Tailor-Made Association Management Software Will Cost a Fortune, Right? Not Necessarily.

June 09, 2022 | Andrew Lawlor

Here’s a common situation that association leaders encounter:

1. They decide that it’s time to upgrade their legacy association management software.

2. They learn about AMS solutions powered by Salesforce, and they like what they hear.

3. They start to think about how the AMS would need to be configured to meet their needs.

4. Then they pause, because those custom configurations seem like they would be expensive.

Many associations that get to this point decide that they should choose packaged AMS apps. They start at a lower price point, so even with a few customizations, the packaged solution should still be an economical choice, they think.

Believe it or not, an association can get a Salesforce-powered AMS tailor-made to its specifications for the same price as a packaged AMS with customizations.

That’s what we do at Aptaria. We develop association management software that does exactly what our association clients ask for, without additional, irrelevant features.

This post will illustrate the differences between our approach and that of packaged AMS offerings — and show how we keep costs in line, as well.

Packaged AMS Apps: The One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Companies that offer packaged AMS apps have a simple goal: selling one piece of software to as many associations as possible.

That approach is a good deal for those companies. But for associations? They end up with “bloatware” — software that has features and options they don’t need. Bloatware slows processing speeds, causes confusion among users and increases implementation costs and time.

With packaged AMS apps, it’s nearly certain that out of the box, their settings and options won’t match yours. For instance, they may allow up to five membership levels. What if you have six? Or eight? We built an AMS for an association that had 14.

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The same problems exist with membership strategies and business rules governing applications, renewals, membership transitions and more — your system is unique to your association. What are the odds that a packaged AMS, built to serve as many associations as possible, will be the right fit?

Nearly every week at Aptaria, we hear from associations that want to migrate from a packaged AMS to one tailored for them on the Salesforce platform. We have developed new solutions for many of them.

These associations love Salesforce, but regret choosing a packaged AMS because of the technical, usability and corporate issues it creates for them. As one association told us, their current AMS app vendor provides no support, and working with them has been a “nightmare.”

Tailor-Made Association Management Software From Aptaria

At Aptaria we know that every association is different. So we build association management software that is tailored to each association’s specific needs.

That doesn’t mean we start each project from scratch, however. We leverage code libraries that we have built up over years of experience working with associations.

That allows us to build an AMS that fits your processes and rules. For instance, your association might manage a few committees through your AMS. Or you might manage many committees. Your rules about committee roles could be strict or loose. Committees could be open to applicants or invitation-only.

No matter the setup you need, our code libraries are ready to handle it. And if you don’t need certain elements — if there’s no committee approval process, for example — we won’t add that code to your app.

Aptaria’s AMS solution includes modules for joining membership, dues, committees, community portal, eCommerce and more. And we leverage proven, best-of-breed apps from the Salesforce AppExchange for modules including event management, eCommerce, member satisfaction surveys, accounting and finance that integrate seamlessly into the Aptaria AMS solution.

What Will It Cost?

A packaged AMS may seem like it would require minimal customization and, because of that, it would be the budget-friendly choice. But associations who have used these app vendors find that they spend as much or more on these customizations as they would for an Aptaria AMS tailored to their needs.

It’s also important to note that the only licensing fees you pay with an Aptaria AMS are for the Salesforce Platform itself. Packaged AMS solutions, meanwhile, add their licensing fees to Salesforce’s and pass the costs on to you.

In other words, it will cost just as much to install a customized packaged AMS as it will for Aptaria to build an AMS exactly the way you want from the beginning. And over the long run, Aptaria charges less.

With Aptaria, you get a Salesforce-powered AMS that does exactly what you want, the way you want, with nothing additional weighing you down. That’s why associations are leaving packaged AMS apps and going with us.

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