Social work case management software presents a wide range of advantages for non-profits or social organizations. By streamlining the overall process, they help in increasing efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the organizations’ activities. However, choosing one, which is ideal for your organization, is not an easy task.
The market is flooded with a large number of such software. Each of them has their own unique set of advantages and features. Thus, a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not really cut it. One needs to weigh in some important factors to find the software best suited to your organization’s needs. The most important and starting factor being a thorough needs analysis.
Needs Analysis: The First Step
A thorough understanding of your organization’s needs is a first step towards making an informed decision. This includes listing in detail what exactly you need the software for. Not only that but also what all you don’t really need. This step can be further detailed by understanding the present process’s weakness and strength. Then shortlisting basis your present strength and basis ability to tackle weaknesses is a good start.
Software Shortlist: The Second Step
Once the needs analysis stage is carried through, you have a fair understanding of your requirements. The next stage then is to make an initial shortlist. As a rule of thumb, every software worth considering should:
A) Reduce the time spent on paperwork and speed up and streamline the overall process.
B) Continually help improve the delivery of services through well-designed performance management systems.
C) Be able to present data and dashboards indicating tangible and actionable results.
Besides the above, other factors that play their part in the short-listing process are:
A) Data Control: An organization produces a great deal of daily changing data. The amount of control software provides to manage that data is a factor worth considering.
B) Customizable Structures: No two social organizations are alike. Hence, neither can be their software requirements. Thus, the extent to which the database and other software structures can be customized is an important factor.
C) Analytics & Reporting: Adding a way to extract criteria based report can go a long way in enhancing the software appeal. Additionally, the extent of analytics the software provides, on the data it manages, is also worth considering.
D) Other Tools: Besides the above factors, the additional tools that the software provides can play a pivotal role in decision-making. These include tools like resource management tools etc.
Final Evaluation: The Third Step
The third and final step pertains to evaluating the basis of all the above factors. This stage involves assigning a criterion to evaluate and measure the importance of each factor. Then all the software options are measured and compared according to those criteria. The final choice then becomes straightforward. The one, which scores the highest, should be your preferred one.
The above forms a basic bare-bones guide for any buyer wanting to get a social work case management software for his/her organization.