Key questions to future proof your software investment

| 17 Sep 2015
future proofing

It is essential that aged care providers consider their long term needs before partnering with a software vendor. Here we suggest some questions for providers to ask themselves to ensure they select a committed and sustainable software partner for the long term.

What is the forecasted growth plan for our organisation?

The aged care industry has been met with an ageing population, new funding types and an increasingly consumer centred structure. Aged care providers therefore need a vendor that can provide evidence that their software will adapt and scale as their business evolves. Investing in a vendor that offers scalable solutions means that organisations are protected whether they have one facility or ten. Providers should assess how their business may take shape over the next five to ten years and find a partner that can support any potential business growth.

Am I aware of the true cost of this investment?

Software solutions can be a large expense for many aged care organisations. It is important to consider whether a vendor with a lower initial cost is truly a wise investment. Vendors with lower upfront costs may require a higher staffing investment, with any money saved on the initial licence fee being spent on hiring additional staff to manage the implementation process. It is also important to consider why a vendor may charge less in upfront license costs than some of their competitors. Often the answer is that the software does not have the same level of functionality or scalability that other vendors’ offer, or the same level of dedicated staffing resources.

Which integrated solutions will my business require?

Aged care providers should look at whether a vendor has any integrated solutions that complement the software set to be implemented, such as a residential electronic medication management solution or home care consumer portal. Tried and tested electronic medication management software can offer a safer, more accountable way to manage medications, while consumer portals provide care recipients and their families with the ability to manage visits and care services. Partnering with a provider that has integrated offerings reduces the risk of organisations having to purchase multiple, unlinked systems as their needs change. Due diligence is essential when partnering with a software vendor, so providers should ask to visit a current client in order to witness the software in action.

Does the vendor have a cloud offering if my needs change?

Cloud based software is the way of the future, so it’s important that providers seek out a vendor that understands the importance of this technology. Running a software solution in the cloud eliminates many of the running requirements that would otherwise dictate the purchase of new infrastructure or server upgrades. This is a significant aspect to consider as new software versions often require further infrastructure investment. Even if an aged care organisation is not interested in utilising a cloud offering upon partnering with a software vendor, having cloud as an option means that aged care providers can safeguard their investment if their needs change.

Will the software vendor be around to support me in five to ten years?

It is important to select a software partner that invests in their product and their company. This investment ensures aged care providers are supported as their requirements and technology change, while protecting their annual investment.

There is likely to be significant consolidation in the aged care software industry, as there has been for aged care providers in the last few years. Aged care organisations should consider whether their potential software partner has the capability and financial backing to survive.

Asking questions about a vendor’s current operations and where it sits in the industry will help providers assess if the vendor is right for them.

  • Do they have enough large clients that providers can be confident of having a scalable partner if their business grows?
  • Do they have the operational resources to look after a provider during implementation, training and on an ongoing support level?
  • Does the business have the financial resources to remain sustainable and ensure commitment to continued product development?

If providers can comfortably answer yes to these questions – and the vendor can provide evidence to support this – aged care organisations can have confidence that they have a long term, sustainable partner.

In which other ways can an aged care provider help to future proof their software investment? Join our conversation below. 

Tags: aged care, aged care software, ageing population, change management, iCareHealth software, medication management, residential aged care, software, software provider, technology

Sophia Bolden

Communications Manager

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Manager at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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