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One of my favorite aphorisms in data management is “There are those who backup, and those who will.”

Once you’ve had one catastrophe with a missing or corrupt backup, you’ll never forget about backing up again.

Or will you?

More and more, data systems are being hosted by third-party vendors. And part of that service is periodic backups of your data. But have you ever checked with your vendor(s) to ensure the data is actually being backed up? Ask your vendor(s) to prove they are backing up your data.

So maybe we need a new mantra: “There are those who check on their vendor backups, and those who will.”

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I spoke at AAMSE’s annual conference last week, and prior to my session, I got to see Jeffrey Hausfeld of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs speak. During his session he asked the following question:

“Of people, money, and time, which of these resources is most important?”

Of course, my immediate reaction was “people,” but in the instant after that I thought, “It’s time!”

As Dr. Hausfeld put it, as you get older, you quickly realize that time is the most important resource.

And if you think about it, it’s obvious. Money and people can be replaced and added to. If you need more money, you can find it somewhere. And if you need more people, you can find them somewhere, too (often by using more money!). But time? You can’t find more time. It’s the same for all of us, rich and poor.

So when you’re thinking about or working on a technology project, always keep in mind that the one resource you can’t replace is time. The longer something takes, the less utility you have from it.

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Your blog is very nice and having really informative post,
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In order to be successful with your AMS selection, there are two key points to keep in mind: 

  1. No system can provide everything that you’ve identified as a functional need. (If such a system DID exist, I would own it, and be VERY rich!)
  2. You’re in very good shape if you can get 80% of your functional needs met while still staying within your budget.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Of course, if you’re already on my announcements list, you would have received notice of this new article right in your email box. Not signed up yet? Click here to sign up.

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The latest in a string of private equity investments in the AMS space was announced earlier this week, as Bregal Sagemount, a New York private equity firm, announced they had taken a minority stake in ASI, the makers of iMIS. You can read more about it here.

No specific changes were made with this announcement, but based on past investments in this space, rest assured this will bring some dramatic changes at ASI both in terms of personnel and product. Stay tuned.

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2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report is a good report. I've downloaded it and will read that soon.
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Is Internet Marketing a good career?
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I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Before you can go to advanced work like marketing segmentation and “big data,” you have to be able to manage the fundamentals.

And what are the fundamentals? Things like:

  •  proper procedures and documentation in place for managing your data
  • data integrity reports to ensure you have clean data
  • an integrated website that doesn’t require rekeying of data
  • minimize or eliminate redundant data and shadow systems

With the fundamentals in place, THEN you can start focusing on bigger picture issues like big data.

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I recently heard the author James Altucher make this statement, and a subsequent google search attributes it to the author Jodi Picoult. Regardless of its origins, I think the formula is very accurate, and can be easily applied to how happy associations are with their database systems and the effectiveness of their data management.

The key to the formula is “expectations.” The lower your expectations, the higher your happiness will be. For example, if you go to a restaurant expecting McDonald’s-level food, if they serve you much higher quality food, you’ll be very happy. Conversely, if you go to a very nice restaurant expecting good food and get McDonald’s-level food, you’ll be very unhappy. It all hinges on expectations.

Too often, I find association staff are unhappy with their data management systems because their expectations are too high, for any number of reasons. For example, I’ve encountered the following:

  • An executive director who wanted all kinds of data input into the database but was unwilling to enter the actual data! (Read here.)
  • An executive director of a small association who wanted to replace her current database and website system with a new one, but didn’t want to increase her current budget of $50 per month!
  • Senior leadership that expected all email data to be up-to-date all the time. When it was discovered that a board member’s data was incorrect, the ED wanted to trash the entire database!

All of these are examples of expectations that will set them up for unhappiness, because the reality can never match their expectations.

As my wife always says when people ask her how she can successfully raise four kids, “I just lower my expectations!”

It’s the key to happiness.

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I recently moderated a keynote presentation at ACGI’s Knowledge Days in Baltimore. The session, entitled “How to Keep a Healthy Marriage with Your Technology Vendor,” covered the five elements that I believe constitute a good marriage, and will serve you well in relationships with your technology vendors. Those five elements are:

  • You have the other party’s best interest in mind
  • Honesty, openness, and transparency
  • You’re more successful together than apart
  • You have a willingness to forgive
  • Always keep a sense of humor

I wrote more about this here.

After the session, Jimmy Steiner from the American Society of International Law, pointed out to me that I should add one more bullet point to the list: “Your last girlfriend always seems better than she really was.”

I think Jimmy makes a great point. Too often when associations switch systems, staff who had experience with the last system will point out all the ways the last system was “better” than the new one. And very often, certain elements of the last system may actually work better than the new system. But what’s important to keep in mind is all of the other things the last system lacked that the new system fixes.

So remember, along with all the points above, more often than not, your last relationship wasn’t as good as you remember it to be!

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