Author: Dempsey Woodley
All Aboard the iMIS Train
My first experience with iMIS was within an organisation where iMIS was a train wreck. Staff were frustrated, cynical and had lost faith in the ability of iMIS to deliver any value. But the problem was that they were looking for value in all the wrong places and didn’t appreciate the end to end engagement that iMIS provides.
I think the real value of iMIS for member organisations is that it covers pretty much all the business functions that a membership organisation needs from member management, accounts, certification, communication, event, websites, through to sales. Because it does it all it’s potentially a one stop shop seamless engagement experience for end users, and a data smorgasbord for organisations.
Organisations that I’ve walked into where all staff have an understanding of this high-level overarching value are invariably very happy with iMIS, embracing all of its tools, getting regular training and looking for ways to use the data to improve their services, revenue and their members’ experience.
Organisations that have lost sight of or have staff that are unaware of this value are often not so happy. Organisations that aren’t connected in a common goal or vision can easily fragment into silos of business processes. iMIS is not at its best when its parts are scrutinized in isolation.
I like the analogy of a train for iMIS because it’s like a powerful engine coupled with carriages. It’s solid, steady and can do the heavy work to bring you the goods, where as a carriage by itself offers little value.
A successful journey on the iMIS train requires several things to happen. First, everybody needs to get on board (have an understanding of the overarching value). Second everybody needs to know where everything is and how it works (training) because the iMIS train has its own way of doing things and is constantly evolving for the better, so you need to keep up. Finally, the iMIS train needs a driver to keep it on track. Sometimes the iMIS train track goes a different way than staff are used to so organisations will need a champion iMIS driver or conductor (preferably a decision maker in the organisation) reminding them that it’s the sum of the parts that matter. This invariably means an adjustment in business processes or even staff roles to pull it all together.
Reflecting on the organisation I mentioned at the beginning of this story I realise now that most of the staff were not on board, there had been no real investment in training and nobody was driving. The train wreck was inevitable. But don’t despair, the train can get back on track, and if the elements I’ve talked about in this blog are put in place there is a good chance you can convince the doubters that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t another train.