initial costs of a new system, the higher-than-expected cost of ownership over time should be kept in mind. Upgrades, integrations, and customizations will all drive up expenses, cause the project to take longer, and increase risk. Our research shows that our competitors' association management software costs can be 3 times more than expected within the first 3 years.
The purpose-built, modern iMIS EMS platform costs a lot less to own and operate.
No Native CMS/Web Capability
Many generic CRM-based systems talk about the value of the integration between a Content Management System (CMS) and their software. But using a content manager with a separate database has many disadvantages: it's not easy for your non-technical staff to use, it's not flexible, and there's no direct access to member data. With iMIS EMS, there is no separation between your website and database — it's all one thing.
The iMIS platform comes with a website management tool called RiSE, native to all of the iMIS EMS capabilities. This creates a powerful tool no CRM platform comes close to offering. And, for those who wish to keep their existing CMS, iMIS EMS can Integrate to a variety of web Content Management Systems.
iMIS EMS provides a personalized web experience with predictive content that guides members and staff in the next useful and productive direction.
Compromised Upgrade Path
If you have to customize your AMS or CRM-based system, your upgrade path just got harder and more expensive. System updates often require further customization and some providers won't continue to support your customizations in the future. If the expensive customizations become too much, how difficult will it be to extricate your organization from the software?
iMIS EMS maintains the integrity of all data so automatic upgrades can take place without a glitch.
How the iMIS EMS Platform Outperforms an AMS or CRM
iMIS is the #1 solution for associations for many reasons, but primarily because we understand the specific needs of associations. The iMIS EMS platform fuses database management and web publishing into a single engagement management system that includes events, dynamic dashboards, engagement scoring, certification and educational programs, fundraising, open API and application management, advertising, and much more.
iMIS is a purpose-built EMS with CRM functionality, including:
All of this is built right into the core of our leading-edge iMIS technology that's innovative, scalable, and ready for the demands of today's association.