Are you one of those associations whose website shines but the Member area is a second fiddle with an archaic interface? Does your Extranet look like a Dump box where none of your members like to go (unless they are forced to)?
You are making a governance mistake, and more importantly, a business mistake by ignoring the user journey of your most important stakeholders/your members.
Websites are important but at the end of the day, it is just a visiting card, a window. And you cannot constantly disappoint your members by having a shabby house (= member area).
The member area is the place where business value is created.
We have compiled a list of the most common frustrations of an Extranet. If you tick more than 3 points in this checklist, it to time to seriously rethink about this key strategic asset.
What is an ugly Extranet? The frustration Checklist.
1. Your Extranet is a User Experience Disaster.
First of all, it has a bad looking interface. At the login page, the onboarding flow is awful. The file repository looks like a “Dump box”. The Calendar and Who’s Who features date back from the prehistory of the Internet. Having Forum-like features is more of time-wasters (by the way Yammer and Facebook@work are total failures in the private sector).
The truth is that your Extranet is… a pure design non-sense, while all your favorite web and mobile apps are so user-centric and elegant!
Does your Extranet reflect your brand quality and ambition?
2. None of your members like to go on the Extranet unless …
… you forced them to enter there: only when they have to attend a meeting to find the agenda-related documents; or when they have to download a key document on your Extranet; or when they get a link to your "Sharepoint" after quite some struggle from your IT team.
Come on, tell us the truth: do your members enjoy to fiddle in that Extranet ditch?! No, of course not.
3. An Extranet living in a SILO is a dead Extranet.
Your current Extranet is not connected to any of your current digital tools (distribution lists, event tool, survey tool, contact database, …). Today, when there are so many possibilities of smart automation and interconnection with your digital tools … and, in contrast, your Extranet is standing alone in a SILO with no interface towards the digital tools you use every day.
Sounds like a joke, ugh! It is time to deliver more quality for your members.
4. Cybersecurity & GDPR— what's that again?
The truth is that most traditional Extranets for international associations offer a full party for hackers. This is because often the wrong IT framework has been chosen and the developers did not have the right capabilities (most often extending the CMS used for building Websites such as Wordpress, Drupal, Typo3, Joomla with plugins that create many security loopholes).
Did you know that Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal are extremely vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks?
These CMS frameworks (CMS= content management systems) are OK to build public websites, but certainly not the right tool to build and host your most strategic asset for your members: your Extranet. For associations' websites, security is anyway not such a major issue as all the information is public.
But this is a total governance mistake for Extranet, a place where you are storing strategic business intelligence, critical insights on your European industry, or your member database.
For your Member Platform, it is a huge mistake to put all your strategic information on a weak IT framework that can be stolen even by a high school hacker.
5. Analytics that makes no sense.
Yes, you have a Google Analytics access that shows you the number of visitors on your website. Yes, you have the Twitter data and the Mailchimp campaign data, as everybody has indeed…
Wow !…Seriously ?!
What can you do with this in terms of strategic decision-making if it comes to Member Relationships?
Does it tell you which member really likes and consumes for real your content? Which member is on the verge to leave your association? Which member is engaged in x working groups and could have more interest in w and y policy groups? Which members attend your W.G. meetings and how often ?...
What if you could see and enjoy a 360° view of each member's activity on all the activities and platforms you currently have, individually, in real-time?...