Non-profits and national associations are moving to the Salesforce ecosystem in large numbers to satisfy customer relationship management and other operational database requirements. The association management system is a non-profits system of record. Matt Harpold and Jon Aleckson interview Mark Patterson of Fíonta to get his perspective on choosing branded systems like Nimble and Fonteva (association management systems built on top of Salesforce) compared to tricking out a native Salesforce instance.
Mark Patterson has had 25+ years of experience working in the association technology space. Prior to becoming the CEO of Fíonta, Mark spent 10 years at Aptify, a leading provider of association management systems (AMS). Fíonta is a system integrator and Salesforce partner that provides support services for those who are migrating to salesforce.
To begin the episode, Patterson said Salesforce has become the dominant Customer Relationship Management platform on the market. To describe this phenomenon, he said, “There are other platforms out there, but nothing like the scale and capability of salesforce.” Why is this?
Patterson said that previously, associations ran their organizations on proprietary association management systems (AMS), meaning a product vendor developed all parts of the solution, putting the association at the mercy of the vendor. Salesforce had introduced a ubiquitous platform in which associations can base all their IT footprint within. Benefits include a single database, a sophisticated platform for accessibility that allows for any integrations, a reporting platform, analytics tools, as well as networks of partners and services, such as Nimble and Fonteva. These are two highly capable AMS packages built on Salesforce that essentially address the needs of most associations.
Fonteva and Nimble leverage all the tools and capability of salesforce, along with their own tools on top that allows for customizability. Now associations have a highly viable set of options on Salesforce, which was never the case before. Patterson predicts that both platforms will continue to gain popularity as associations begin the replacement cycle for their current solution.
Some associations opt for the route of creating their own platform. However, Patterson advices associations to look into packages that fit all/most of their needs, as opposed to developing their own software. This is because the development and upkeep process will not be worth it.
When asked about the future of legacy systems, Patterson says that current clients will be slow to migrate off, but will eventually make a transition to platform-based solutions such as Salesforce.