We’ve spent a number of years working with membership organisations and associations. Experience tells us that the knock-on effects of poor IT cascade throughout the organisation and can lead to poor service, daily disruptions and ineffective operations. In our opinion it needn’t be this way. Below are three of the more common problems we’ve found and the steps you can take to fix them.

Disrupted service

Online resources, membership portals and forums are essential and everyday parts of the service offered by associations and membership organisations. If your IT infrastructure is poor or sub-optimal it will inevitably impact those, making it difficult for members to access the core services you offer.

One of the most common concerns we hear from organisations in this sector is a disruption to services – things like exclusive, memberships directories and event registration – which leads to frustrated members and low satisfaction among members. This is usually result of legacy systems and processes that either need upgrading or fine tuning.

It’s also very common for these problems to creep up. It’s often the case with IT that you don’t realise you have a problem until it’s reached critical mass. This happens because you’re too busy focussing on your core offering. Unfortunately this approach does lead to problems down the line and will affect your ability to deliver your service and scale effectively in the long term. A little and often approach to improving IT infrastructure is better than a break-fix one – and much more cost effective.

Data security

Associations and membership organisations are prime targets for cyber criminals because they hold a lot of sensitive data like personal information and payment details. A poor approach can leave your organisation wide open to attacks which could result in data breaches, data loss and unauthorised access to what should be secure information. Even something simple like failing to update your operating system will leave a hole in your defences.

The consequences of this are very real. Aside from the loss of data and subsequent damage to reputation and earnings, you will have compromised members’ privacy and will be fined under GDPR – which could be huge. Mitigating that risk should be a priority for every organisation operating in the sector. Doing so is an ongoing process and as such needs a clear strategy. If it falls outside your current capacity or capabilities then when highly recommend working with an MSP to ensure your data is kept secure.

Problems scaling

We know from experience that membership organisations and associations have fluctuations in membership, which can mean demand placed on IT resources has to flex with it. Old or outdated IT infrastructures tend not to support this way of working, meaning that if a system reaches capacity you either have to pay for additional needs. Conversely if you have a drop in demand, you may end up paying for latent capacity which is neither efficient nor cost-effective.

Modern approaches to IT support and infrastructure are designed to flex with demand. Most provides of software, processes and storage will offer an on-demand version of the service or product for which you pay only for what you use. Embedding this approach into your overall strategy gives you flexibility and peace of mind and will save you money in the long-term.

Had enough of the spinning wheel of doom? Get in touch today to see how we can help.