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. In this entry, we discuss Hybrid Systems.
In the association world (and probably the real world) there are two types of entities that make up the constituencies that we serve: an individual and an organization. There are vendors that have decided to cater to specific sectors and have developed their technology to only account for one of these entities, then there are those who have decided to service both. A hybrid system is an Association Management System (AMS) that has individual and organization accounts built into its functionality. While it is perfectly fine to develop a niche and serve it well, there are some undeniable benefits that come with platforms that take the hybrid approach.
Vendors who take the hybrid approach tend to be more forward-thinking and are powered by the situations it creates. Having individual and organization account functionality places a vendor in a position to serve all types of organizations, learn from them, and bring that knowledge back to you in the form of system upgrades and through knowledge transfer vehicles such as blogs and webinars. Because of this, some cross-pollination can take place. For instance, a vendor can discover an innovation serving trade organizations that could work wonders in professional organizations.
Associations are usually hybrid organizations. They hardly ever serve one constituency or require only one entity. Vendors with both types of accounts offer associations the ability to manage other constituents in one platform. This removes data silos, reduces cost, and creates avenues of communication across constituents. Many professional associations with individual memberships also have a corporate/sponsorship arm. In this instance, the associations can use a hybrid system to manage both the professional memberships and sponsoring companies. Trade associations often provide credentialing/certification programs to individuals in their trade, so although memberships are on the company (organization) level, individuals will have accounts to manage their certification.
There are many other benefits that taking the hybrid approach affords. The ones that were discussed in this article are those that make Hybrid Systems a "Best-in-Class" feature in Association Management Systems.