If your agency has ever put together a "wishlist" for a case management system, whether through an RFP process or a less formalized process, you know it can be difficult to capture all of your needs. Unfortunately, there are some items that don’t end up in these types of documents very often, because they’re subjective – but they’re extremely important. In fact, some of these items are more likely to impact how good of a job a case management system will do for your team than most of the features you would include on an RFP. Here are three factors that we’ve seen ruin an agency’s experience with a case management system.
Too much "stuff"
Case management systems that are designed to support any type of agency look great on paper. Because they need to serve so many different needs, they meet the feature requirements of most RFPs. The experience can sour pretty quickly, however, once the system is procured and installed. The same features that look great on paper (and that increased the cost of the product) have to be actively ignored by your team. That’s because the majority of options in the software aren’t relevant to your team, but they’re still there – junking up menus, slowing down the system and making it confusing to use. If you’ve ever had to use a slow system with a cumbersome interface, you know how frustrating it can be.
Support that fails at supporting your team
You can easily write ‘support’ into a contract. The quality of that support is more difficult to quantify – and this is where many technology companies fail. A well-supported system is kept up-to-date with new operating systems and ‘middleware’ such as advances in database technology. It is also periodically updated with new features relevant to your agency, keeping your capabilities up-to-date without requiring a system overhaul or new procurement process. Finally, when you do need help, you look forward to talking with the team’s support staff, rather than dreading it.
Changes that cost a fortune, or never come at all
Despite the best-laid plans, most teams discover after procurement that certain things need to be tweaked in order for the system to really deliver. Often, teams quickly discover that tweaking the system is much more difficult than was alluded to in contract negotiations – making them feel ‘locked-in’ to their new systems less than three months after they’ve started using it. The most expensive and expansive products are generally the most complicated to tweak, because one change can impact so many other aspects of the software. They’re also less likely to be agile when it comes to quickly implementing changes, because the companies reflect their software – too large to be focused.
To learn more about how CMTS can help your investigative agency maximize your impact, call us at 919.600.5102 or email us at Team_CMTS@WingSwept.com.