The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, located in Jacksonville, Florida, represents more than 6,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. A majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. CEO, Paul Markowski and CFO, Tom Conway, knew they had the talent to create a strong future for the organization, but teams were struggling with systems that weren’t up to the task. With membership data and other critical information stored in dozens of spreadsheets, making an efficient process for analysis and reporting difficult, AACE was not prepared to navigate an increasingly competitive environment.
To grow, the association needed an innovative approach to business strategy and a stronger infrastructure anchored in technology. The goal was to create the systems and culture that would give AACE staff the ability to do their best work and to build an organization agile enough to give members what they want before they even realize they need it.
Assess Strengths and Challenges
A digital transformation is a significant project, and technology is only a small piece of the puzzle. The .orgSource Transformation Readiness Assessment helped everyone to understand AACE’s strengths and where improvement was needed. This tool measures proficiency in seven areas that are important for advancement and success:
- People and culture
- Operations and processes
- Technology and systems
- Metrics and analytics
Given AACE’s rudimentary technology, the results of the assessment weren’t surprising. The staff gave AACE an overall net promoter score of -54. Everyone understood there was a lot of work to be done, but there was also plenty of enthusiasm to begin. AACE would need to integrate technology with an overarching digital strategy, eliminate manual and redundant activities and begin using member/customer data to guide business decisions.
.orgSource worked with AACE to create a bold vision for the future. Each of these goals would require a significant leap forward:
- Building an environment and culture for innovation
- Implementing strong digital platforms to enable operational efficiencies
- Enhancing member experience and access to content
- Creating a foundation for knowledge-based decision making
- Achieving a sustained customer experience for audience growth, engagement and monetization.
The AACE board willingly committed the resources for hardware and software upgrades that would make their vision a reality, including: migrating to Office365, implementing a project management system, instituting best-practice policies and procedures, and upgrading financial and meeting management systems.
.orgSource was proud to support the launch of AACE’s first association management system. We helped the staff identify how their new database should perform and then select a platform that would grow along with them. We also made sure everyone was trained and ready to use the new software effectively. The data that was stored in all those spreadsheets was safely transferred and could now be analyzed to support evidence-based decision-making. Developing a process to document standard operating procedures was another important step toward greater efficiency.
After the database was in place, attention turned to the association’s online profile. The website needed to reflect the new more strategic approach. The .orgSource team guided AACE staff and volunteers through discovery, design, development and deployment. An upgraded content management system along with an integrated strategy ensured the site would be easily searchable, engaging and provide the information visitors were hoping to find.
In the first two months of its launch, the new AACE website saw significant increases in traffic. Unique users increased an impressive 58 percent, while page views were up 65 percent. Improved SEO also led to a 50 percent increase in visits via Google search. The implementation of single sign-on meant more visitors accessed their member information, purchased products or education courses and renewed their memberships. This fall, the team’s hard work was validated with a Marcom Award Honorable Mention.
Two years after the initial transformation readiness survey, AACE celebrated a jump in its net promoter score from -54 to +28! More important, the changes have infused the organization with new energy. Members are engaged, the staff are empowered, and customers are getting what they want when they need it.