Provided by Spillman Technologies, a Motorola Solutions Company.
If you’ve been through a software implementation before, you know the drill. You’re geared up, feeling on top of the world, and ready to use your new software to better your processes and daily life on the job. Maybe the implementation itself even goes smoother than expected. No major crisis has come up. You’re ahead of the game. Everyone is excited for the new technology!
And then it’s over. Implementation is complete, along with all of the communication, training, and extra support that comes with it. This may not be a problem for the first bit. However, as soon as you come across a question, bug, or even just need a refresher on how to complete a report in the system, this is going to affect you as a user as well as your agency as a whole.
Many agencies across the country experience similar situations after implementation. Picking a software provider for its product and innovation is key, but it’s not the ONLY factor to consider. As a public safety professional, you must also consider what your relationship with the vendor will look like after implementation. When general questions arise, the software is updated, or new products are purchased, it is important that answers are available right when you need them. Does your vendor set you up for success during critical moments with services that are robust and consistent enough for you and your agency to rely on?
Below are five areas to consider that go beyond typical implementation support and could help set your agency up for success for years to come.
1.Reliable Technical Support
In your job as a public safety professional, you can be faced with life and death situations on a daily basis. This doesn’t leave much room for poor communication or technical problems that can take days or even weeks to resolve. You need a technical support team behind you that is consistently available to handle issues as they arise in a quick and professional manner. Many software providers will offer technical support, but it is worth the extra effort to find a provider that goes above and beyond by offering 24/7 support that can be reached either by phone, email, or online chats. In addition, finding a vendor that can provide both quick help for basic problems as well as skilled technicians who are trained in specific areas of the software will help your agency get the help you need during more specialized issues. It’s also beneficial to have access to an online portal you can log in to and submit or track support tickets.
2. Online Tools and Trainings
In our digital age, information about any subject is available in a matter of seconds and can be accessed from just about anywhere. This same kind of process should be available for you and your coworkers as you go about your daily routes or tasks. An online learning system is an affordable way to access instructional articles, videos, or other materials right when you need them. Because these systems are online, they can be accessed using any device with an internet connection and web browser, providing a more flexible and ongoing learning experience for everyone.
3. Online Forums and Communities
Your public safety software vendor is not the only one who can provide you with valuable knowledge and insight into your software. Many times it’s easier to understand a solution that’s been implemented somewhere else, at another agency like yours. That’s where online forums and communities can be an incredible benefit to your agency as you navigate your new (or old) software system. These platforms give you the opportunity to share ideas and best practices with other users who may have been using the software longer than your agency and know how to best maximize the system to meet similar needs in their communities.
4. Additional Onsite Trainings
Sometimes the best training you can receive is face to face with expert trainers. This is pretty common during an implementation process, but what about after the fact? Software vendors that provide continuous onsite trainings foster a healthier relationship with their customer agencies because they work harder to guarantee that each participant will learn and retain the information needed to use the software effectively. These trainings often allow you to practice what you learn in a safe, simulated environment, rather than having to learn in a live database. Plus, bringing the training to you helps your agency save time and money on travel expenses.
5. Annual Users’ Conferences
Many software providers put on annual or semi-regular users’ conferences, which can provide your agency with additional training opportunities and face-to-face interaction with developers and engineers that work in your software on a daily basis. These conferences can be the perfect opportunity to bring any questions or concerns that you have about how your agency is utilizing the software to the people who are most qualified to help. You can also see first-hand any new products that your software vendor is offering that could further improve your workflows and processes. And in between it all, you can benefit from the exciting activities and networking opportunities that typically come with these larger events.
When it comes to supporting your software, don’t overlook the “bells and whistles” that a public safety software vendor offers. Some problems or questions require immediate assistance from a trained professional while some are better suited for an online search or peer advice. Agencies that have selected a vendor with a larger range of services are better prepared to handle whatever their work day throws at them.
Jessica Barker is a marketing writer for Spillman Technologies, a Motorola Solutions Company, which provides public safety software specializing in true software integration and unrivaled customer success for RMS, CAD, JMS, Mobile, and Analytics solutions.