Welcome to our new blog series called "Best-In-Class" where we will 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 second entry in the series is the Workflow Tool.
A Process/Workflow tool is a software development tool used to create a series of actions for the steps in a business process. Many software developers use this tool to establish the operations of the software systems they create. Its power lies in its ability to automate a workflow, series of tasks, documents, information, etc. for routine business practices and remove these activities from your staff, saving time, energy, effort, and money!
Even in the non-profit/associations space, developers have been using workflow tools to create the processes in their AMS system. Well, some vendors had an epiphany:
No matter how many processes we build into their pre-packaged system, we are simply not going to account for ALL the business practices of the MANY different associations out there.
So they made the workflow tool available to the association administrators so that they can automate some of their unique business processes. . . and instantly, a new Best-in-Class AMS feature was born!
To close: here's a good example of when a workflow tool amplifies an existing process (this is based on a real organization.)
An organization has a Lifetime Member Program. When a person becomes a Lifetime Member,
the Executive Director (ED) likes to send a personal message to the individual thanking them for
signing up, a welcome packet is sent in the mail, and a commemorative plaque is ordered. You
can't expect the AMS vendor to have workflows to handle these processes already built into their
system because A) not everyone has Lifetime Memberships, B) Who's expecting the ED to want to
be alerted when an individual signs up for this one memberships type, C) a plaque? - that's cool,
but who knew?!?
With an available Process/Workflow tool, the organization can have each Lifetime Member sign-
up A) trigger an alert to the ED, B) create a mailing label for the new member's welcome packet
(and possibly print it?), and C) send information to the trophy vendor to create the Lifetime
Member plaque for the individual.