Red flags: Identifying Problematic Software Partners

A suspicious facility manager at a desk raises an eyebrow at a potential software partner, obscured, who is showing a contract

When it comes to partnering with a software provider, there’s more to the decision than just picking whoever comes in with the cheapest price. You want a partner who supports you, communicates efficiently, and minimises risks on your project, so that you have confidence in a successful long-term implementation.

There are plenty of options out there, and you might have to kiss a few frogs before one turns into a prince. In this blog, we go through some red flags to watch out for, to help reduce the heartbreak when it comes to finding a software partner.

They leave you hanging

Our first red flag is when a provider keeps you in suspense. While not knowing what’s happening next might work well for Hollywood movies, in the real world it’s a source of frustration and inefficiency.

If a provider takes days to reply, and isn’t forthcoming with project steps, it could be a sign that they don’t really know where this relationship is going.

Transparent, honest communication is key to effective project management. Without transparency, it is difficult to assign appropriate resources to implement your chosen platform, dragging the project out for longer than necessary.

They ghost you

Worse than waiting days for a reply, is waiting for a reply that never arrives. “Ghosting” is when all communication suddenly drops away. You’ll want to be confident that your software provider will remain helpful and responsive after you’ve signed up.

All software implementations are a process, it takes time to learn to use a system to maximum efficiency. Training staff, understanding capabilities and developing new processes supported by the system are key to its success.

Without ongoing support, these foundations are difficult to establish, potentially limiting the success of the project long-term. When looking at different providers, make sure you have a clear idea of what ongoing support looks like.

Will support enquiries just be re-routed to a call centre elsewhere in the world, or will you be able to speak to someone locally? You’ll also want to understand what your support team’s typical response times are like, and how other customers rate their support experience.

They take a cookie-cutter approach

Every organisation is different, so if your software provider is applying a cookie-cutter approach, it’s a red flag for the project. Your provider should be looking at your specific needs, and tailoring their advice to suit.

The processes that support a 1,000 person hospital will always differ from those in a 100 person private school. While both facilities teams conceptually might be facing similar problems, the regulations, resources and stakeholder expectations they work within will be vastly different.

If the only advice you ever hear has a direct correlation to increasing the amount you need to spend, it’s another red flag.

They're catfishing

Not everything you see online is as it appears. There are plenty of providers out there with aggressive sales targets, whose representatives will promise features that don’t, and might never, exist. Unfortunately, this is common practice for some software companies.

There are few things more frustrating than signing a software deal, only to find that the features you were sold on aren’t what you were told. From sales teams to support, look for an organisation that will tell you up front what its software does and doesn’t do.