How Does Your Lease Management Software Position Your Business for Success?By Roxana Safranek, Director of Marketing, LeaseTeam
How does your lease management solution position your business for success? If you are not sure how to answer that question, then you may already have a problem.
It’s essential when investing in a lease management solution, either by purchasing a licensed software solution or using Software as a Service model, that you select a provider that is right for your business. In fact, in a survey conducted by Deloitte and Touche asking companies to rate their criteria for choosing a software solution, the majority of the companies surveyed ranked choosing the right solution provider as a critical component.
Here are some things to consider when selecting a solutions partner:
A Good Track Record
When selecting a software provider, you want to choose one that has a good track record. This means a large base of satisfied customers, high customer retention and a consistent flow of new customers. A company is more likely to be a good partner in the future if it has been a good partner in the past. It will also help you determine how stable the company is, and how likely it is to be around for you in the future.
Financial stability of a company refers simply to whether it is doing well in business or not. There are various ways that it can be measured, but in the end, they all add up to the same thing: is this company in sound financial shape or isn’t it? If it is, then the company is probably a quality one that will continue to be viable into the future. If not, well… You should probably
avoid purchasing software solutions from companies on shaky financial footings. When companies are on shaky financial ground, they may not be investing in research and development for their products, their employees may start to get jittery and they may lose good experienced talent and then service levels tend to drop off. All which leads back to the pressing question as to whether the company will be around to service your business in the future.
Industry and Technology Expertise
You want to make sure you select a solutions partner that employs professionals with both technology and Industry related expertise.
Technology changes quickly and you want to make sure that your vendor is not only up-to-date with the current technological advances, but continues to upgrade their software to keep up with the technological advances.
You also want to choose a partner that understands the demands of your day-to-day job. Your chances of success increase greatly if you work with a partner that understands your industry and has completed several successful projects in your particular industry. This experience helps companies to anticipate problems, accommodate changes and use their expertise to help define a customer’s business requirements.
Being a successful solution partner requires much more than a functional understanding of their software. A good partner will also have extensive experience and expertise across their client’s enterprise so they are able to design and offer the most comprehensive solutions.
Good partners will not only be an expert in developing software, but they will also be extremely knowledgeable about the industry they are serving and the specific requirements and challenges that industry brings. Having industry experts on staff will not only help with the development of the product, it will also enhance the level of support they can offer for the software.
The best solutions are those that are developed from the customer’s perspective. Best-in-class solutions share a series of common traits including a comprehensive solution, system scalability, transparent access to information, and intuitive automated business processes.
A Solution That Will Grow With Your Business
It’s important to look for a solution that will meet your needs today and handle tomorrow’s demands. Where will your business be in 3, 5 or 10 years? You need to factor that in when you evaluate your software needs. Will the solution you are choosing grow with your business? What if your business changes its direction? Do you have the right partner for that?
A Product Roadmap That Aligns With Your Business Plans
It’s important that your software provider has a viable product roadmap for ongoing development and improvement. It’s equally important to make sure that direction aligns with your business goals.
Here are some important questions to consider:
- How many times has the product been updated in the last 12 months?
- What specific updates have been released and are they relevant to your business.
- Is there an ongoing dialog between the solution provider and the users about the direction of the roadmap?
Top Notch Client Services
It’s important to choose a solutions provider that has readily available personnel who are knowledgeable about both their software and the day to day business of their clients. Good support providers can answer your questions quickly, and help you find a solution that best fits the direction your business is going.
A good partner also provides dynamic software updates, constantly improving their product as clients furnish feedback. Without frequent updates, products become stale and out of touch with evolving industry needs and new technologies. It’s a good idea to select a company who provides routine updates as part of their annual service and support. Be sure to verify that the provider circulates all enhancements made to the software as part of these updates
Finally, make sure to find out how your provider defines and measures customer satisfaction. It’s important to understand and agree with what your provider deems to be important.
Ask for references. Even if the software is a perfect fit for your company, this will be a long-term relationship and you need know how the provider is viewed by their customers.
Some important questions to ask the references are:
- Does the software do everything you expected?
- Has the system improved your overall performance?
- Are the users of the software satisfied?
- Are you satisfied with the level of service provided?
- How does the vendor/reseller react when you have problems?
Remember, there will always be challenges. It’s in the nature of technology and business in general. No matter how knowledgeable the provider is or how well prepared you are, the unexpected will happen. The big question needs to be when a problem arises, how responsive is the vendor and how are they to work with?
A Successful Partnership
Creating a partnership with a vendor that understands your business, is willing to work with you and “gets you” your business is paramount to a successful relationship. That is why you want to spend the time to make sure the “fit” exists. Doing so will give you a clear understanding of what it will be like to work together. At the end of the day, creating a successful provider/client relationship means being able to trust them to deliver on whatever is promised.