Friday, October 22, 2010

What’s the Deal with Licensing Body Software?


This is a term that I’ve only recently just come across but in a nutshell:

“Licensing bodies need to measure and attest to competence, respond to complaints and problems, annotate member files with credits for ongoing education and the like, and renew various licenses, registrations, member lists and state-required reports.” 

Licensing body software or association management software, is a product that manages all the details of a licensing organization.

Here is more information about some of the industries and details about how licensing bodies work.

pie chart

What Is Licensing Body Software?   by Jeff Burns

Licensing bodies are organizations that support and protect the public interest at the same time that they serve the members of specific professions. The Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), for instance, licenses engineers, processes, services and software related to the tools that compress movie files into smaller sizes for display on iPods and cell phones. Any group with licensure power, for professionals ranging from cosmeticians to pilots, is a licensing body, although it may have any number of other responsibilities and agendas.

Today, the majority of the populace knows what software is, even though licensing body software is not a product most people will buy at the local computer mart along with their word processing program. At the dawn of the computer era, when the majority of programs used by businesses and professional groups was custom-made, there were various kinds of specialized databases and customer service programs written for proprietary use. Once the software industry blasted into cyberspace (and everyone’s home) in the 1990s, off-the-shelf database programs began to proliferate, for licensing bodies and everyone else (this is how association management software evolved).

A hybrid approach

For licensing bodies to properly regulate their professions and their members, license holders must meet both an initial set of requirements and continue to be certified by the organization(s). Managing a constantly updating mass of information on increasing numbers of people is a daunting task, and since the public interest is involved you must have absolute confidence that your have a flexible, powerful, legally vetted means of doing so. Licensing bodies need to measure and attest to competence, respond to complaints and problems, annotate member files with credits for ongoing education and the like, and renew various licenses, registrations, member lists and state-required reports.

Fact is, if you are an executive of a licensing body, you may have used, and may still be using, some sort of flat-file or relational database program to run your group. Perhaps you have even been able to customize it a bit. However, it is clear that a newer approach is superior, a hybrid approach that builds on the solid foundation of proven software technology and results in a highly customized product specifically fitted to the need of licensing bodies.



The way up

There are few licensing body software packages available, and the leaders of the pack will be easy enough to locate with a Web search. What should you look for? You need to look for one that was specifically developed for the requirements of membership organizations that certify and/or license professional members. In addition, you should ensure that any software package you consider includes best practices from leading membership organizations from around the country and the world. You need a comprehensive solution; one that has been designed by people who know the ins and outs of licensing bodies, and has the expertise to assure its members, the public and state officials that its records are correct and secure.

Even then, industry best practices are just the beginning of licensing body software development. Every organization has unique, mission-critical requirements, as well as working methods that have proven integral to its ongoing success. You certainly do not need a licensing body application that requires you to change your methodology or working behaviors merely to use it. The top vendors in this highly specialized field know that dependable, predictable solutions need to fit the existing nature of existing organizations. Therefore, you should consider which software solution is flexible and malleable enough to fit your group’s working environment and management style.

Bottom line

When a licensing body solution is correctly developed and implemented, it will provide you the latest technology, the current best practices of your industry, a mature approach to customized operations, a means of improving staff efficiency and a way to maximize the positive experience of the group, its members and the public at large. You will not get this kind of solution from a generalized software vendor (specialized association management software is required), or at the local computer mart.

Association management software solutions require years of experience (in licensing bodies, state government operations, corporate management and a wide range of industries) on the part of developers, managers and support staff. Those years of experience, and specific expertise in the operation of licensing bodies, goes into these packages. Your organization needs to maintain efficient operations internally, while providing both oversight and service to members; this is a serious, involved process. Licensing body software has evolved to provide you a potent mix of efficiency and service. Do not even consider licensing body software that does not meet this high standard.

Alinity is a leading enterprise targeted at mid to large sized licensing bodies who look to provide exceptional services online and ensure their leadership in their industry. For more information about their association management software visit them at


I hope you enjoyed this article!

~ Michele


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