How to Choose the Right Job Management Software for Your Company
Choosing the right software for your business is really important. You know you need job management software to stay competitive whilst improving efficiencies. However, deciding which package to choose can be really difficult.
You might be considering working with a developer to create your own bespoke software for your electrical, plumbing, fire or HVAC contracting business, or you might be considering the benefits of a cloud based, off-the-shelf software designed specifically for the trades and services community. This guide should help you break through the jargon and make the right decision for your business.
The most important thing to consider first when choosing software for your company, is what is the exact specification you’re looking for – what exactly do you want the software to be able to do?
The benefit of bespoke software is that you can be really specific about your needs. For example, you might want your developer to create a system that allows you to send contracting jobs to your team via their mobile. However, if you don’t have a clear idea of exactly what you need the software to do, you may encounter problems.
When developers build a bespoke system they’ll require a detailed plan of exactly how everything should work, and once built, the features will be fixed, so it’s really important that you’re clear on your requirements upfront.
Cloud based applications, such as simPRO, are tried, tested and built on the demands of your industry. You might not be able to tailor the software to your exact requirements, however in most cases nowadays, software is flexible enough to meet the majority of your demands and drive your company forward.
Consider how your business will change over time, and how you’ll need your software to adapt to these changes. Cloud based software companies like simPRO will always evolve and adapt their systems based on feedback and changes within the marketplace. Adding new features helps them to retain and attract new customers, so you can be sure that your software is always fine-tuned and up to date with the latest.
Bespoke web and mobile applications can be tailored to your exact business needs, but if you suddenly decide to add another feature later down the line, you will incur additional costs to pay for a developer. Beware that extra features, depending on their complexity, cannot be added overnight, so speak to your developer prior to committing and find out the cost of future changes as well as an estimated timeframe.
As technology is constantly evolving, it’s important to consider how you want your software to interact with other applications. For example, cloud based software Apps have the versatility to speak to accountancy programs such as Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks Online, enabling you to export all customers, suppliers and invoices to your accounting system, which in the long run will save you time inputting the same information into multiple systems. The software will also be regularly updated, so changes in external applications will not affect the cloud based software’s ability to interact with them.
Bespoke software also allows you to add this interaction with other software, however you need to be clear on the applications you want the system to interact with when briefing your developer. Bear in mind that the way software accepts information from other programs is constantly changing, so you need to make sure your developer can allow for this when building the system.
Getting a great software upfront is really important but the ongoing support you receive afterwards is just as valuable. Once implemented, the software will really affect how your business runs day-to-day. Cloud based software is often paid with monthly subscriptions, and comes with ongoing IT support so you can rest assured that, if your software is not performing, you have someone on hand to get it back up and running quickly.
With bespoke software, make sure you have a good maintenance contract in place. This is often charged as an additional extra on top of the one-off cost for development, so get a quote upfront and look closely at what this includes so you can make sure that performance issues can be cleared up quickly.
Last but not least, make sure the developer has time for you after the App is ready to launch! If they’re quickly moving on to their next job, software issues that may arise afterwards might not be their top priority, so discuss this upfront before you commit.
Safety and security
Ensure that the security and performance of your system meets your needs on a daily basis. If you choose bespoke software, take into account the implications with the hardware you use and your company’s network. With job management software, your engineers should be able to receive jobs on their phone. To do this you will need to open your company network to the wider world. Your developer should be able to reassure you in terms of hardware specifications but you need to ensure reliability and protection if a hacker was to enter your system.
As hacking attacks are constantly evolving, you must be able to monitor your systems constantly and update your security as required. If you haven’t got the resources in-house, include ongoing security as part of your maintenance contract and make sure that your developer has the skills and resources to keep up to date with the latest threats.
The same applies when looking at cloud based, off-the-shelf software. Speak to the company behind it and double check that they keep their software up to date and secured against the latest threats. You know how important your clients’ data is, so it’s your responsibility to keep it well protected.
Unsurprisingly, bespoke software is often more expensive, due to the time and energy invested to cater for your very specific business needs. It isn’t just a one-off upfront cost, as maintenance and support will be an additional payment each month. Cloud software is often much more affordable, as you simply pay a monthly subscription to cover both the implementation and ongoing support for the software.
As you might have gathered, there are many factors that could drive your decision when choosing the right software for your business. However, whether your main concern is cost, flexibility or customer support, what is key is that the software you choose should really improve productivity, reduce administration, and increase your bottom line.
If you are after a reliable, proven trade services software simPRO is one of the best there is. Take control of estimating, job costing, purchasing and labour management. simPRO can take you from paper based or multiple systems to a single software package for all your needs including licence alerts, plant and equipment servicing and stock control.
Platinum Consultants have the most experienced staff in Australia! We have been implementing simPRO for trade customers since 2008! Talk to us directly for the best price, best service and most experienced simPRO consultants in Australia. Get an honest opinion about whether simpro could benefit your company.