In plain English, application program interfaces (APIs) are the technology that let one application integrate with another. A complex phrase for something that, when in use, should actually feel really simple.

In our 2017 Association Predictions, we predict the free flow of data between software solutions will continue to gain importance across associations of all sizes. We foretell the core functionality of association management systems (AMSs) will shift from merely being the database of record to providing new levels of actionable insight into membership. Additionally, a greater emphasis will be placed on application programming interfaces (APIs) and function-specific applications that work together seamlessly in a platform-driven ecosystem.

Your association management practices and experience can be improved when your technology embraces open APIs, and thus integrates well with many other of your mission-critical applications. These integrations allow you to connect specialized tools and take advantage of best-of-breed options instead of one-size-fits-all. Just like you don’t want your doctor to serve as your lawyer, you may not want your online community to double as a fundraising platform.

When purchasing an association management system for your organization, ask about integration options for the following:

  • RESTful Web Services or SOAP-Based Web Services
  • Single Sign-On (SSO/SAML)
  • Seamless Data Sync
  • Websites
  • Learning Management Software (LMS)
  • Continuing Education, Credentialing, and Online Learning
  • Online Communities
  • Marketing Automation
  • Event Management
  • Accounting
  • Fundraising Platforms
  • Grant Management
  • Business Intelligence Reporting

To determine which of the above (or integrations not listed above) are most important to your association, look closely at your association’s engagement, retention, and revenue goals. For optimal success, don’t limit yourself to this year’s goals. Also think about what your organization needs to scale to next year or even three to five years down the road.

For more information on technology integrations or selecting the right association management system for your organization, read the AMS Shopper’s Guide today. To read our 2017 Association Predictions in full, download our whitepaper.