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This blog post focuses on national associations’ software systems and how through data warehousing and data visualization, association members can automatically be shown an engagement score and a return on investment report on what the member is getting out of their association membership. 

As association CTOs turn to a “best of breed” systems approach, associations have invested in software systems to help bring various systems into harmony.  The association management system is still “top of the hill” but the community platform, learning management system, automated email system, financial system and others are helping round out the ecosystem.  Middleware handles single-sign on and data write-backs. Recently a new class of systems, data analytics programs, have emerged.  These programs collect data from the various systems via a data warehouse and allow for the creation of data visualization dashboards that assist association leaders with descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive decision making.  This is the fulfillment of the promise of BIG DATA for thousands of communities of practice that exist today as associations or medical societies.

Association Tech Stack Sample


Data analytic systems like Acumen from Association Analytics (A2) integrate Association Management System member and event information, Community Platform usage data, Email Automation results, Financial System data, Learning Management System data and others to create dashboards for real-time data interpretation.  One major benefit of association membership is to be able to earn continuing education credits from experts in the field.  Educational offerings for members often produce a large amount of data when a Learning Management System is utilized for both face to face and online learning events.

Association leaders often get started with Big Data by compiling data the traditional way, in spreadsheets.  Rusty Howell, Director of Information Technology, for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has assembled extensive learning system data in spreadsheets to help management evaluate their online learning programs (Full Disclosure:  ASRM is a customer of Web Courseworks and uses our Learning Management System (LMS), CourseStage).  Rusty pulls different types of learning data from the LMS to show to members and internal stakeholders: course popularity statistics, learner retention, pre-post test data and course evaluation data.  At the upcoming Personify User Group meeting in Savannah, Georgia, Rusty Howell, will be conducting a session with Association Analytics (A2) and the Web Courseworks LMS team to show learning data along with other member engagement data in the visualized dashboard format.

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) is also combining data from multiple systems to create an Outcomes Scorecard for all educational events both live and online.  CHEST also uses the Learning Management System’s psychometric reporting tools to provide pre-post comparison, T score analysis, quiz statistics, item analysis, performance improvement reporting and other reliability reporting.  CHEST’s data visualization system of choice has been the popular Tableau System.


American College of Chest Physicians, CHEST, uses LMS data from face to face and online educational events to create an Outcomes Scorecard for all courses.


The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), according to an A2 white paper, has embarked on a mission recently to analyze data coming from their community platform, Higher Logic, and to combine this data with annual meeting attendance and membership renewals to be able to make engagement predictions, understand membership retention influencers, and understand more drivers of revenue.

Big Data has been an expected tool for managers of corporations using products like Tableau for years. Today, acquiring a real time data analytics system is a top priority for national association’s IT departments.  Now many associations (communities of practice) can demonstrate a data dashboard display to management and members in real time.  These real time dashboard graphics are not only a management decision-making tool but can demonstrate how engage members are and show members their return on investment.

One of our favorite Association Management Systems is Personify.  We have been a partner of Personify for eight years.  We are looking forward to their annual user group meeting called PersoniFest in Savannah, Georgia April 7-10.  Not only are we exhibiting our CourseStage Learning Management System, but I am doing a speaker session with one of my favorite customers:  Rusty Howell of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.   Joining us in this Tuesday morning session will be Association Analytics COO, David DeLorenzo.

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