2017 and Your Technology Plan

November is almost here and many of you have your budget for technology allocated for 2017. You know the power of your association. Many of your members know it. They love you for the educational opportunities, meetings and events, industry knowledge base, certification programs, political advocacy, volunteer opportunities, and the content you deliver via website and email communications.

No one can truly replace you. But there are plenty of for-profit providers out there who are trying.

A big part of out-performing the competition is offering your members self-service, the kind of technology they expect from their association, and showing them content on a regular basis that is applicable and pertinent to their dreams and plans. As you think about using your technology budget in 2017, what are some top improvements you could make? We'll list a number of ideas, services we at 501CiO Consulting think can keep you at the very top and ensuring that new generations of members will know how indispensable you are.

Get your iMIS in the Cloud.

Why is this at the top of our list? In brief, you'll never pay again for an upgrade. You'll save on server costs and, in many cases, on your annual software fees. As long as iMIS keeps getting better, you'll never be behind again on technology, unable to offer your members the shiny things the for-profit world offers them. Oh, and did we mention PCI compliance? 501CiO specializes in helping small and mid-size associations get into the Cloud version of iMIS.

Get rid of your old website that isn't Mobile Optimized.

Here's what we mean: make sure your website looks great on smart phones and tablets. It's about more than just mobile responsiveness. It also means structuring your pages and content so they are not crowded and overly busy. We know websites can be expensive. We have plans to build Mobile Optimized websites in iMIS RiSE with a phased approach to get you moving in the right direction, even if your budget isn't ready for all of the changes at one time.

Make a new Member Landing page.

Show your members what you offer them and their account options in a winning format. Yes, it has to be Mobile Optimized.

Build a better looking homepage for your website.

If you can only make a small investment, this might be the one. We bring award-winning web building experience to small and large projects.

Develop a content marketing plan that will actually work.

You have content. The internet is waiting. We offer SEO, email marketing, inbound marketing strategy, and keyword research services. iMIS RiSE is ready for SEO if you know how to use it. If you put your content on an external blog, we can call that content onto your main website and display it in RiSE. Content marketing is the best way to increase your perceived value among potential members.

Add technology to your meeting this year.

Score a home run with members who want some of the fun offerings, kiosk experiences, and gamification they see happening in the for-profit meetings world. We work with vendors whose products sync with iMIS.

Offer a less expensive online payment gateway for transactions.

Save yourself and your members a lot of money. We have a partnership with a proven vendor used by numerous associations.

Bring your online educational offerings into a best-of-breed Learning Management System (LMS).

Get a product that integrates with iMIS, even iMIS in the Cloud. Associations are the major provider of adult education in the United States (probably other countries too). Your members need it and there is a revenue stream to grow through it.

Get rid of data silos.

Bring all your data into iMIS. 501CiO offers data discovery, audit, cleanup, and conversion.

Bring your Certification programs into iMIS20.

Still using a custom certifications solution? Still using an old iMIS desktop module. Give your members a better user experience in the standard Certification module in iMIS20.

Develop online communities.

This could be for your teams, committees, member types, chapters, or any kind of grouping component relevant to you. Best practices in launching online communities include things like soft launch, beta users, and a content plan from staff to make the communities more than empty internet space.

Set up your PAC or other fundraising programs online.

Offer member self-service and with configure it so money flows into separate bank accounts.

Make your online Join and Renew options easy for potential and existing members.

They should be able to do it from their phone and with multiple payment options. Configure dues for chapters and varied member types automatically based on a member's existing contact data (not relying on them to correctly enter their own member type, for example).

Set up automated tasks.

This includes things like email communications, alerts that show up for members and non-members anywhere on your website, data tasks, or whatever else needs automation to make your staff superheroes.

Integrate your content marketing (including external blogs) with iMIS.

Use your content marketing efforts to increase sales of educational offerings, grow your event attendance, and increase renewals. 501CiO offers content marketing integration with iMIS.

Get rid of Crystal Reports and move into SSRS Reports.

The report builder is free and iMIS20 works with SSRS Reports directly, with no external application needed on your server or desktop. Make your reports and invoices look modern and web-friendly.

If you think you are too small for iMIS . . .

We can shock you with the low implementation fee that the latest version of iMIS requires. Let us talk to you.

If you are small staff and need expert help . . .

501CiO is about to offer AMC services. We will implement the iMIS20 Cloud product for you, build you a mobile responsive website, and provide fractional operations services for a year or two years (depending on the contract you choose).

If we're not already your iMIS consultants . . .

We would love to be. We wish you a happy 2017 and hope it is a ground-breaking year for you and all of your dreams. (This is where I start singing "Auld Lang Syne.")

Derek Leman, Director of Business Development, dleman@501CiO.com

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technology, SSRS, payment-gateway, mobile-responsiveness, mobile-optimized, member-self-service, LMS, iMIS, Content-Marketing, consultants, Cloud, Certification, AMC, 2017