Forming a Mobile Time Tracking Steering Committee – as in many things in life, the first step in a mobile time tracking project is the toughest. For those companies of sufficient size, we recommend the first step be to form a steering committee to drive this undertaking. This group should be represented by all stakeholders within the company, but the people selected should include those employees who are most effected by the time collection process and who will be active contributors. After the steering committee is formed, then it is time to get down to the real work.
Set A Timetable – setting a target completion date gives you a better sense of urgency. Without a deadline, you are likely to float along and meet whenever everybody on the committee has the time or worse, whenever a crisis erupts and something HAS to be done.
Identify Needs – it is critical to identify your mobile time collection issues and needs. I would recommend flowcharting your current processes to see where they are weak or need improvement. Seek input from your office and field staffs who work with the payroll process on a daily basis. Find out where they are spending their time and how long it is taking to complete each of these procedures.
Prioritize Needs – after you have identified your issues and needs, the next logical step is to prioritize them. Which ones are the most inefficient? Which ones are costing you the most time and money?
Identify Solutions – recognizing your most critical needs will allow you to target those mobile time tracking vendors who can provide the features and functionality that meet your requirements. An internet search should provide you with a broad list of vendors, but you can also ask your business associates for recommendations as well. Sometimes, your specific needs might not be completely addressed with out-of-the box software in which case you may need to check with the vendor’s ability to customize their application. Always be on the lookout for vendors just wanting to sell you their product. A reputable mobile time tracking software vendor will want to know what your issues and needs are in order to determine if his product will provide you with an effective solution.
Research Solutions – after you have identified those vendors whose products can likely resolve your issues and meet your needs, it is time to delve deeper into their solutions. In today’s world, it is no longer necessary to do in-person demos. Vendors utilize technology tools to present live demos over the web. Or at least they should. Beware of those vendors who force you to watch some sort of canned video. Either they are not concerned about your personal situation or they are too busy for your business – Caveat Emptor!
Get Proposals – get pricing proposals from your remaining vendors. Obviously, we’re addressing this post from a software perspective, but there will usually be other costs involved i.e. hardware, mobile data plans, etc. In almost every situation, cost matters. Most companies work with a budget, but should cost always be the overriding consideration? Absolutely not! But what should be the most important criteria? Return on investment is always a good way to measure the true effectiveness of an expenditure. Some applications may have a higher initial cost, but may also save you more. ROI puts your options on a more level playing field. Vendors will usually be able to provide an ROI calculation for you, but you are best served to do your own study. Nobody knows your situation like you do. If you don’t have the time or resources to do your own ROI, then review the vendor’s calculations and ask as many questions as possible to get a level of comfort with it.
Finalize Your Vendor List – once you have seen demos of the proposed solutions, asked pertinent questions, and received pricing proposals, you should further narrow your list of vendors to those who can provide an effective solution at the most reasonable cost. Ideally, your final list will consist of no more than 3 vendors.
Check References – it is always a good idea to ask for customer references from remaining mobile software vendors. It is an even better idea to actually call them. Most will be happy to discuss their experience in detail and to share with you how they have used the program as well as the level of support received. You should definitely be able to get a better overall feel for the product once you have called the references given.
Review The Data – at this point, the committee needs to carefully review the data received from each vendor finalist. Compare the pros and cons of each mobile time tracking product. You might even assign weights to each.
Make A Decision – Pick the solution that you feel very confident will address your needs and resolve your issues. An effective demo, excellent references, and a healthy ROI should go a long ways to making you feel comfortable and confident in your choice.
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