An Association Management System (AMS) provides professional and trade associations with the features they need to run their organization.

Typically, this includes a member website portal for paying dues, registering for events, managing continuing education, etc.

The most common enhancement to an AMS we have seen is using its member database as the authentication source for single sign on (SSO) to additional 3rd party services the association is providing. It often makes the most sense to pass confirmed identities from the AMS portal to other services rather than creating new credentials in each new system. Depending on the sophistication of the AMS system, providing an SSO link can be a relatively straightforward task and a real time-saver in the long term. An SSO link prevents the association from having to add and remove member credentials in multiple systems as members come and go.

Typical first questions for associations include:

  • Does my AMS provide APIs to exchange member identity (for SSO) and other data?
  • Does my AMS have a dedicated website for custom developers? Is there good technical documentation available?
  • How responsive is my AMS customer service? (Questions will come up, how much trouble will they be to get answered.)

Another way to integrate with an existing 3rd party system is live data sharing. AMS’s store a wide variety of member and association data. Recently we have seen a case where AMS data was being synchronized with an off-the-shelf conference app to provide members with details of conference sessions, speakers, and educational credits earned. All of the source data is managed in the AMS instead of duplicating data entry in the 3rd party system.

It’s also possible to create totally new functionality, either by creating a new stand-alone system or an add-on which exists inside the AMS. Many AMS’s focus on the services that the association provides to members but may not have everything the association needs to run other aspects of their organization, particularly if they have very specialized needs. For example, associations frequently need to track payments from and provide services to sponsors and conference exhibitors, but not all AMS’s provide this feature. This is a good example of an AMS add-on that can be built to make use of the AMS’s invoicing and payment features while managing the exhibitors outside of the normal member database. We’ve discussed or implemented quite a few of these kinds of AMS extensions in just the last few months.

As always, if you have a specific need you would like to discuss the feasibility of, Digital Mettle provides free initial consultations. Give us a call and let’s setup a time to talk.