I have previously outlined what I think are a number of issues relating to agency management system vendors not taking proper care of the software and not being future thinking. I also covered what I think are the issues agencies have in resolving issues with their agency management system.
I promised in my last post that I would share with you some ideas I think will help you achieve better results with your system and with getting results from your vendor.
1st Steps when there is a problem:
- Have you checked out help to be sure that the system is being used as intended by the vendor?
- Have you checked with the vendor to determine if this is a known problem? Do they have a resolution? If so, when is that resolution expected to be implemented.
- If it is not already a know problem, it needs to be reported. Instead of just telling the vendor it doesn’t work, you need to be specific about what is happening. Some issues are specific to your installation of the system, some apply in all installations of the system.
So what if it is a known issue and there doesn’t seem to be a resolution date? What if the vendor says they are not going to do anything about the issue in question? What if you have a new idea and the vendor is resistant? Some points you should consider:
- Are you a member of the user’s group? – This is a must.
- Are you active in the user’s group? – This means attending every meeting and keeping up with what is going on.
- Does your agency have representation on the user group’s product development committee? – If you want a voice, either have a representative on this committee or communicate with one or more of the members on this committee.
- Do you offer solutions to the issues or just complain?
- Does your issue apply to more than one user or is it something just your agency wants?
- What is the priority of your issue in the list of bugs and enhancements overall?
I learned a long time ago that complaining does not achieve anything expect mark you as a complainer. When there is an issue, it is best to take one or two solutions with you to the discussion. If the issue is too technical, find someone else in the user group that can assist you with crafting and understanding some solutions. Think about where in the overall priority list this specific issue should fit. If you are looking for an enhancement that applies to your agency only, you will probably be looking at custom work and that normally takes some time to fit into the vendors schedule.
Get your thinking cap on. Think of solutions. Network and work with others in the user group. Become part of the solution instead of the complainer.