Finding a timesheet solution is a difficult task for any company. There is a huge learning curve in the buying process; a large amount of time taken to train employees; and communication that must happen with your provider’s support team when a problem arises. But what if your timesheet software provider called it quits, as has happened to many businesses when Quickbooks discontinued its Time Tracker & Time and Billing Manager, or when Microsoft Dynamics announced thediscontinuation of Business Portal – leaving customers with the only option of an overly-simplified web-only time management tool?
Following are our top 6 tips that will help you navigate this difficult situation.
1. Protect Your Data
Create copies of your data and save it in multiple, secure locations. Save it in the cloud, save it on desktops, save it on the network, etc. Even go so far as to make backups for your backups, in case one source is corrupted or gets hacked. Many people even encrypt their data in case it gets stolen or hacked, so the info can remain safe and intact.
2. Create a List of Essentials
Next, write down all the features that were absolutely essential for your business that were in the expiring product, and then list out the features that were just plain handy to have. Once you’ve written down what made the old solution a good fit, write down what was lacking in the product. One of those requirements will probably be quick implementation, so a word of warning…
3. There is No Quick, Magic Fix
Vendors who claim two-day rollout times are just flat-out lying to you. They’re preying on your sense of panic of being deserted by your old provider. And trust me; they know what’s happening in the timesheet industry. You want to work with a vendor that will create a perfect fit for your company in a timely manner.
4. SaaS Flexibility Allows Early Rollouts
To accomplish your requirement for a fast roll-out, consider SaaS solutions. SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over the Internet.
In an early rollout, the vendor lets you temporarily use the SaaS site while your IT shop deploys the machine purchased for your local installation. With SaaS, you also get the benefits of server protection (sending back-up information to the vendor) and easier upgrades (you get a test site during the upgrade process that requires no hardware purchases on your part).
5. Don’t Rely on Canned Demos
You have the power to demand that any vendor prove that their solution will solve your company’s specific business problem. You deserve a detailed demonstration that uses your employee list, customer list, project list, your company’s logo and color scheme, and that provides reports on your data that will prove to you that your business problem is solved. If a vendor can’t make you 100 percent certain that the solution will work for your specific business needs, then walk away.
6. How’s the Support Team?
You don’t need another bad experience, especially when it comes to the software’s support team. Be wary of static, outdated FAQ lists and support staff that is part of the sales team. When support is part of the sales force, you only get help as a prospect. Once they’ve got your money, getting help is difficult. Questions to ask to pinpoint the effectiveness of the support team include:
- What is your support staff response time?
- What percentage of your customers renews their maintenance contracts each year?
- Can I talk to three recent customers that are in my industry and are about my size?
Your new vendor should be capable of early rollouts, server protection and simple upgrades. You have the right to demand responsive support and a tailored demo with your company’s information. Just because you were left high and dry by your old provider doesn’t mean you can’t find an even better solution for your company moving forward.
Had any timesheet problems like these? Let us know in the comment section below!