I've been asked on more than one occasion why I pursued the writing and reporting side of publishing, in lieu of the more profitable positions available in display advertising. Aside from the fact that I would have trouble selling climate control systems in Phoenix, the explanation I most frequently offer is "impatience."
In my job, the rewards are rather quickly realized in the form of a completed story or column. By contrast, I once watched as a sales colleague of mine spent nearly a year compiling a media program for a difficult vendor, only to have the client decline at the 11th hour. I can say in all honesty that my reaction to a year-long effort that ultimately turned out to have been an exercise in futility would have been quite different from his simple shrug of the shoulders and a pledge to "get 'em next time." Mine probably would have leaned more toward felonious assault. But I digress.
A lot of that frustrated feeling must be wending its way though several of the state CPA societies, as their multi-year effort to create a shared database with the American Institute of CPAs has basically come to an abrupt halt.
A memo issued last month more or less stated that the parties involved in the ambitious undertaking had fallen short in the due diligence department by drastically underestimating the scope of what was involved.
What was involved was the integration of a large-scale platform from Oracle with the membership systems of some 50 partners. That's not exactly a job I'd entrust to just any consultant, nor would I expect it to be a project without at least several hundred speed bumps.
The problems associated with integrating the Web portals of the various state societies have resulted in what the memo termed "operational inefficiencies." That's restrained boilerplate memo-speak for, "We can't get the **#@!! thing to work."
Four years ago, Shared Services LLC - an entity jointly owned by the AICPA and the State Society Network - was founded with the ultimate goal of allowing members of the various state societies access to membership updates and various discount offers via the then-fledgling CPA2Biz. The strategy received a tepid response, with some of the more vocal state society chiefs claiming that it would open its members up to more marketing ploys and unwanted solicitations than a convention of Fuller Brush salesmen.
Going forward, the institute will continue to avail itself of any advances made on the platform under the umbrella moniker of Member Solutions Partnership. Apparently, the data hurdles encountered by the individual state societies were not huge obstacles for the institute, which doesn't rely on such things as real-time date entry for CPE.
As with any grandiose plan that unfortunately performs like a potato stuffed in a tailpipe, help is available to state societies using the CRM or ERP components of the partnership platform during the transition process, and restitution will be give to the societies that chipped in implementation or reservation fees.
No matter how much or how little patience you're imbued with, you can only wait so long for something to come to fruition. It's only afterwards that you realize some things may not be worth waiting for.
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