For any senior housing executive, a software investment will likely be a major undertaking. The software that drives business functions also helps to determine resident experience, and once purchased, it likely will be around for many years to come.
This is a long-term investment, and as such it merits serious consideration. Software is hardly ever a one-size-fits-all. For each senior housing enterprise, business needs will be different and the software therefore will need to meet those specific demands.
How to choose just the right software? Here’s how it is done.
1. Does it boost productivity?
Software ought to make routine operations more efficient. Many daily tasks in a senior residence tend to be repetitive and/or inefficient: Take for instance staff scheduling, or meds management. One reason to invest in software is to ease the burden on staff by streamlining some of these routine functions. So the question to ask: Will software help to automate a repetitive task or streamline the process?
2. How’s the support?
As any IT manager knows, a tech product is only as good as the support organization that backs it up. Any software package worth its salt will come with ironclad guarantees of support. These may cover a wide range of circumstances. Will the vendor troubleshoot as needed? Will there be automatic security updates and bug fixes? If your enterprise grows, will the vendor be there to support scaling up of the software? Some vendors will place one of their people on site to manage systems and ensure smooth functioning. If the investment is big enough, this may be an option worth pursuing.
3. Are the right features there?
Accounting in a senior residence is not the same as accounting in a restaurant. Staff management, time keeping, maintenance timetables, enterprise resource management. Senior housing approaches all of these with its own nuances and idiosyncratic needs. It is reasonable to expect a major software system to be sensitive to these needs, either customized to your enterprise or else built from the ground up with senior housing in mind.
4. Can it be tweaked?
Even if a particular suite of tools does meet your needs at first, there is no guarantee that things won’t change. Business circumstances evolve all the time, driving new iterations in business processes. You want software that can shift on the fly, software that can be readily customized to suit your evolving circumstance – along with a vendor willing to support those efforts.
5. What’s the ROI?
There is a basic rule in IT investing: Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you have to. Likely you are frequently approached by vendors hawking cutting-edge capabilities. Some of these products do pack a technology punch – but does that make them right for you? At the end of the day any new software investment should drive revenues, cut costs, help you to adapt for growth or position you for the next leap forward. Software isn’t just the ability to do something new. Software is a tool to enhance the bottom line. That is the yardstick by which any new purchase should be judged.