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Time Tracking Solutions - Vendor Selection

Selecting a software vendor may be the most difficult step involved in choosing a new time and attendance software solution, especially if the new system has to be integrated with a legacy system that provides other functionality. Systems integrators are often a necessary component of a new software transaction, but how can a company go about choosing the best one for the job? Experts suggest that other end users in the same industry may be good resources for referrals. An industry vendor with partners in particular locales can also be a good option. Trade magazines may provide insights into the products and services being used in a particular industry, and there are online libraries dedicated to integrated solutions for information technology.

Once a list of vendors has been identified, the hard part begins - making a choice between them. Some experts suggest that if the end result is going to be a modification of an existing solution, it may be wise to stick with the current solutions provider rather than trying to hire a new one. A current solutions provider who already knows how a particular system is configured can be both more economical and more effective.

If that is not possible, and a new solutions provider must be chosen, it is wise make that choice based on a full range of information. First, check both personal and professional references and consult with the buyer oranizations to make certain that any potential vendor is a legitimate business concern. Ascertain how many installations the company has completed and look for quality rather than just quantity.

Ask the solutions provider to develop a business requirement, which provides a low risk means of making certain that the integrator understands the business and how to solve the problem at hand. Check the track record to make sure the provider has a proven methodology.

Find out the specifics of any support services offered by the company. Many vendors declare that they have 24-hour support, 365 days a year, but dont specify which support services that may include. It is important to make certain what support is offered, how long it would take to receive on-site assistance, how quickly the support system works, and how often the company actually goes on-site to make repairs. Choose an integrator that has a help desk and that the help desk is located in the same part of the world in which the purchasing company does business. Make sure that the provider has enough staff to address specific needs including sales staff, technical support staff, software design engineer and hardware design engineer.

A good working relationship is essential between an organization and its service providers. If the service providers company culture matches the company culture of the purchaser, things tend to work more smoothly. It is unlikely that the perfect match will ever occur, but solutions providers should provide a good fit with the companies they work for. The end user must be able to feel comfortable with response times and services provided.

When push comes to shove, it may be wise to take the reference checking one step further. A potential purchaser should speak with people provided as references and make sure to talk to employees actually using the integrators systems, not just management. Visit the actual sites rther than relying on phone contact. People are more likely to be honest about potential problems and liabilities when they are face-to-face with someone from another business who is asking tough questions about a potential service provider.

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