By Terri Roeslmeier | Sunday April 10, 2017
FALL FOR GOOD LOOKS
Great looks don’t necessarily mean a tried & true partner that will take you through the life of your company. Make sure the software has useful features that will have an impact on the day to day operations of your firm. Detail out what you need to accomplish with the new staffing software and make sure that all of your major concerns are addressed. Your list should contain “bread & butter” features. Avoid “pie in the sky” wish list items that no software vendor will have. Please don’t leave the choice to the outside software consultant that you hired. Get involved with the decision.
GET THE CHEAPEST ONE
We all like to save money but as with everything else, you get what you pay for. If you see a vendor’s pricing is far apart from another there has to be a reason why. Usually that reason is that you will not receive the same value. Often there are hidden costs that crop up later. Vendors do offer promotions from time to time but crazy pricing is usually a bad sign. No one can afford to hire expensive developers to continue to improve the product and senior support people that will give you superior service, if they are giving their products and services away. There will be a missing piece somewhere. Why take a chance?
PLUG & PLAY
A successful software installation and data migration takes planning. Put together an internal team that will work with your vendor project manager closely. Choose people that are intimately familiar with day-to-day operations. Do not involve the entire company unless you are very small and everyone is a key player. It is a mistake to hand over implementation and data conversion to someone who does not understand the business need; or leave it to the vendor to make all of your decisions! Important planning will be overlooked and you will be scrambling on live day to get your work done. The foundation is critical. Choices that you make in implementation will be with you throughout the years that you are using the software. Don’t make the mistake thinking that you will get to it “later” when you are less busy. You will never get back to it and if you do it will be more difficult to change. Avoid living with inconveniences. Make good decisions and get it right initially.
SKIMP ON TRAINING
When vendors list training on their proposal they are recommending the minimum number of days you will need in order to learn the software. If you reduce the amount, you will be receiving less than what you need. Every software is different, and feature-rich enterprise level software will have a lot of capability that you will not be able to learn ad-hoc no matter how intuitive the software or even if you have a team of rocket scientists working for you (ok maybe if you have rocket scientists) but no one else! Take the training already. When you invest in new staffing software you are not just paying the software fees. You are acclimating your entire company to a new way of doing business. That’s important enough to make sure you can use it.
SKIP THE POLICY MANUAL
Often over-looked is the Software Policy Manual. This is a short booklet that instructs your team on how you want them to use the software. One all-encompassing e-book for everyone or one for each department works equally well. Your choice should reflect how large your organization is and how tasks are managed. What should it include? Basic workflow on how to use the system for all of the major tasks. Include what codes you want used, what data must be entered (set fields to “required” if your software allows it), and best practices. Don’t forget to include a few pages on rules for social media. It is best to define what can be posted regarding your company on social media before an employee posts something that causes an issue.
NEVER LOOK AT REPORTS
Unless you analyze the data that is being processed in your software solution, you will not have an understanding of how it is being used. Measure use by producing reports by employee so that you can gauge who is using it correctly. Software is supposed to help manage your business and give you information on performance and profitability. Data walks away. Make sure you keep what is yours even if employees leave. If it is not in the system, it didn’t happen.