Most companies have a fragmented collection of productivity applications: task management, time tracking, resource planning, expense tracking, CRM, spreadsheets, calendars, file repositories, and more. This outdated approach leads to data redundancy, disconnected data, and the potential for inaccurate, or out of date data. Plus, it’s difficult for employees to find the information they need.
Modern work management software seeks to solve these problems, and has the potential to add an enormous amount of value to your organization. For one, it is much easier to see the big picture and gain insights into how different data points are connected. Second, everyone at your company only needs to be trained on one software application. Lastly, your employees will be able to easily locate the information they need—and do it more quickly. Ultimately, your company will become organized & connected like never before.
However, finding the right work management software can seem like a daunting task, with over 700+ options to choose from. Your search for a new solution can be simplified if you focus on these 4 questions:
1) What kind of setup and on-boarding is provided?
Let’s face it—moving to a new solution can be disruptive. Many software vendors offer setup and on-boarding services which can help you transition to a new tool. However, most companies that offer these services will charge a hefty on-boarding fee—sometime mandatory. Fortunately, there are companies that do this free of charge. If you find a solution that doesn’t offer any kind of setup and on-boarding services, then we recommend looking elsewhere. You will likely end up regretting it in the long run.
2) What level of ongoing support can you expect?
Having access to ongoing support is extremely important. Consider this: you pay for an expensive set up and on-boarding package, then realize you have more questions. With some providers you are 100% on your own. Online documentation will only get you so far. And, canned email responses from an outsourced customer support center aren’t very helpful. Plus, any new hires you make will need to be trained on how to use your work management solution. If you’ve already completed your one-time on-boarding package, then it will be up to you to train them. Our recommendation is to find a software vendor that offers unlimited, and free, customer support. Sometimes there’s nothing more valuable than being able to speak with a real person when you have questions. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a solution that offers free live training (usually via video conference). At Ravetree, we’ve found that our customers love being able to schedule short video conferences where they can share their screen and have one of our representatives answer their questions.
3) Does it have everything you need?
Work management solutions exist to bring together all of the different productivity tools used by the entire organization. These can include task management, expense tracking, file repositories, and more. Some tools, such as accounting software, are typically outside the domain of most work management solutions, as they are only used by a few people within the company. We recommend staying away from solutions that also include general ledger accounting, as most of these solutions are often loathed by the people that have to use them (except maybe the accountants and CFO). I’ve had numerous conversations with companies that have regretted implementing these all-in-one solutions. They are very expensive, and difficult to use. One company leader told me they spent 6-9 months implementing a clunky, enterprise-grade software tool that became a time suck for their company.
4) Is it easy to use?
Most work management solutions are either too basic, or too complex. Although most of the basic solutions are easy to use, they lack the functionality needed by power users within your organization (e.g., project managers). On the other end of the spectrum are the overly complex solutions that offer every possible feature, but are generally considered unusable by most people. Ideally, you will find a solution that has all of the features needed by your power users, but that is also easy to use. The seamless marriage of these two elements—ease of use and feature set—cannot be overstated. I’ve personally spoken with hundreds of companies where they were stuck with a solution that only (at best) excelled in one area, and it caused persistent friction within their company. Remember: it’s not just about features. Usability will go a long way in keeping your employees productive, unified, and perhaps most importantly, happy.