By Guest Blogger:
Peter Johnson, Technical Director
During the 20 years of being Technical Director at Unified Digital Solutions I’ve come across some quite technically challenging and complex system integration projects that’s led to a lot of head scratching and drumming of fingers. How I love it!
For many Memberships and Trade Associations who’ve grown organically, having a completely integrated system can be one big headache – too often we see our clients come to us with siloed technology and a confused mix of solutions that simply don’t talk to each other. Such systems include having a legacy database, CRM billing system, content management system, membership management solutions, and email marketing and marketing automation tools. And with memberships focus firmly on adding value to the member at every stage of their journey, having a central solution that’s capable of sharing data to gain a complete overview of the member is a must. This is so you can clearly identify needs, interest and member intention, to shape relevant content.
But combining this huge wealth of data, and migrating from an old system to a new one, is no mean task.
One relevant example is a project we worked on with Mineral Products Association (MPA). This included the complete migration from an old content management system with multiple websites and a separate CRM into a single unified solution. This removed the complexity of having a separate member database, instead using the contact management feature of their newly updated CMS as their member database. This migration along with 3rd party system integrations allowed for online transactions, registration and event bookings to take place with data being managed centrally in this new system.
At the other extreme, working with the Hospitals Consultants and Specialists Association (HSCA) required us to design and implement a bespoke membership management solution that catered to their specific needs, while at the same time building a new open source website ensuring both platforms were fully integrated. The solution allows HSCA to not only deal with membership matters centrally but engage in real time conversation and dialogue with members.
Image: MPA – The Concrete Centre new website
Overall there are clear benefits of integrating your Membership web, office and management systems;
- Integrating your website with your CRM means less time and effort entering member details into your CRM. Furthermore, combining marketing automation software enables you to use that valuable data captured from your members website activity to make future predictions as to their behaviour, potentially opening up new revenue opportunities
- Enabling legacy systems to function seamlessly with newer systems can increase productivity
- The risk of data duplication is reduced
- Integrating websites with third party systems such as payment gateways via their APIs can add valuable additional functionality to your website
And what about GDPR?
A final point high on everyone’s agenda is the impact of GDPR in terms of data capture and how having integrated systems will impact on the use of shared information. By this I mean sharing data held on your CRM that’s been captured via many data collection points which is then used to personalise content on your website.
It’s unlikely the website personalisation process will change however; having a single point that stores user data will become even more important. It’s clear that a central solution that gathers and stores customer data will negate the administrative need for going through different systems and deleting records.
In addition, IP tracking technology could pose an issue in terms of sending personalised re-targeted messages based on previous internet activity which may well lead to GDPR violation.
Overall, having a central solution that manages all your systems has many benefits but if you feel daunted by the prospect, don’t forget we’re on hand to help. We love working out complex challenges and we always succeed in coming up trumps for our membership clients. And with 2018 just around the corner and impending GDPR, there’s no better time than to start now!
Unified Digital Solutions offer a broad range of services including website and intranet design, build, host and support , CMS and system integration, mobile design and apps, marketing automation and personalisation, email marketing digital marketing services and data analytics