Importance of an Open Ecosystem over Closed Ecosystem AMS

Increasingly Association Management Software (AMS) is becoming a critical part of the day to day management and growth of an Association. Modern AMS takes the manual work that Associations traditionally did manually and automates them. From membership joining, renewals, communications to training, eCommerce and website management.

The result being that the quality of the services an Association provides to its stakeholders is a direct extension of the quality of the AMS and how that AMS is integrated into the Association.

The AMS is the tool. How well that tool is integrated into the Association and how well it is maintained to keep it in-line with the Associations growing needs is a critical factor in maximising outcomes.

Open vs. Closed Association Software Ecosystem

What is a Software Ecosystem?

A software Ecosystem is a reference to the related activities and services that go into implementing and maintaining the software.

These include:

  • Project Management
  • Design and Content Placement of website
  • Training and Support
  • Ongoing Updates and Support

What is a CLOSED Ecosystem?

Traditional AMS Vendors bundle all aspects of their Softwares' Ecosystem into one package. The vendor provides the project management, design, content placement, training, ongoing support and updates. In most cases, the Association has no options in this and cannot leverage in house skills or existing service providers.

A Closed Ecosystem is great for the vendor as it allows them to maximise revenues from a single client. However, it has several considerable disadvantages to the Association as they are locked into the ecosystem that the vendor provides, resulting in inflated and often unnecessary charges and substandard quality.

In short, a Closed Ecosystem creates a monopoly market place in which critical services are delivered. We all know what a monopoly market place does to the price and quality of the services being provided!

What is an OPEN Ecosystem?

Modern AMS Vendors are embracing the Open Ecosystem and developing their solutions to allow the Association to operate and access associated services more freely and in a manner more suited to their individual needs and budgets.

An Open Ecosystem allows the Association to choose how they access associated activities necessary to maximise the success of implementing and running a new AMS in their organisation. It enables the association to leverage existing in-house skills and service providers they already have a relationship with or choose from a marketplace of high-quality service providers.

For example, many Associations already engage (or have an in-house) designer to develop their brochures, magazines and marketing material. It makes sense for this designer also to be involved in the design of the website and its elements (styling, promotional banners, etc.). An Open Ecosystem allows and encourages the Association to use one designer for all aspects of their design work, which reduces overall costs, and maximises overall quality of design and brand development.

Another critical element to a successful implementation of an AMS is training and support. With an Open Ecosystem, there's a range of independent training and support providers to choose from. Usually in your city or state, and skilled not only in the AMS Software itself but also in Associations and how the software can best be used to solve real world challenges faced by an Association.

In short, an Open Ecosystem is an open and free marketplace, promoting competition in pricing and increased quality in delivery.

Open Ecosystem vs Closed Ecosystem

OPEN Ecosystem
CLOSED Ecosystem
  • Association can pick and choose what they need
  • Open Marketplace ensures prices are not inflated
  • Ecosystem is bundled. Often requiring that Association is paying for things it doesn't need
  • Closed Marketplace results in over inflated and unnecessary prices
  • Competition exists within the ecosystem ensuring services quality is at a high standard
  • Providers are professionals in the specific service being provided
  • Poor quality does not result in lost business as a customer cannot go elsewhere, so quality decreases.
  • Delivered by a technology company, so not the organisation's core business
  • You can structure the ecosystem to fit needs and budget
  • If a part of ecosystem does not provide satisfactory, you can change service providers without having to change the whole system
  • Forced into an all or nothing, resulting in paying for services not always necessary
  • Cannot change one part of the ecosystem. If training and support are poor, the organisation is forced into the costly exercise of moving to an entirely new AMS and Ecosystem
  • Develop a solution and ecosystem that best suits the association's individual needs, location, demands and budget, and can be adjusted to suit the current, as well as changing needs of the association
  • A one size fits all approach. At best, a pricing scale of 'included options' which minimise choice regarding what is delivered, how it is delivered and by who it is delivered


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