1. How easy is it to use the software?The differentiator of a good software from a mediocre one is how simple it is for the non-tech-savvy user to understand and use the product and how easy it is to get it up and running. No matter how complicated the technology is at the back-end, what the user should ideally get at the front-end is simple, straightforward and easy-to-use. Think Apple (well, more or less). Most software providers will give you a free online demo of their product, take you through the different screens, dashboards and drop-down lists and explain the set-up process you will get. But if you are still unsure, you could always ask for a free trial. Many of the good software providers will give you a 14 day - 1 month free trial. Remember to make good use of that offer!
2. How suitable is it for your requirement?Modern childcare software come with a wide array of features ranging from parent communication, booking and attendance management, curriculum and daily reports, invoicing, notification management – all the nice little features that can make tiring ol’ documentation and admin work seem like a breeze.
However, the value you would get from the software would depend on a lot of factors such as: how much time, money and effort you are already spending on day-to-day paperwork and admin, how you’d like to engage with the parents and project your nursery as a brand. As all of this could vary from one setting to the other, make sure you make your decision based on what are the core areas you need help with.
For instance, if parent communication and engagement is at the top of your priority list, it would be worthwhile to look for a software that comes with a mobile app as opposed to one with a web portal alone as it would make communication much easier.
On the other hand, if you are looking at cutting down printing costs and paper work and managing your time and resources more efficiently, software packages that offer features like digital attendance management and integrated online booking system could be the thing for you. Now if you want all of these features in a single package, software and app solutions like Cheqdin could be your one-stop shop.
3. Are you getting your money’s worth?When it comes to childcare software, a major deterrent for most childcare providers is the hefty price tag that often comes with it. While some providers advertise highly attractive prices, there could be little surprises hiding in the fine print. For instance, some software that come with mobile apps charge you per text messages and notifications while some would require you to upgrade to a premium package to access many of the features. So, make sure you go through in detail with the provider regarding their different packages and be completely aware of what you will be getting for your money.
4. How secure is your data?Before signing any contract with your software provider be sure to check with them about the measures they have taken for your data security. A few important questions to ask would be:
- Where is the data stored? Cheqdin for example, stores data in secure servers located in London, United Kingdom provided by Amazon AWS. This makes it easy to meet regional compliance and data residency requirements.
- Is the data encrypted to the latest industry standards?
- Does the company have a security FAQ for you to read and understand their security measures. And are they robust enough?
- Who are the security and other data service providers of the company? Look for big names like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace etc. for that extra re-assurance.