Do you run a Google search and arrange demos with those on pages 1 and 2? How can you be sure you have carried out all of your due diligence and not just listened to sales and marketing hype? Maybe you ask for referrals, check Google reviews, or even check out the providers’ social pages.
These are just some of the things to consider when you start searching for a solution, whether it’s a Learning Management System, Online Assessment Solution or Student Management System. Whatever software you need you probably have a problem that needs fixing, and fast!
So where do you start?
Firstly, download our handy infographic
In this article, we explore everything you need to know. But before going any further, make sure you have taken the time to check out our FREE downloadable resource. Our top 10 tips for downloading assessment and training software infographic is the perfect document to share with your company and fellow assessors.
Next, figure out what it is your training organisation really needs.
You may have seen that your business is drowning in paper from the burden of heavy legislation, or trainers and assessors may be asking for a better way to manage assessments.
Or perhaps compliance is your main issue. Retaining assessment records, gathering recorded data to provide evidence of your adherence to compliance guidelines, or gaining a comprehensive insight into how your assessments or clusters are meeting the requirements of Validity and Sufficiency are all common issues for training providers.
And there’s always the desire to be more efficient and streamline processes to save money.
With these issues, and so many more, it’s not surprising that so many businesses have turned to an online solution for help.
Important Considerations and Questions to Ask
Whatever the problem(s) is/are, document them to form a basis for your business requirements before searching. Then, when you come to address each tech company and software, consider the following:
When liaising with a software as a service (SaaS) provider, pose questions about support. How quick is their response time and what processes do they have in place to answer concerns/issues?
With a Moodle-based system, there may be forums, however, you will need to budget for an in-house or outsourced tech team to support your ongoing needs.
A system with a comprehensive Help Centre library is also a bonus!
Look to the Help Centre for inspiration, but also when you have a specific question or problem. Help Centres usually feature common user questions, and it’s likely if you’re thinking it, someone else has too. The answer you need could be a simple click away.
If you are trialling software, compare the quality of information available in the different Help Centres. A great Help Centre is a major bonus when you really want to understand why a feature or process happens and how it can benefit you.
However, when you need a bit more one-on-one support, using a system with a cloud chat feature is a huge advantage!
Cloud Assess use a messaging service to ensure no issue is left unresolved and there is always a chance for customers to provide feedback. With a median first response time of 38 seconds and a ticket closing time of 1hr 13 minutes (yes, our ticket closing time is less than the industry standard first response time!), we lead this space.
2. User Management System
How easy is it to navigate around the system? How does the company assist in setting up and training users?
Inquire about implementation and training costs. Will an element of training be provided for general use of the system? Are support videos available for everyone to access?
At Cloud Assess, we provide a rigorous, 4 phase, implementation process to ensure that you get up to speed quickly. This extensive training includes how to navigate all functions and operations of the software to make sure your employees get off to a running start!
We will also help you set up integrations and workflows to ensure you maximise efficiency and streamline all processes.
We will even show you how to build effective, engaging content to create the best possible experience for your learners. And if you need some assistance getting it all ready, we provide a service for that too!
3. Integration with Student Management Systems
At Cloud Assess, we believe in Best-of-breed solutions and offer free integration with key Student Management Systems to enable the smooth running of business practices for the best value.
Check to see if the software you choose will integrate easily with your existing systems. The last thing you want to find out is that it doesn’t work with your legacy systems.
And don’t forget to support your AVETMISS reporting requirements! Look for an off-the-shelf integration with an SMS with this functionality.
The end goal should be integrating the different solutions into ‘one system’ that takes care of all your needs.
4. Industry Led
Ensure your chosen system is aligned with your industry as it will speak your language and ensure updates are managed.
For example, Cloud Assess was built specifically for the Vocational Education and Training sector. It was designed to pull relevant information from training.gov.au for unit requirements when writing course content, conducting assessments and mapping criteria of an assessment to a student’s competency.
Being specifically designed for VET, Cloud Assess allows training providers to manage their compliance requirements, particularly the many clauses within Standard One.
Authenticity is just one example and is considered throughout the app allowing assessors to gather evidence face-to-face, build in acknowledgement forms and even capture electronic signatures, audio and video.
These compliance-focused features are not likely to be found in a generic, Moodle-type system.
5. What Do Current Customers/Industry Peers Say?
Happy clients will gladly share their customer experiences with you. Can you speak to your provider’s current client base about their experiences with the software you are considering?
One area to keep an eye on is how often new features and updates are released. You don’t want to choose a system that talks about what’s coming, without delivering on the goods.
Look for a system that walks the walk and responds to customer and industry demands with fit-for-purpose tools, features and improvements.
Look for a system provider with a proven track record, so you have confidence that you are in safe hands.
6. Scale Registered Training Organisations
“CIOs should ask about and understand the level of customisation and scalability a software solution offers,” states Malcolm Cowley, CEO of the Performance Horizon Group. The question here is, can the software keep up with your business growth needs?
Cloud Assess supports training organisations of all shapes and sizes. You can ramp up or down according to your needs.
7. Test Drive With Your Student Management System
Make sure you utilise the free trial that most software companies will provide. If it’s an LMS or Online Assessment Solution, be sure to use your content and try to simulate a live experience as best you can.
Ask yourself, is it intuitive? Does it meet the needs we wrote down at the start of this process?
The only way you can truly tell is to put the system through its paces.
Check for hidden or additional fees. Whilst a one-time purchase means that you may only need to pay once, subscription-based software gives you the flexibility to move up or down on plans, depending on your needs. At Cloud Assess, our pricing reflects the fact that we know how important it is to reduce RTO costs.
Also, look for a fee structure that allows you to reuse your user licenses as you turn over your enrolments. This is particularly useful for training providers that offer short courses as the turnover is high.
This can sometimes be confusing to understand, but essentially it means that when one student completes their training, you can reuse that licence for another student. So 100 user licences can potentially be used to train hundreds or even thousands of students.
Also, look for an establishment cost that covers some training – you want to make sure that you’re not given a system and left to your own devices to figure it out.
9. Custody and Security of Data
If you were to go your separate ways, what would happen in a break-up situation in relation to your data migration and digital assets?
You also need to consider if your data is safe and secure. Do you know where it’s hosted – in Australia or off-shore?
With Cloud Assess, all of your data is domestically hosted in Australia with Amazon Web Services. It’s kept safe and there promptly when you need it, plus your privacy act obligations are looked after.
256bit SSL encryption protects every bit of data you send to or receive from Cloud Assess from unauthorised viewing.
10. Software That Moulds to Your Business Process
We all know that one size does not fit all when it comes to software solutions. Every business has their own needs, which means it is important to get the flexibility around a plug-and-play configuration.
A platform that is designed to fit around your business will feel more personal and familiar to users.
When implemented correctly, your software might not only solve your initial problems but take you to even higher heights.
Are you ready to try out the most tailor-made solution for training and assessment software? Speak to our incredible sales team and let them show you around our product in our free demo experience.