Monthly Archives: October 2014

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 3

Everyone’s on board with data-gathering and the concept of business intelligence. Now, go one step further, make this a regular business practice.

tunnel of dataHow To Create a Data-Driven Organization

Identify the data that is most useful to you and make sure you use it

Often, organizations find themselves collecting bytes and bytes of data because somewhere along the line, they thought it would be good to have. Overall, they’re not wrong, but gathering data just to gather it isn’t effective. Figure out what data is useful to your association and focus on that.  For example, [NEED EXAMPLE]

Identify the data you have, who manages it now and where it’s kept.

Is it in your AMS? Is it on a spreadsheet or maybe as part of your government relations software? If your data is in multiple sources (and it almost always is), determine your process for getting key data from each of those sources into a single source for analysis and be sure to revisit all your processes at least once a year.

Is Your Organization Reluctant to Become Data-Driven?

Probably yes. Why?


  • of not doing it right
  • of making mistakes
  • of data that contradicts conventional wisdom
  • of needing to change behavior

As with anything else, change is a process. Start off small, focusing on one goal and work on gathering data for that. Do you want to increase the number of attendees at your annual conference? Maybe you want to increase membership or participation in a specific committee.

  • Talk to your AMS vendor about your goals and share what you want to know.
  • Find out what reports are available?
  • Ask what other organizations have done, and what type of information they’ve wanted to know.

Costs and Timeline

You probably already have most of the reports you need to get started. Your AMS vendor can help point you in the right direction.

If you need a new or custom report, get a cost/time estimate from your vendor. For example, business intelligence reports from MatrixMaxx run about $750 each.

Usually, the timeline for creating a report is quite short. Most of the time results from integrating this process into your existing business processes. The more you do this, though, the faster it will become and the easier for staff/senior management to embrace it.

Action Plan

Your action plan should include:

  • Determining what your goals are
  • Identifying what data you need to make decisions that will help you reach those goals
  • Talking to your AMS vendor
  • Starting with one initiative
  • Designating a data guru
  • Deciding that business intelligence is everyone’s job

Once you’ve got this ball rolling, it’s a matter of “lather, rinse, repeat” for every subsequent initiative.

How are you gathering your association’s business intelligence?

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 2

You now know what business intelligence is and have got some idea of what types of data gathering you can do.

glasses pen newspaper from morguefileWho Should Care About Business Intelligence?

Everyone. Ideally, every single staffer in your organization should know and care about business intelligence. It’s important to know the facts about what your members and prospective members are doing or not doing. Business intelligence should inform all your decisions.

In practice, it’s mostly senior staff who care or should care. Often, the staff in the trenches don’t really see the value or can’t make decisions based on business intelligence. They may see reports and see the data, but realistically, changing business processes or procedure isn’t up to them.

Senior staff can, however, share the need for good data, for information gathering with staff and demonstrate how business intelligence can aid everyone in the organization. Share a few case studies,  get staff involved in identifying the most useful data, talk about it at staff meetings/department meetings and solicit input.

Business intelligence gathering shouldn’t be difficult, it’s a matter of knowing what you need (data) and how to use it (analysis).

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 3: How to create a data-driven organization.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 1

Business Intelligence: it’s one of those phrases that make some people scratch their heads and say “huh.” Actually, not only is it easy to define, it’s absolutely crucial to your association.

question markWhat is

It’s a management process for using data to make decisions. Yup, it’s as simple as that. Instead of deciding to make business decisions based on what is traditional or what you think you know, gather data, analyze it and then make the appropriate decisions.

 What types of business intelligence data can you/should you gather?

  • Membership engagement – who is doing what and when
    • Are members attending your trade shows? Participating in committees? Attending other meetings? Which members aren’t? Who’s volunteering?
  • Is your direct mail marketing achieving results? Are your email marketing campaigns working?
    • Use tracking codes to gather data, figure out who’s opening and when.


Some reports that can help you gather information:

  • Dues history
  • Event/meeting attendance rosters & history
  • Direct mail and/or Email tracking reports

Some of the most important data isn’t who is participating, but who isn’t. Does your AMS offer a report to show this? A list of non-participating member companies or individuals can help your membership retention team. MatrixMaxx has a great report called the Who is Not Doing What Report. It shows you everything from who is not attending your event, purchasing publications to those who are not using any member services.

Now that you know what business intelligence is and the types of data you should be gathering, why do you care? What do you do next? Read Part 2 of Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence.


Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Managing Your AMS Implementation: Tip #10 Be Committed

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.

hand signing a contractTip #10: Be Committed

Focus, commitment and dedication is what helps make your AMS implementation a success. And most of that has to come from you.

  • This process needs YOU – no AMS vendor can produce good results without you
    • Your vendor is providing you with the tools, but you need to bring your dedication to the process. Without your input, your focus, the vendor can’t deliver what you need.
  • This process will take a great deal of time – You need to be committed.
    • As we said in Tip #9 [LINK THIS], this is a long process and you’ve got to be an integral part of it from the first baby steps to that one-year anniversary of your launch.
  • If you are changing your process, some parts of the process will be rough.
    • Yup, change is hard and getting everyone on board with that change is harder still. Try to anticipate the questions, the feedback from your staff and be there to help them. Understand that sometime, the alligators will look like they’re winning, but know that with your commitment, you’ll always come out on top.