In discussing with alarm dealers how they use various software options, I was struck by a common theme voiced by many of them. Software is often used in a piecemeal manner. The alarm dealer finds software that fulfills needs as they arise. Job tracking is a good example. Stand-alone software by itself may perform the task. Unfortunately, the separated functions in a conglomeration of discrete systems impairs the efficiency of the entire operation.
The problem often results from not having a knowledgeable person to coordinate the roles of individual software applications to work together. Although, the assembled hodgepodge of programs may work in a fashion, they just are not designed to perform efficiently together. Detailed information in one database may not be associated in other databases. Consequently, the ability to glean meaningful information is restricted by disjointed databases. Summary information transferred between the software products just cannot be the basis for a suite of meaningful reports. Management information reporting requires the flexibility only made possible through organized details.
Frequent uploading and downloading between software applications also takes time, inhibiting the user’s ability to make informed decisions quickly in a dynamic environment. Integrators of all sizes commonly experience this. It is frustrating to employees. Software that is not integrated has hidden costs, not always easy to quantify.
Additional benefits of an integrated software solution include a common set of commands throughout the system. Less than connected software programs impose responsibility and unnecessary stress on users to daily bring programs together, even in in a limited way. Conversely, an integrated system works for the for user, by having all of the pieces unified in a harmonious suite up front. This makes the software easier to learn, because there is a sameness of layout in every module. A new associate reaches a level of competence more quickly and becomes confident with less stress.
Bottlenecks in processing and managing jobs are greatly reduced in an integrated system. When one person completes a task, another person can immediately use that work to move things along in an orderly manner. Protocols are more easily established and followed. There is less office drama and less finger pointing between employee when processes are stalled. Personal pride in a job well done becomes the norm, not just on a lucky day. Dedicated workers are not worn out at the end of the day from the mental fatigue caused by the struggle of making separate systems work together. Quality of life is at the heart of maintaining a happy workplace.
Well planned, integrated software will turn an average person into a great associate. The boost in the self-esteem is manifested in job satisfaction. The result is less turnover and longer tenure. The dealer owner can devote attention to growing the company rather than face a recurring battle to find good help. That is the basis for all successful companies; happy, competent, confident associates, who like coming to work.
To be continued.
AMS Pro is an integrated system with a relational database. Call us at Alarm Management Software to learn how we can help you grow your business, safely and with confidence.