Blog Articles

Using a composable tech stack to transform member experiences

Summary: Association websites can often resemble a “Frankenstack” of old, outdated, and poorly-implemented technologies. One way to avoid the nightmare is to explore a composable approach that allows for greater long-term flexibility.

According to a recent study done by Association Laboratory, over 50%  of associations name investment in new technology among their top 10 key concerns in 2024. That’s not surprising given the reliance upon different web tools to serve member audiences accustomed to on-demand services: member portals, ecommerce, LMS, community platforms…the list goes on. 

Without the proper strategy, assembling these tools often results in a “Frankenstack” of bolted-on platforms that provide a less-than-ideal user experience. The key is to examine each piece of the puzzle, how it connects, and if it’s indeed the right choice for your organization. A composable approach helps avoid the mess, and keeps your association future-focused.

What is a composable stack?

Unlike traditional DXPs that have built-in features and functions that are tightly integrated, a composable DXP uses a modular approach. This allows associations to assemble best-in-class platforms—event management, digital asset management, LMS, CRM, etc.—via APIs to create a customized digital ecosystem that fits their needs.

So instead of investing in a single platform that might come with a bunch of features you’ll never use, you compose your own, bringing in only the parts you need.

What platforms can associations integrate into their composable stack?

Perhaps a better question is, what can’t they? Composable platforms are by nature API-driven, meaning that they can connect with any other platform with the proper APIs. Here are a few: 

  • Member portal experience — Members want to log in once and achieve multiple goals: communicate with peers, register for events, find resources, and more. Though these functions may still be housed on different platforms, uniting them in one place with singular UX will go a long way in member satisfaction. With composable, you have the freedom to select the member portal experience most suited to your needs and provide a delightful, self-service experience

  • Digital asset management — From images to downloads, associations have a big library of assets to wrangle. Unifying them all in a cohesive digital asset management platform (DAM) will make your team’s lives easier when organizing and finding what they need. Some composable platforms even have a DAM built in!

  • Single sign-on — Integrating single sign-on tools is a no-brainer way to give members a seamless experience. Because you're integrating multiple platforms that have multiple uses, the risk for a disjointed experience is high. SSO eliminates the frustration of needing multiple logins for different platforms.

  • Association Management System (AMS) — Efficient for you, empowering for your members, being able to integrate your AMS directly into your composable stack streamlines operations from both ends.

And while it's not an API-driven integration necessarily, having a well-defined design system to unite your core and integrated platforms goes a long way in creating a smooth experience for members (especially if you have an SSO integration). For associations, it also helps maintain brand integrity across multiple chapter sites, which is another obvious symptom of a Frankenstack.

How CREW Network adopted composable technology

CREW Network, an international women’s real estate association with over 55 chapters, recognized the need to overhaul their entire tech approach in order to empower their team, better serve their members, and maintain brand integrity. Working with Reason One, they chose a headless, composable approach that provides long-term flexibility across all their digital channels.

Read about CREW Network's composable approach here.

Watch the quick behind-the-scenes demo of CREW Network's website in Storyblok below!

Curious about composable?

Reason One works with a variety of composable platforms, purposefully matching each with our clients' needs through platform evaluation.

Get in touch to learn more.