Effective law enforcement relies on speed and accuracy – both from the members of your department and the information they require to do their jobs safely and effectively. There are no do-overs in this business, and timing is everything -- emergencies wait for no one. It’s essential to supply your team with the right combination of tools and technology to get the job done right. Choosing the right RMS can be vital to helping you achieve that goal.
While there are countless RMS solutions on the market, they won’t all be the best fit for your agency. If you’re hoping to make the process less painful and more productive, you need to ensure you’re asking the right questions.
1) What Do We Need?
Before shopping for an RMS solution, you need to outline your agency’s needs and a list of clear project guidelines. It’s a good idea to solicit member feedback, and many agencies choose to include the program’s end-users in the exploratory process.
Start by assessing your current solution’s shortfalls and noting the processes that need improvement. Perhaps the current system is painfully slow or tends to crash without warning. Or maybe, the solution works as promised, but lacks the critical features needed to bring your department into the 21st century. These are all easy-to-address problems, but if you don’t take the time to identify them, you risk overlooking details that could help cut down on administrative processes or significantly reduce response times.
2) How Much Can We Afford?
Now that you’ve ironed out the details and settled on your list of must-haves, it’s time to crunch numbers. When deciding on your budget, it’s important to think in terms of gains versus losses. For example, how much can you save as opposed to what you’re spending now?
When looking at costs, you should also consider whether to host your system on premises or in the cloud. Cloud-based solutions offer a number of advantages. Cost savings on infrastructure and maintenance alone can more than make up for the yearly subscription price. Consider the amount of storage taken up by in-building systems, as well as the utilities used to keep these areas up and running.
Aside from equipment costs, cloud software also allows you to shed expensive service contract costs and free up personnel while enabling 24/7 access to IT maintenance and support.
3) Does This Solution Address Our Existing Issues and Account for Future Demands?
Customization is a popular buzzword among providers. Yet, if you look closely, you’ll see that highly configurable systems look relatively the same from agency to agency. If your requirements change in the future, will your vendor provide dynamic front-end reconfiguration to help manage your growing demands?
The same rings true for claims of futureproofing. All cloud-based solutions offer updates; however, many companies charge an additional fee for this service. Add in the cost of upgrades, and you could be looking at a sizeable bill. Rather than pay extra for a newer version of the same software, look for a solution provider that includes both regular updates and total platform upgrades in your system’s annual cost.
Remember, when evaluating the solution’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s imperative to leave no stone unturned. After spending all this time on planning and fund allocation, the last thing you’ll want it a hyped-up version of ordinary and a lingering case of buyer’s remorse.
4) Is the Solution Provider a Good Fit?
Aligning your mission with that of your service providers may be easier than you think. When meeting with vendors, it’s imperative to consider the company’s background and reputation.
Equally important is your vendor’s understanding of law enforcement. Does your account manager and software development team really understand the job? If not, you may have a difficult time explaining why certain functions are critical, and why issues cannot wait days to be resolved.
At the minimum, your service provider should be able to supply you with straightforward and satisfactory answers to the following questions:
- How many of your customers mirror my agency’s size and capabilities?
- What features do you include with this service and which options are considered add-ons?
- What level of training and support does your company provide its customers?
- How will we migrate my existing data to this new solution?
- How long does the average set up and deployment process take?
The best time to evaluate your resources is before you need them. Barring any extenuating circumstances, you should begin planning your RMS purchase 6 to 12 months in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to gain staff input and anticipate any barriers to purchase.
If you’d like to learn more about how the right RMS can help streamline your operations and save you time, Omnigo can help. We’re happy to assist you in finding the perfect software solution for your department.