How do I know that my agency’s software truly meets our needs?
Software is expensive, and let’s face it, these days software runs your agency. Whether you’re evaluating the software you already have or you’re looking to upgrade, it’s important to feel confident that your software is going to meet your agency’s needs. However, figuring out if the software is “good” can be a daunting task.
While certainly, such a subjective term like “good” leaves a lot to the eye of the beholder, there are three major qualities of “good” Law Enforcement Software; namely stability, usability, and future proofed software.
STABILITY – Is your software, and the company that makes it stable?
This is such a basic, but critical component to “good” software. Software breaks now and again, and any other vendor who tells you otherwise is a liar. Just saying. But, if your software is always broken, why do you even have it? You’re not getting your money’s worth.
“Stability” means a lot more than most people realize. A stable software product has a stable company behind it. It could be the best software ever made, but if the company’s not around to support it, it won’t be great for much longer. Both in terms of responsible financial choices, management and employee turn-over rates, a stable company is just as important as a stable product.
Stable software also doesn’t have 10 million updates. While that number was just slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect, you get my point. If things are constantly changing on you, that gets frustrating. Especially in the Law Enforcement industry, with many state and federal policies requiring you stay up to date with the most current version of your software, and this can be an exhausting process.
USABILITY – Is your software TRULY user-friendly, or does it just check the boxes?
This is another multi-faceted word that encompasses several aspects of “good” software. Usability is a conglomerate of terms like “user-friendly”, “intuitive design”, “efficiency” and “ability”. It means software that most effectively accomplishes what it was designed to do in a way that is the easiest for the intended audience to use. Again, this seems basic, but most companies don’t really understand what that means.
Let’s pretend that we’re building a home. There are subtle touches to a “good” design that make life convenient, like having the kitchen pantry adjacent to the garage so you don’t have to carry your groceries as far. But, if your designer has never had to carry groceries into their house before, that feature is probably not going to end up in your home design.
That designer will surely give you a design that complies with building code and other regulations. It will have bedrooms, bathrooms, and all the things a home should have. Lots of people will buy that design and build houses from it. But you’re going to be in that home every day and will appreciate a design that’s considered the details that make life convenient. Not just a design that’s checked the required boxes.
The same is true with law enforcement software. Most companies have built products that comply with CJIS, NIBRS and other such policies and programs. On paper, they’ve got everything an RMS or CAD should have. But when you start using that software day in and day out, you’re going to find out that nobody at those companies ACTUALLY understands what those requirements mean. It will be very apparent that nobody who’s done your job was involved in the design of those products.
FUTURE PROOF – Can your software keep up with changes in tech AND Law Enforcement?
This is the real separator when you start comparing Law Enforcement Software Companies. Can a company keep up with changes in technology, or will their products get lost to the march of progress?
The Law Enforcement software industry has been around since the 1980’s, when larger agencies like LAPD started putting MDT’s in their patrol cars and typing reports on computers. As hardware became more affordable and available in the 2000’s, we saw several companies come out with products that would revolutionize the industry. Riding the .com bubble, these companies introduced software that, when created, was pretty darn great.
Now, 20+ years later, a look at most of those companies shows that their products have changed very little. The outlook is equally stagnant for their company. As you’re more than likely familiar, tech is an industry which requires companies to rapidly pivot with changes. The underlying technologies upon which these products are built can go out of date and converting to a newer platform is time consuming and expensive. With venture capital long dried up and diminishing returns worrying potential investors, these companies are unable to adapt, even though they might want to.
There are plenty of companies run by ROD’s who are riding out their software’s last days of viability. If your agency’s software products are not built with an underlying flexibility that permits the company to adapt, they’re going to quickly be obsolete. When that day comes, these companies will cut their losses and close up shop, leaving your agency holding the bag.
A quality software product is not only able to adapt but is looking to the future for how to grow. We’ve seen dramatic changes to Law Enforcement lately. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s not the same job that it was even 5 years ago. Not only should your software be able to keep up with changes in technology, but you need a product that is tuned into trends in Law Enforcement. You need a product that responsibly balance industry-leading tech with long-term sustainability.
CONCLUSION – Your agency needs EFORCE® Software
There are lots of companies that offer products which can check the boxes for your agency. There are very few that can offer you a product that does everything you will actually need. EFORCE® Software has been providing cutting-edge software to Law Enforcement agencies since 2003. We have seen our competitors come and go.
Through responsible financial management, we’ve positioned our privately-owned company to rapidly adapt to changes in our industry without the need to lay-off staff or take on investors.
Our stable products are designed by on-staff, current and former LEO’s. We’ve done your job. We know the difference between what the State and Feds require and how the work is actually done in the real world. We’ve built products that are designed to do the work the way you actually do it, while seamlessly integrating the bean counting requirements. It’s so smooth that they’re expertly doing it without even knowing.
We’d love to schedule a one-on-one consultation where we talk about your agency’s needs and how our software is the best option to meet them. It’s the best way to get a sense for what sets our products apart. Contact me today at 888-570-4943, ext. 2919 or at [email protected].