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Become Future-Ready with Software Solutions that Enhance Business Resilience – Associations Now

By Erin Lemons, Senior Director of Marketing at Fonteva & Protech

If the pandemic taught us one thing about human psychology, it’s that the unknown can be downright frightening. Case in point: Leaders used the phrase “unprecedented times” in corporate presentations 71 percent more frequently in 2020 than in the prior year, according to a study by The New York Times and research firm Sentieo.

Overuse of the word underscores the unease organizations felt when faced with the uncertainty of the health crisis. And while the pandemic was not the last we’ll hear of unprecedented times, association leaders can take steps to maintain business resilience during periods of unexpected change.

In fact, a recent study on digital transformation revealed that companies that were more digitally mature pre-pandemic were better able to adapt—and even drive innovation—during the crisis, while companies with less digital maturity were forced to concentrate on digital basics.

For associations, digital maturity means being equipped with a future-forward approach to association management. Next-generation association platforms backed by trusted cloud platforms like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365 are designed to do just that, empowering leaders to maintain business continuity and respond to future challenges more gracefully than they could otherwise.

Well-Equipped to Handle Change

In the past, it was common for associations to invest significant time and money building in-house management systems, sometimes known as legacy or proprietary systems. Today, those systems are showing their age, preventing associations from keeping up with cloud-enabled gains in security, innovation, and productivity.

In contrast to legacy systems of the past, today’s platform-based association management systems offer “true” cloud solutions, meaning they function in a secure, multi-tenant architecture and provide access to modern tools and applications through a subscription, rather than in-house infrastructure.

Fortunately, leaders don’t have to choose between association-specific solutions and modern, “true” cloud platforms. The latest association platforms are built from the ground up to manage a breadth of association business operations while leveraging the research and design of trusted, “true” cloud leaders such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

“Any organization that needs to ensure resilience and adaptability should consider an association platform,” according to AssociationPlatforms.com, a resource site devoted to inspiring technical change. “Ignoring the imperative need for digital transformation has implications for all the stakeholders in an association.”

No matter what the circumstance, these stakeholders expect the same conveniences they experience in their everyday lives.

Members, for example, expect the same fast, seamless experience in dealing with associations as they do with Amazon or Google. Sponsors want data and analytics that provide visibility into the effectiveness of their investments. Association employees are looking to streamline operations and avoid repetitive, manual tasks caused by data silos. Last but certainly not least, association leaders want access to the business intelligence needed to make strategic, data-driven decisions.

An association’s ability to maintain these competency levels in the face of a natural or man-made disaster serves as a clear competitive advantage over organizations that cannot. Unlike many legacy systems, association platforms provide built-in procedures, tools, and security measures to enable disaster recovery and business continuity following unexpected—and yes, even “unprecedented”—events.

Consider a Consultant

It can be difficult to determine whether your current association technology is considered resilient, but online assessments can help unveil gaps between your existing technology and a modern platform that supports business continuity and innovation. Many such resources, like this short quiz at AssociationPlatforms.com, are available for free.

If you do decide to move forward with a digital transformation effort, consider hiring an expert to determine your next best move. Habits can be hard to break, especially for associations that have served as the voice of their industries for multiple decades. Sometimes, an outside professional in association technology can help leaders challenge the status quo while reaping the benefits of cloud-era advancements designed to adapt to change.


In early 2021, Togetherwork acquired Fonteva, a platform solution built on the robust capabilities of Salesforce. Toward the end of 2021, Togetherwork acquired Protech, an association platform solution built on Microsoft Dynamics 365. Through AssociationPlatforms.com, Fonteva and Protech educate the industry on technology that empowers associations to deliver a modern member experience.