After people, data is one of your most important business assets. Deciding on where to store it can be a challenging task. There are a number of things to bear in mind to ensure your estate agency software is the right solution for your needs.
There are many standard considerations but there will be some which will be more unique to your business operations and the market in which you operate.
So – where to start?
Having been part of the procurement process for one of the countries leading estate agency firms, when selecting a provider we put together a list of ‘10 things’ to consider prior to embarking on booking demonstration meetings with software providers. Here they are:
Do your research, select 5 potential suppliers based on recommendation, reputation and compatibility.
Ask around, what have your staff previously used, were they happy? Do you ex-colleagues or networking groups have any recommendations?
Ensure that the suppliers can deliver a product which covers your required disciplines.
Which department is this for? Will consolidating departments prove to offer greater efficiency?
Set a budget and preferred ROI timescale.
What is your spent limit? Ensure you are transparent with this to any supplier
Call all 5 suppliers with a pre-defined questionnaire and record answers.
Put together a brief with priority areas, for example; client accounting what do you do and what do you want to improve
Create a short list of 3 suppliers and ask them to come you your office to demonstrate their product offering.
Ensure you are prepared and make sure the supplier provides an agenda with what they are there for
Limit initial demonstration meetings to 2 hours on different days.
Make sure your diary is clear so you don’t get pulled away. Allow enough time for breaks and lunch…it can be information overload otherwise!
Invite key stakeholders in the business to the demonstration meetings.
Who will be using the software day to day? You must have their support for a successful implementation
Use a pre-defined marking system to record each person’s thoughts about each individual product.
A simple questionnaire from all involved to collate feedback on all suppliers, maybe a scoring system could be useful?
Select a final two and request quotations and three reference companies based on comparable size / requirements to you.
Its crucial to know that the supplier can manage a project size that is required for your business
Complete second round of demonstration meetings to validate your reasons for shortlisting the suppliers and ask any outstanding questions.
The final step, make sure all questions around functionality and product are answered…
“Many companies focus on just the cost of the software licenses and forget about the additional costs of installing and implementing the software. Plus the price of hardware, integration to other systems, converting your data, training your employees and ongoing support costs. We know people crave honesty and facts and with these things to consider we want to give them information up front to help avoid price shocks later.”
Should you require any additional advice or guidance please feel free to contact me.
Head of Sales and Marketing