AE Program Update: RAMCO simplifies installation, boosts training, revises pricing

With its first full year under its belt, RAMCO announced it is revising its implementation package plan, updating the fee structure, and expanding its training staff. RAMCO is an association management software system developed as a project of the Association Executives Council of NAR to meet the specific, unique needs of the executives and staff of REALTOR® associations and multiple listing services.

“We’ve really learned a lot during our first year on the market,” says Rob Authier, CEO of the Massa-chusetts Association of REALTORS® and RAMCO Project Team co-chair. “Plus, we’ve received some very positive and constructive input from our first group of association customers.”

The team’s review at the NAR Conference in Anaheim resulted in the data conversion and training packages being consolidated down to three from the original five. Eliminated were the two upper end standard source package brackets for 200 to 500,000 member records and “over 500,000” member records.  Authier says customer feedback and a thorough review of the actual work involved in data conversions were major factors in making the changes.

“Since RAMCO is cloud-based and has unlimited data storage, once you had the old system’s data mapped into RAMCO, it didn’t really matter how many records were converted and uploaded,” says Travis Kessler, CEO of the Texas Association of REALTORS® and RAMCO co-chair.

RAMCO leaders also quickly agreed with their customers that training should not be limited to a predetermined number of hours. “Some people simply learn more quickly, while some need a little more time to master something new,” says Kessler. Un-limited training is now available to all current and future customers.

Another major initiative is that RAMCO has assumed responsibility for all training and implementation management, a move that frees up development partner Cobalt to concentrate solely on data conversions, installations, and feature development.

For RAMCO that meant hiring and training six new training/implementation managers in -December—
many with REALTOR® association management experience and management software backgrounds.

“We wanted our customers to learn to use -RAMCO to truly manage their associations, not just the icons to click to get a report,” says the third of RAMCO’s three co-chairs, Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®, Calif., CEO Jim Link, adding, “These new trainers will mean more individualized attention and a much better implementation experience for everyone.”

Authier says the review also revealed that the original time and resource estimates for data conversion and system configuration were too low compared with the actual hours spent.  The combined cost of increasing those hours and bringing on additional trainers resulted in the need for revising the prices on the new packages.

Although the new packages and fee structure took effect on -January 1, the implementation fees for the 104 association and MLS customers who applied prior to December 31, 2011, will be honored, says RAMCO Project Manager Gar Anderson. Post-installation monthly user fees remain unchanged.  

“I think these changes underscore two specific RAMCO objectives,” says Authier, “The first is that we’re very sensitive to our customers needs, because as AEs we are our own customers. And second, because we operate at break-even, our pricing must cover the actual costs of providing ourselves with such an incredibly powerful management tool.”

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