In our "Best-In-Class" blog series we discuss an Association Management System feature that is. . . well. . . the best in their class of features that AMSs provide (in The AMS Guy’s opinion.) We will showcase a different feature that stands above the rest in each post and give a synopsis of why. Our Best in Class feature this month is APIs & Integration.
The AMS landscape continues to evolve as new technology and standards come along. The last big wave to hit the scene was "The Cloud". Now, AMSs are either cloud-based, vendors have a cloud-based version of their platform, or they are going extinct. The new wave in technological advancement is APIs & Integration, and it has taken the AMS market by storm!
Integration is the concept of connecting separate technologies together to communicate with each other and share data, tasks, etc. and create seamless workflows. APIs are sets of requirements that govern how one application can communicate and interact with another and is the basis for making these connections. It has become imperative that AMSs build APIs (or at least have the capacity to) that can create integrations with many types of systems. This makes having this ability a "Best in Class" feature. Here are a few reasons why.
. . . of solution delivery. A client (or potential) may come to a vendor asking for something that their platform can't currently handle. The vendor then has a few choices: A) You build that solution for the client, which could take years to develop, depending on its complexity. B) You could connect with another system that has the solution. This could take only a few months to build an API (or just implement if you have an existing open API that is capable of making the connection) that communicates the needed information back and forth between the technologies. You can also C) waive bye-bye to the client because you can't meet their needs.
. . . of mind for the vendor. Building new solutions for clients can be taxing for a vendor. A vendor must consider the time (and money) that will have to be dedicated to the development team. Let's also talk about the potentially negative effect the solution can have on your platform (will I have to change the system for all of my clients just to build the solution for one?) These factors can create an unattainable situation for A), But if you have B) in place, you don't have to skip to C).
Similar to the Association Management System market, there are entire industries that have arisen around dedicated software for non-profits. The Learning Management industry has plenty of vendors in its market. These vendors have cultivated their expertise in their respective spaces just as vendors in the AMS space have. There's no need for an AMS to try to become an expert in Scholarship Management. Simply connect to those that do.
Potential clients are going to have other software that they are not getting rid of. Rather it's via contract obligations or outright comfort and familiarity with a system, it would be a death sentence for a vendor to argue against keeping those legacy technologies. A vendor's ability to incorporate those other systems into their plans for an association will be a huge factor in them landing the client.
The writing is definitely on the wall about APIs and Integration. In fact, there is such a demand for technology platforms to communicate with each other, it has sparked its own API industry! Non-profit management software has also been swept up in this craze. But it should, because this post only shares just a few things that make APIs and Integration "Best in Class"