This post is the 2nd part of a 3-part article demonstrating how your membership data can easily lose integrity and ideas on how to prevent it.

Thing 2: Case-In-Point, Third Party Integrations

Your Marketing team pulls a mailing list from your AMS/CRM in order to send a snail mail to promote a specific product to all your members in the Chicago area just as you did a year ago. Two weeks later, suddenly 15% of the mail is returned as undeliverable. This is not a good sign. Last year when you did this same mailing, only 2% was returned. What on earth happened to your valid addresses?

What occurred in the past 12 months that might have damaged your mailing addresses? After some research, you discover that a new process was implemented for registration for your annual conference that ties directly into your AMS. The web services used to pull this data in, has no data integrity checks programmed into the front-end application. So the system takes the full address without validating anything including blank fields, state abbreviations, etc. It overwrites any existing address for an individual without confirmation. There is no process in place to manually validate new records that stream into your AMS. Now you have a database mess, congratulations, that was easy.

Lesson learned?

Web service integrations are a great method to get data into your AMS, however, take the time to spec out every single field, and thoroughly test the flow of data and the data validations that should be programmed into the front-end application.  If you have no control over what your third party is pushing into your AMS, you are playing with fire.

Do you have any experiences you would like to share regarding integrations with your AMS?

Be a watchdog over what and how data is pushed into your AMS. Thing 3…  [to be continued…]