Everyone at AEI was left with many questions about the new NAR / RAMCO Association Management System. Here are some questions we posed to the RAMCO team and answers received:
What is the RAMCO endeavor, in short?
The mission of the REALTOR Association Membership Cooperative shall be to work cooperatively with all REALTOR Associations and REALTOR Multiple Listing Services that choose to participate to create, provide support for and manage a comprehensive membership data solution that fulfills the changing needs of the REALTOR organization, allows flexibility for the diverse management requirements of its members, and reduces ongoing membership system and development costs.
Why was this endeavor engaged in?
RAMCO follows the request of AEs across the country who desire more responsiveness to their ongoing AMS needs as well as greater financial control of their management system expenditures.
What’s been decided at this point?
REALTOR Association Management System Cooperative (RAMCO) has selectedCobalt as the platform from which the new Internet based association management system will be developed. As part of the agreement, Cobalt will no longer independently provide its association management system to REALTOR associations, MLSs, or Institute, Society, and Council members.
How and why was Cobalt chosen?
Last Fall, the RAMCO Project team established a set of baseline requirements, existing AMS vendors were surveyed as to their interest in and ability to meet these baseline criteria. A team of REALTOR Association Tech Directors formulated a “Features and Functionality List” and every Tech Director nationwide registered in NRDS was surveyed to determine which of these features they currently had access to and which features they would use if they were made available. Of the associations meeting all the RAMCO Project Team requirements, Cobalt came out on top. A proposal was placed before the RAMCO Project team in Quebec City and after much discussion was approved.
When was this started?
The RAMCO Project Team, formed following the recommendations of previous work groups researching the association management system issue, has been in place for more than a year and is continuing to develop system features and functionality.
When will it be launched?
State and local REALTOR associations, REALTOR MLSs, and Institutes, Societies, and Councils may choose to participate in the cooperative when it is launched in early 2011.
What needs to be added to this AMS? Cobalt has already been selling to Associations for years – what’s going to take until 2011?
183 Features and Functions were identified and prioritized by our REALTOR Association Tech Directors. Additional features were added by the AEs attending three Focus Group sessions in Quebec City. The Cobalt system as it exists today is only the base from which the RAMCO system is being built. Except for three Pilot Associations, it is the intent of RAMCO to only release a fully functioning product.
What are the project risks and, if any, how are they being mitigated?
The success of RAMCO will largely depend upon the ability of our REALTOR Associations to own and operate a successful Cooperative. Based on our current leadership team and the management skills of our AEs and Technical Staff nationwide, this should not be a significant problem.
So, is this “NAR’s AMS” or “RAMCO’s AMS”?
RAMCO will be owned and operated by the members of the Cooperative. NAR will be a member of the Cooperative.
Who’s paying for RAMCO, the Cobalt source code, the customization, etc.?
NAR has purchased exclusive source code rights for the real estate industry and has agreed to pay for the customization identified in the “Gap Analysis”. Once the Cooperative takes control it will be responsible for its own budgets as determined by the RAMCO Board of Directors.
Who’s involved in RAMCO and in what roles?
Rob Authier, Jim Link and Travis Kessler are the three co-chairs of the RAMCO Project Team. Gar Anderson is the NAR staff coordinator working with Doug Hinderer, Mark Lesswing, Bob Goldberg, Laurie Janik, Katie Raynolds, Chris DeRosa, Mike Cutlip and Constance Freedman. The RAMCO Project Team consists of fifteen State, Local and MLS AEs and Tech Directors.
What kind of company is RAMCO? Is this a for-profit endeavor?
RAMCO’s approved bylaws call for a not-for-profit Cooperative owned and operated by its user members. It’s budget will be controlled by the RAMCO Board of Directors.
Will it have all the features my current AMS has? What new features should I get excited about?
According to the responses received from our nations Tech Directors, the RAMCO AMS will have 71 features that two-thirds of the 54 associations responding do not have available to them today but wish to employ. This fact alone will place the RAMCO AMS well ahead of anything currently on the market.
Who owns the source code?
NAR purchased the source code for all REALTOR Associations, MLSs and IS&Cs and will give RAMCO exclusive rights to the code once the Cooperative has been legally established.
Who’s going to host this? Where?
An RFP is being sent to interested hosting parties for approval by the RAMCO Project Team.
Will co-op accounting be available to all co-op members?
As with any of our Member Associations, what is disseminated will be at the decision of the RAMCO Board of Directors.
It’s a co-op right? Then how do I join? Can I get involved somehow now?
The RAMCO Project team will soon approve an on-line application to be used by future RAMCO owners.
Additional details will be provided following the RAMCO project team meeting on May 10th at the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
You may contact Gar Anderson <firstname.lastname@example.org> or RAMCO leadership.
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