“Before signing the PO for new software, you’re in the honeymoon stage. Promises are made and everything is warm and fuzzy,” says Mike Pratt, maintenance and reliability expert and CMRP. “However, once the PO is signed, the honeymoon is over and reality sets in. Now you get to see the true colors of your fiancé (the organization who sold you the software) and if they’ll follow through on their promises.”
Therefore, it’s critical to properly investigate your fiancé before saying, “I do.” Assuming that you already have top management support (parents’ approval), start the investigation process with a reference check. References reveal lots about the software and its organization.
After references check out, look beyond the software and find out who will be supporting you, your team, and the marriage:
Are salespeople tech-savvy? Are questions answered quickly without having to call in other resources? How long have they been using and selling the software? What qualifications do they possess within your industry?
- Salespeople that are tech-savvy, familiar with your industry, and know how to use and sell the software save time and prevent headaches. They quote you on only what you need, nothing more and nothing less. Skilled salespeople reflect the organization and how you’ll be treated in the future.
- Trainers & Implementors
Who will train users and help implement the software? How long have they been using the software and training others on it? What are their qualifications within your industry?
- Qualified trainers and implementors that know the software and your industry make training and implementation sessions more fruitful and palatable, leaving end-users happy. When end-users are happy, they’re more apt to feel comfortable and confident with the new software and take full advantage of the benefits that it has to offer.
- Technical Support
Who will answer questions about using the software? How long will it take to connect to someone? Will you connect to a live person? Is Technical Support local or outsourced? What methods (phone, email, chat, etc.) are available for submitting questions? What is the average response time for each method? How long have they been supporting the software? What are their qualifications within your industry?
- A technical support team that is smart, friendly, easy-to-reach, quick-to-respond, and customer-focused enhances the end-user experience exponentially. And when end-users are happy, they maximize the ROI on software investments.
- Enhancement Requests
How are enhancements requests processed? Are they even tracked in the 1st place?
- A company that cares about perfecting their software cares about customer feedback. Hence, they have an enhancement request approval process letting you know when requests have been received, approved, declined, and / or scheduled for release. And there’s nothing like seeing one of your requests in a release!
- Enhancement Requests
- Software Development
Is the goal of the prospective development team to make software simple and easy-to-use and understand? Does the software make end-user jobs easier?
- If yes, then you have won the jackpot! If no, then productivity may get lost.
Does the company possess certifications for developing against various hardware and / or software platforms?
- When a company maintains its software development certifications, you can feel confident they have the most up to date industry knowledge and best practices for creating successful solutions.
- Release Frequency
How frequent are new releases?
- New releases share improvements and the latest technologies with you. Simply asking about the release frequency tells you a lot about the company. Will you have to wait months or years for the next release?
- Release Frequency
In-House or Outsourced?
- When software is built in-house, software developers have a direct line of communication to the product’s stakeholders, allowing for an agile response to ever-changing business needs.
- Mobile Apps / Barcode Solutions
Have you seen a live demo of the company’s mobile app / barcode solution?
- Many times, companies say they have a mobile app or a barcode solution, but won’t demonstrate it and show you that it actually works. When a company has an amazing mobile app or barcoding solution, they’re happy, eager, and proud to share it to you.
- User Conferences
Does the prospective software company host user conferences?
- If yes, the company is customer-driven and cares about their customers and their feedback.
- Shared Knowledge
How is software knowledge shared?
- If the company sends out monthly tips on how to use their software and has a knowledge base within its software package, then this is a good sign that they care about their customers and their end-user experience.
In summary, ask the right questions before saying, “I do.” Make sure that the software organization that you select will properly support you, your organization, and their software to ensure ongoing software success (a happily ever after marriage).
And if you’re looking for amazing CMMS software and an amazing software organization to partner with, we’re ready to commit! 🙂
Contact Us today for more information!
About CMMS Data Group