VCS Blog

05 April 2016

Important Questions To Consider Before Purchasing Scheduling Software

Posted by VCS Software
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Questions To Consider Scheduling SoftwareYou've been looking into purchasing new employee scheduling software, but you don't know how to evaluate prospective vendors. We don't blame you, as there are hundreds of scheduling vendors who appear to offering similar products with different price tags. According to a 2015 WorkJam study of 500 U.S. service company managers, "68% of employers say the most difficult part of scheduling is assigning shifts that accommodate both their staff's availability and business needs” (Source Page 3). This statement highlights the importance of determining the right questions to ask prospective vendors. In this post we are providing a brief summary of important questions to ask prospective vendors, in order to simplify your purchasing process.

Can I Have A Personalized Demo?

There are numerous low-end scheduling products that allow you to self-evaluate, which works well if your needs are simple and you have time to figure out how the software works. However, more robust systems (like Active Schedules Workforce Management System) offer a more dynamic array of features. In these cases, it's much more effective to watch a custom software demonstration, scheduled at your own convenience. So, ask prospective vendors if they can provide a demo where you can ask questions (it's important to avoid prepared demos). It may be helpful to make a list of things you want to see before the demo so you can stay organized.

Is The Scheduling Software Visually Flexible?

Many businesses started off by creating employee schedules in Excel, likely due to the fact that it's inexpensive, fast, and simple to use. Though Excel is great for creating visually understandable schedules, it's not designed to tell you if you've made any mistakes. This is one of the many reasons why companies look for more robust scheduling software as they grow, yet it's important to keep schedule view ability in mind. Most employee scheduling programs allot a fixed number of viewing formats. Make sure to discuss whether the vendor's scheduling system provides a viewing format that presents your schedule in the way you want to see it. This will make it much easier to work with going forward.

Will The System Adapt As My Business Grows?

Inevitably your business will change as the years pass by, so it's important to find flexible software that can grow with your changing needs. For instance, one department may initially use your scheduling system, but it could spread to be used in other departments as the company grows. Try to plan ahead and anticipate future needs, and then ensure the system can expand to meet your changing needs over the long term.

Do You Have References I Can Call?

It's crucial to always check the vendor's references (this tip applies to every product you purchase). Before you make a definitive decision, make an attempt to reach out to previous customers in your industry, and seek out information regarding how the installation and training process went, as well as how the vendor handled any setbacks. A company's reputation for customer service could be a deal-breaker, so don't skimp on this step.

Is The Software Cloud-Based?

Does the software you are interested in require installations, downloads or additional hardware? True online, cloud-based scheduling software is designed to be accessible from any Internet connection in the same manner as any web page, social media site or e-mail application. It should not require any installations, downloads or additional hardware. If it does, it's probably not cloud-based and may lack the necessary functionality.

Will The Software Accommodate My Industry?

Reputable software vendors will have a nuanced understanding of the challenges that plague each industry. So, it's in your best interest to ask prospective vendors about their experience in your sector, as well as how they dealt with certain issues in your industry. For example, in addition to providing scheduling automation to businesses, VCS has special expertise in the police industry. The Police Officer Scheduling System (POSS) has been specifically designed to support public safety procedures, allowing nuanced solutions for specific Police scheduling needs.

VCS Software | Scheduling Software Systems

Traditional time & attendance systems - which are still widely used today – clock the hours employees are on the job after they have worked because the hours are counted after the shift has taken place. This reactive approach breeds overspending and inefficiencies for companies. VCS’ software systems compute data prior to shift work, so that the planned hours and positions are properly staffed. Proactive scheduling promotes a productive, compliant, and fiscally responsible workforce. If you have any concerns with finding the appropriate scheduling system, feel free to contact us.

  Workforce Management Solutions Expert