National Association of Convenience Stores levels-up to PlatformPower

National Association of Convenience Stores

NACS, the National Association of Convenience Stores established in 1961, is the global trade association for the convenience and fuel retailing industry. NACS currently serves its members in more than 50 countries through education and networking opportunities with conferences, webinars, and other events, its award-winning publications, industry research and analysis, advocacy efforts and leadership issues, and additional initiatives.

“We’re a Microsoft shop. When I saw the Protech solution, what won me over were some of the integrations, like being able to email right from the system and have it all tracked. The staff liked the interface, but for me it had to do with integration.”

– Matt Morris, Director, Computer and Network Operations

The Challenge: NACS had used netFORUM Enterprise for a decade, and while the legacy software had been highly customized in an effort to meet basic needs and association demands, numerous motivating factors contributed to their desire to transition to a new system. NACS staff did not find the legacy software to be intuitive, and they had a difficult time performing searches to locate and compile much-needed information. As most organizations aspire to do, NACS wanted to reduce the reliance on the Information Technology department to pull data for staff and to create more of a self-service environment across the organization. Additionally, the system’s inability to adequately handle international currencies limited revenue and growth opportunities for the global trade association. Furthermore, due to netFORUM Enterprise’s lack of available applications and integrations/API’s, NACS relied on custom-developed features to handle many of the technical needs of their organization and had boxed themselves in by over-customizing this proprietary system. With a desire to move away from being so heavily dependent on expensive, custom development, the NACS team was convinced that a change to a cloud-based platform solution would enable them to spend less time on infrastructure and security and more time to focus their efforts on priorities and initiatives central to the mission of the association. 

“A Microsoft platform may evolve, but it’s never going to go away; and so I looked at it from a longevity point of view. There will always be people out there that will support Microsoft products.”

– Gwen Gattsek, Data Services Manager

The Solution: With their desire to move to a cloud-based platformclear, and their feature wish-list identified, NACSbegan looking into new solutions that would meet theneeds of their staff and members alike.

What resonated most with NACS is what they sawduring a demo from Protech’s association platformsolution built on Microsoft Dynamics 365. First, Protechhas a long and proven track record of serving member-based organizations, and Microsoft is a well-esta blished, multi-national corporation whose productsare in ubiquitous use. NACS, in fact, was alreadyutilizing Office 365, Azure, and other Microsoftapplications, and has great confidence in knowing thatthere will always be knowledgeable professionals whocan support this best-in-class software.

NACS staff were familiar with and prefer the Microsoftinterface, and the seamless integration betweenProtech and Microsoft proved to be compelling.“Being able to email members, committees, and othergroups directly from the system and have contactrecords reflecting these activities is what really drewme to Protech and will be a powerful capability for ourorganization”, says Matt Morris, NACS’ Director,Computer and Network Operations. Additionally,Gwen Gattsek, NACS’ Data Services Manager says“while IT was heavily involved in processing datarequests from the old system, individual teammembers can now easily access information andmember data in Protech that is relevant to their rolesand departments, which is a huge lift off of ITs plateand saves our staff a ton of time.”

Ready for the Future: Matt and Gwen recently completed their implementation of the Protech Platform andspeak highly of the implementation process. Gwen points to the Protech implementationteam’s ability to explain aspects of the process in lay terms that are easily understood andthat the Protech implementation team established “a manageable rhythm that I couldfollow”. Sprint sheets were well-organized, and Protech team members helped NACS seethe way forward. She also highlights that the Protech implementation team “rapidly beganto speak NACS”; as they clearly conveyed and demonstrated an understanding of the wayNACS works and their organizational culture and processes. Matt described the “verypatient people” of Protech and was impressed that they could handle in stride the timesthat the NACS team was not in alignment internally. He also emphasized that the Protechimplementation team displayed a willingness to find a common solution to NACS’challenges.

Through its use of Protech and Microsoft, NACS is well-positioned for continued successand growth in supporting the global convenience and fuel retailing industry in its seventhdecade and beyond.  

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