Monthly Archives: August 2014

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Managing Your AMS Implementation: Tip #4 Prep Your Data

Planning for an AMS implementation can be a huge undertaking and involve a great many staffers in your organization. Here’s a quick tip that can help you plan ahead.

magnifying glass data streamTip #4: Prep Your Data

One of the most detailed and time-consuming tasks in any AMS implementation is making sure the data is prepped and ready to migrate. Here are some steps to help guide you:

Decide what should be migrated: big buckets and then field level

  • How easily can your data be exported?
    • Do you have an export capability built in to your current system? If not, can you talk to your current vendor and figure out how to export the data?
  • Validate your data import budget
    • Often, the budget for the data import to the new system isn’t adequate. Make sure you’ve budgeted enough time and money to not only import the data, but to verify that it’s all correct and account for any subsequent clean-ups and re-imports that might be necessary. If you’re data’s really clean, one import pass may do it. If not, it may take several.
  • Run data integrity checks
    • Does your old system have data validation? If not, you may have some messy data in some key fields.
    • For example, a ‘phone’ field from an older database we once worked with was actually an alphanumeric field that could hold ANYTHING. So, we saw values like “(703) 123-4567” and “7031234567” and “703-123-4567” which aren’t too bad to work with. BUT we also saw values like “Call 703-123-4567 first but if no answer try 4566 instead” or “Need to verify whether we should dial into main line or extension 344” that caused issues with the import.
    • Also, if an older database was in use for many years and several generations of staff, one field may be holding different data. If so, this field must be split up or the rules must be communicated clearly to the vendor. For example, one older database had an alphanumeric field that for a few years had been used to hold an annual revenue number (e.g., 1,000,000,000) but in the later years, staff had changed to putting in a code that represented their revenue size (e.g., 3 meant a medium sized revenue company).  With no info about this shift, the import of this field obviously would obviously go wrong.
  • Perform data clean-up before the import
    • Don’t wait until you’ve imported the data to the new system to clean it up. Check for duplicate entries, partial entries, incorrect information and make all the changes you need to beforehand.

The data’s prepped, your team’s ready. What’s next? Tip #5: Gather Samples

 

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Managing Your AMS Implementation: Tip #3 Staff Involvement

Planning for an AMS implementation can be a huge undertaking and involve a great many staffers in your organization. Here’s a quick tip that can help you plan ahead.

American football huddleTip #3 Staff Involvement

You’ve got your leader. You’ve got your team. Now it’s time to make sure the entire staff is on board.

  • All-staff kickoff with C-level in attendance
    • Hold a staff meeting and introduce the implementation. Tell staff what to expect, how it works and the overall timeline. Let them know if they’re going to be tapped for extra work.
  • Regular updates to staff
    • Make sure to keep your staff in the know and send out regular updates on the progress of the implementation.
  • Share testing use cases so people know “how” to test
    • Testing is a huge part of making an implementation successful. That said, a lot of people don’t know what that means. Share the use cases with your staff. Show them what to do and what to expect from testing and how to communicate questions and/or issues.
  • All-staff training
    • Schedule training for everyone on the new AMS. If it’s too difficult to have the whole staff in one training session, do an overview for all staff, then break down training sessions as seems most logical.

Now that you know how to involve your staff, go to Tip# 4 to learn how to prep your data.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Managing Your AMS Implementation: Tip #2 Implementation Team

Planning for an AMS implementation can be a huge undertaking and involve a great many staffers in your organization. Here’s a quick tip that can help you plan ahead.

3 figures with conversation bubblesTip #2: Implementation Team

Once you’ve figured out who’s got the biggest stake in the data (Tip #1[LINK THIS]), now it’s time to choose your implementation team. In all likelihood, representatives from several departments will work together to help manage the implementation.

Choose:

  • Someone with intimate knowledge of your current database
    • As with Tip #1, find out who the person is who is the most knowledgeable about your membership data. Who knows the current system best and can answer questions and anticipate issues.
  • Someone with a clear understanding of operations
    • Find someone who knows the business processes and operations forwards and backwards and understands the smallest details, as well as the big picture.
  • Someone who understands the culture of your association and its relationships
    • Who’s the person who knows the unwritten rules of the associations culture and relationship with members?
  • Someone with upper level management authority
    • Finally, a key implementation team member needs to have the authority to make decisions, answer questions from the vendor(s) and have approval over the various steps of the process.

Tip #3: Staff Involvement.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Managing Your AMS Implementation: Tip #1 Who’s In Charge?

Planning for an AMS implementation can be a huge undertaking and involve a great many staffers in your association. Here’s a quick tip that can help you plan ahead.

school of fishTip #1: Who’s In Charge?

Who’s in charge of the implementation, both overall and of various segments? Is it a committee, a specific group?

An AMS implementation is only as good as the initial data.

  • Are all the fields correct?
  • Is the data up to date?
  • Are duplicates gone or merged?
  • How are you going to handle exceptions?

Who’s the group most likely to know this information and take charge of this information?

The person or group in charge needs to be the one who is extremely invested in the quality of the data, usually, the membership or operations group. Is that the most senior person in the department? Maybe. Sometimes, it’s the person who deals with data on a day-to-day basis and can make data decisions.

Check out Tip #2 on how to form an  implementation team.