Questions You Should Ask When Choosing Data Collection Software
Adopting a new mobility software solution can be a big commitment for any business, and it is important to understand your firm’s alignment with a particular provider before taking the plunge. Getting the information you need often depends on asking the right questions. Here are some key questions to ask in choosing the right digital provider for your business:
1. Can I configure the software to support our business processes and workflow?
Taking on new technologies shouldn’t mean reinventing the wheel. You have put time and effort into developing your own business processes and designing a workflow to make sure these processes are streamlined. Any new software solution you adopt should interact seamlessly with your current processes – working to enhance efficiency and reduce redundancy in all areas of your business.
2. Is the cost worth the investment given the size of my firm?
Whenever you invest in a new software solution, it is important to keep ROI in mind. When purchasing assets for your construction business such as new tools, plant, or safety equipment, you expect to get a financial benefit from the purchase. The same is true for tech purchases. Consider the size of your business, any plans for future growth, and have a firm idea of the amount you intend to invest in new tech solutions, and the return you can expect from this investment.
It can be difficult to guarantee return on investment from a large enterprise solution. Consider starting small - identifying an acute pain point and finding an affordable and simple solution and will lead to quicker and more measurable results.
3. What level of support will my team need, and what does the vendor offer?
When implementing a new solution, you should have a clear idea how long it will take for your team to become productive in using it. You are best placed to know the skills and weaknesses of your team, and you will know the areas where your people will be able to rapidly take on new tools, and the areas in which they may need extra support. A good vendor will be willing and able to support you in getting up and running with your new software. Key features include a simple and intuitive User interface, comprehensive and accessible FAQs, and a responsive support process.
The support process should be quick, and available through multiple channels of communication, which leads to question 4:
4. How easy and quick is communication with the vendor?
Communication is often identified as a major source of potential issues in business software development. It is vital that your provider knows how to communicate effectively. Consider:
- How easy will it be to approach the vendor with questions?
- How long will it take to get a response?
- What options are available for reaching my vendor (email, phone calls, chatbot)?
If your vendor offers a trial period, consider testing their support process during this period to make sure you get a quick, useful answer.
Requests for proposals are usually driven by sales teams, and it is common for clients to encounter a very responsive team, dedicated to answering all their questions. You need to know whether this level of response will continue when you move to day-to-day use of the product. Look at your vendors ‘Business as Usual’ support process and establish how quickly they get back to you, and how effective their answers are in solving your problems. A good vendor will be easy to reach through multiple channels, or one proven-effective channel; and will show the ability both to listen actively to your needs and concerns and to convey accurately the capabilities and challenges of their product.
5. Do they have proven expertise within my industry?
Every industry has unique needs, challenges, and expectations. Issues identified in the construction industry include site safety, project delays (often due to changes in scope), an aging workforce, and a wide variety of different technologies among General Contractors. An ideal vendor will be aware of these issues and identify ways in which their solution can address them, or at the very least not exacerbate them. If your vendor has done previous work with other construction firms you may wish to contact those firms for references as to the efficacy of their products and services.
6. How frequently can I expect updates?
Regular software updates are important to ensure the security and ongoing effectiveness of your systems. Responsible developers are aware that new security risks are always arising in the world of software, and regular updates are a key way of combating potential new risks. Updates can also provide new features for your software package or increase the efficacy of existing ones.
Your vendor should have a strategy for updates and be able to effectively provide them - you should expect small releases on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. These updates will deliver new features any issues raised and pro-actively resolve security concern.
7. Does your provider have a security strategy?
As noted above, security is always a concern when using software solutions for business. A comprehensive approach to software security will include well-tested infrastructure, regular updates, secure hosting, and a proactive approach to backups. It may also include a specific plan for cybersecurity.
You are storing your company’s data on a system that you do not control. You need to be confident that it is in safe hands. All your online service providers should adhere to internet information security best practices. Make sure you understand how they keep your data confidential (stopping others from seeing you data), what they do to protect its integrity (stopping it being corrupted), and whether they will be able to meet you availability expectations (also known as uptime). The process falls within a standard risk management framework, and you should be able to easily work through any specific risks that you may have with your service provider if their documentation does not cover it.
A good vendor will be able to answer your security questions with detailed plans to deal with possible risks.
For more information, or if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!