Unlikely pair or a match made in heaven?

DateJune 2023

Hands up who felt slightly uncomfortable when ChatGPT secured widespread media coverage several weeks ago? If you started to feel a semblance of panic – if only for a brief moment – then you weren’t alone.

ChatGPT’s entrance to the mainstream consciousness was bittersweet. On one hand, people couldn’t help but marvel at the opportunities it represents. On the other, its arrival came with a degree of uncertainty (and in some cases, triggered a number of insecurities).

Questions such as ‘what does this mean for me and my job?’, or ‘what will happen to entire industries if ChatGPT can be used to do, well, everything?’ were commonplace during a small window of time. So, imagine, then, how those organisations which exist to protect jobs – trade unions – welcomed the news.

Bridging the two

As the architects of a membership management system built on Microsoft’s Dynamics 365, we’re uniquely placed in that we sit somewhere in the middle.

For instance, we’re often commissioned by trade unions to modernise – if not completely transform – their digital infrastructure through running large-scale digital projects that now actually harness artificial intelligence (AI).

This process, which often sees us replace multiple – and often rudimentary - tools that are typically manually managed (and therefore often inconsistent, out of date or simply unused) with one automated membership CRM platform that makes managing large amounts of data a seamless task is now commonplace.

Why? Because trade unions realise the benefits of membership management systems in meeting their overall objectives.

But it wasn’t always like this, though.

Embracing change

Before digital transformation was even a concept, and prior to membership CRM evolving into advanced membership management systems, automating and streamlining some of what would today be classed as the most basic of tools (email communication, replacing posted materials with digital distribution to name but two) was often met with resistance.

Several years ago, a typical meeting that saw us presenting the benefits of membership CRM looked very different from how it does today. These days, organisations looking to buy the best membership management systems want to be wowed with the latest and greatest technology. Its ability to carry out targeted email campaigns and eliminate postage costs is now an unspoken expectation.

Everything evolves

The point is that as technology evolves, so too do the opinions of those who, ultimately, will end up using it. AI is no exception.

Our view is that change always unsettles, initially. As covered, we’ve seen people resist membership management system functionality only to expect it as standard only months later.

Yes, the wider implications of AI must be considered as the technology becomes further integrated with day-to-day life. Yet, we’re only just scratching the surface when it comes to identifying opportunities that help rather than hinder the workforce.

As Kate Dearden, Head of Research at Community says in an article in Tech Monitor, ‘AI, of course, is here to stay. It’d be wrong for us to completely write off AI as a threat to be prevented. We’d only be letting down our members and industries by doing that.” She also goes on to say how, if implemented properly, AI could put more money in their members’ pockets.

So, is AI and trade unions an unlikely pair or match made in heaven? As a business that has the ability to connect the two for the benefit of the trade unions and their members, it’s definitely the latter. As to how long it takes before we truly find out, who knows? But given the rate at which technology is advancing, we don’t think it will be too long.

Is your trade union thinking of investing in a Dynamics 365 membership management system? Looking for digital transformation guidance or to speak with a Dynamics 365 membership management specialist? If so, call us at 01483 409409 or email hello@silverbear.com.

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