Does your Extranet look like a Dump Box or a Maze, where none of your members like to go (unless they are forced to)?
Are you one of those associations whose website shines, but the Member Area is a second fiddle, with an archaic interface?
You are making a governance mistake, and more importantly, a business mistake by ignoring the user journey of your most important clients: 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 (aka. extranet) is the place where exclusive Business Value should be created.
That is why we, at Symantra, provide NextGen Extranet to drive the growth of associations: a Member Experience Platform.
What is an awesome Member Platform?
If you do not have these 7 characteristics, it is time to drop your old Member Area.
1. A great Extranet has a beautiful interface.
It delivers a superior User Experience, as your members have now much higher digital expectations.
2. It must be a Cybersecure place, with the highest standards in place.
Therefore, Member area should NEVER be built on website technologies such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla... easily hackable.
Data must be hosted in the EU and you must have full control on them.
3. The Member Platform enables new Revenue streams and premium Services.
4. A 1 Stop-shop.
The Member Platform centralizes smartly all the Member's touchpoints, all your exclusive content, and all your digital services.
5. A great Extranet offers a hyper safe and modern collaborative work experience.
We talk about real-time collaboration on all types of documents. Not to be confused with social walls gadgets or forums, which have failed, over and over.
6. A great Extranet should be flexible enough and smart enough, to avoid any extra work for your staff.
No more webmaster work required. No IT skills required.
7. A smart Extranet offers 360° Business Intelligence for data-driven decisions on all Operations (Member engagement, Marketing, Events, Sales...). In real-time.
8. And much more ...
Do you also have a bad Extranet?
The Frustrations Checklist.
Based on our large experience in migrating our clients to Symantra's solutions, we have compiled a list of the most common frustrations of other "Member area/extranet" in the market.
If you tick 3 points out of 5 in this checklist, it to time to seriously rethink this key strategic asset.
1. Your Extranet is a User Experience Disaster.
The truth is that your Extranet is… a pure design non-sense, while all your favourite web and mobile apps are so user-centric and elegant! Your member area has a bad-looking interface.
At the login page already, the onboarding workflow is a disaster.
The file repository looks like a “Dump box”. The Calendar and Who’s Who features date back from the prehistory of the Internet. You don't have any advanced features that best-in-class associations have to drive better member engagement and collaboration, exclusive business services, better member satisfaction.
Personalized and contextualized experiences: never heard off.
Having social forum-like features are more of time-waster: it sounds cool the first month, then you need to spend too much effort to push the people to login and to comment. At the end of the day, you will need to invest in another "webmaster" staff to justify your investment in that wrong digital solution. Pure time and money waste again.
By the way, Yammer and Facebook@work or similar kinds of digital "social streams" gadgets failed many years ago already in the private sector. So don't make the same mistake with this style of "gadget" extranet.
Your members are your clients, not your colleagues, not your friends. They want professionals features creating value for the fees they are paying to you.
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: meaning 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. Sharepoint is not an extranet - it' is merely a system to share docs inside a company - and it badly hits a wall when you have to collaborate smoothly with external people. Fine for your internal staff, but not your dear members.
It is not brandable and it is such a geeky interface.
It is not at all a beautiful digital home to create exclusive value and services (we hope you offer more to your members, than just "sharing documents").
Come on, tell us the truth:
Do your members really enjoy fiddling in that Extranet maze or dump box?!
Is your member area an optimal digital experience in comparison to what you experience yourself online on top web platforms, eg. great e-commerce (Coolblue, Zalando, Netflix, you name it...)?
No, of course not.
3. An Extranet living in a SILO is a dead Extranet.
Digital transformation, in the context of associations, is about unifying your digital ecosystem and creating huge productivity wins for your staff.
Your current Extranet is not interconnected to any of your current digital tools (distribution lists, event tool, survey tool, CRM, invoicing, …).
Today, when there are so many possibilities of smart automation and NATIVE interconnections 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.
All you data are scattered around in different tools, different Excel sheets.
You are certainly not GDPR compliant since a while (don't hide, we know that many orgs are not GDPR compliant!).
It is time to deliver more quality for your members.
Time to maximize automation of all your low value/repetitive/boring IT/admin internal processes and data workflows in your association management.
4. Cybersecurity, Data Sovereignty— what's that again?
Did you know that WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal are extremely vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks?
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 "web designer" did not have the right technology capabilities. Most often extending the CMS used for building Websites such as WordPress, Drupal, Typo3, Joomla with plugins that create many security loopholes.
Many times also the IT guy uses bad plugins or connectors to create non-native integrations that expose critical data to the world.
We see many cyber-attacks happening out there (particularly in Brussels) or data being exposed "accidentally" because of IT illiteracy, negligence, or a blind trust in "the IT department" or the the "IT provider".
This is key to understand, especially if you work in public affairs or in a sensitive policy sector. These traditional CMS frameworks (CMS= content management systems) are OK-ish to build public websites (though they are not the best anymore if you want intelligent websites, and not the usual copy-paste static websites ... that is another discussion we can have together). These CMS are 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 sectors, 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.
So: NEVER use website CMS to create a Member Area.
Talking about where your data are hosted, the vast majority of CRM, Membership & Associations software and digital tools do nit host their data in the EU. Too many orgs do not know where their data are protected and hosted.
Your members and EU-based financial supporters would be quite angry about that, if they knew this...
5. Analytics that makes no sense for membership-based organisations.
Yes, you have a Google Analytics access that shows you the number of visitors on your website. Yes, you have the Twitter ego KPIs and the Mailchimp campaign data, as everybody has indeed…
Wow !…Seriously ?!
What can you do with these metrics in terms of strategic and data-driven decision-making when it comes to Member Relationships? Do you have any meaningful KPIs to show the impact of your Marketing campaign, your activities on all communications channels for the Growth, the conversions, the business impact inside your organisation?
Very unlikely. Nothing.
Does your software tell you which member really likes and consumes your content for real?
Which member is on the verge to leave your association?
Which member is engaged in x Working Groups and could have more interest in y and z committee?
Which members attend your Working Groups meetings and how often ?...
We have a full list of KPIs that matter to associations, in 1 real-time Dashboard.
What if you could see and enjoy a 360° view of each member's engagement with all your activities and all your channels and platforms you currently have, in real-time, with Symantra's unique 360° Association KPIs Dashboard.
If your current Extranet scores 3 out of 5, talk to us.
The state of digital infrastructure tells a lot about the brand reputation and the leadership strength of an #Association. Are you one of those associations whose #website shines, but the "Member Area" (#extranet) is a second fiddle with an archaic interface?
➡️ Smart International Associations invest much less in their website. Instead, they invest much more in their Member Platform (NextGen Extranet) and their digital transformation for many strategic (business) reasons.
➡️ They also know that websites and Member Area are not the same stuff. You need a different digital approach. You need different digital agencies and skills.
➡️ Digital transformation is about having a unified and secure digital ecosystem in place.
We help membership-based organisations across Europe to go to the next level in terms of Association Management in a few weeks (not months), while saving up to 30% operating costs.
🎯 Want to join the Club of leading Business associations and NGOs?
💾 Or do you still prefer to be left behind, digitally?