In his ebook that he kindly posted on ASAE’s Collaborate community, John Mancini argues that we should no longer strive to make an AMS the database of record for all association data. While many associations, in following the mandate to understand their business and members better, have worked to bring all the data into an AMS or CRM, John believes that day is gone.
This makes a lot of sense. There is no intrinsic reason to force all our marketing and learning and registration and event and publications data into one place. What we do have is an association need for good and relevant data. That data lets us do things easily, like send an email out to the most current email addresses we have for our members. It also helps us develop insights into our business and our members.
The former, the ease of operational use, can be achieved by linking systems together well, as John argues.
And the latter, data insights, can be achieved by a data warehouse. Such a repository not only strips out the data you don’t need to keep forever (like batch numbers) but also allows you to keep history that otherwise might get overwritten in a transactional database.
I still see the value in having a place that is not an Excel spreadsheet to store data and trends in membership numbers and activities, but it doesn’t by any means have to be the AMS.