As CE21 prepared to build what has become Lighthouse, there were numerous internal discussions around the paradigm shift it would bring in the way associations would operate – changing how they would provide products and services to their members and constituents. After working with these systems for over 20 years, we knew it was past time to address the deficiencies found in most AMS platforms – problems that had frustrated staff and users for far too long.
But as with all things in life, change is never easy, especially for organizations with processes that have remained virtually unchanged for decades. Getting people to go along with a mind shift like combining LMS and AMS into a single system was going to be challenging. Trusting automation and letting go of outdated, time wasting manual processes would be hard for some. Early on we were fortunate to find people ready to make the leap to a better future for their organizations and the people they serve.
“Somebody mentioned they still use paper in their workflow,” commented Willis Turner, CAE CME CSE, President and CEO of the Sales and Marketing Executives, International, Inc. (SMEI).
“I’m not sure what paper is,” he joked. “We have absolutely no paper communications with any members, and it’s really simplified our process. In our previous vendor system, the member dashboard automatically opened whenever I launched my browser. That’s how tied we were to it. You had to be in there every day. I’m kind of spoiled with Lighthouse. Sometimes I get a little surprise when I actually “need” to log in and I find something’s changed. There’s some new update that I wasn’t paying attention to, which is a nice surprise. I prefer those kinds of things, and I like the fact that I don’t have to be in the system every day. When you have a small staff and you’re depending on technology to be your partner, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.”
For Marc Abla, CAE, Executive Director of the Illinois Chiropractic Society, trust plays a large role in the value Lighthouse brings to his members.
“It is about the people you work with and high level of the service which is great. But at the end of the day, we still need to deliver the content and education and it has to be trustworthy,” Alba remarked. “Candidly, what I like about the marriage of the LMS and the AMS more than I thought I was going to, is that seamless movement between them. We were already on CE21’s LMS and members understood how to use it and were familiar with the user interface. With Lighthouse they weren’t jumping to another system with a different look and a different user interface to handle the AMS side of things. Now it’s all in one – they just click another tab, and it looks the same and feels the same.”
“Ultimately, each of those things come together, and I think anytime you have some seamless touches like that you’re going to increase some of the trustworthiness for users, “Abla added. “I think the more comfortable people become using the system the more they trust you and what you’re telling them. I think that trust lends itself to both the information as well as to the education they receive from us, and both of those are critical components. Lighthouse has been a fantastic tool allowing us to be able to bring it all home.”
“Regarding the earlier comments on the mind shift that Lighthouse introduces,” Turner added, “we have talked about us as leaders making the transition. In reality, it’s really been about the members making the transition, being ready for this online experience we are delivering. We’re now finding that we’re doing a lot less support and handholding for members than we did when COVID hit. People are just getting more tuned in to expectations and embracing the experience of using online platforms like Lighthouse. To run a large organization, it really does make a big difference.”