As we learned from Richard Sparks of GSMA in our customer spotlight last month, security guard management software can and should transform every aspect of your business. With so many software solutions out there, choosing between them can sometimes be a daunting task. Here are 20 questions you can ask to help sort through all the options and find the best fit for your business.
1. Can you use the software for both standing guard and mobile patrol accounts?Many solutions work best only for one or the other, so make sure any given tool can work with all your different teams. If you provide both mobile patrol services and standing guard services, make sure you identify the unique needs of your operation and match those with a software that won't require significant change in the way you are currently operating.
2. Is the software customizable for multiple industries?
An HOA has very different needs from an industrial facility. Make sure any software company you talk to can address the specifics of every industry you work in.
3. Is the software easy to use for security officers in the field?A complicated user interface creates more work, rather than less, for your officers. You should be able to access a trial to really see what it looks like for the officer. A software that is easy to use will help you increase engagement and adoption rates.
4. Can the software be used to reduce training time?
A good field training system can let your supervisor spend a very short amount of time showing a new officer the property without diminishing the quality of service. This reduces the cost of high turnover in the industry. Guard management software shouldn't just alert supervisors when officer performance is dipping, it should proactively engage the officer by reminding them what is expected throughout the shift.
5. Will you have to purchase additional devices or hardware?Does the solution require that you purchase devices to use the system? Does it have an Android or Apple application? Do you have to purchase NFC tags or RFID chips? Additional hardware can be a cost that adds up over time and should be something you plan for.
6. Can the software be used to manage supervisors?It's important to manage guards at their post while also having a tool that holds supervisors themselves accountable. As an owner and operations manager, you'll want to have the ability to track what posts your supervisors are visiting, which officers they are training, and their overall productivity throughout the shift.
7. Is there separate access for supervisors?Having distinct accounts for supervisors lets you customize permissions and make sure everyone sees only the information they need to know. It's also important to report items like employee reviews, post inspections, vehicle inspections, etc. in a system that keeps the supervisors accountable and productive.
8. Does the solution integrate with scheduling?Some startups and small businesses prefer to roll both scheduling and reporting into the same solution. We tend to advocate having separate solutions for scheduling and guard management because issues with scheduling can then spill over and mess up your reporting and management processes.
Remember to pick a solution that you can grow with. For example, if you decide to use a more robust scheduling system, do you want to have to change your reporting software as well?
9. Can you track time and attendance and integrate with payroll?An alternative to a full scheduling software is just to track these basics. Most solutions should allow you to track basic clock-in and clock-out times that can be passed over to the payroll department. This can be a great tool in that you end up paying officers based on the time actually worked rather than the time scheduled because there is increased accountability with a guard management solution.
10. How is customer support handled?What are the hours of support? Do they offer both phone and email support? Are there self-serve options (like a resource center)? Are there training tools available for guards, supervisors, dispatchers, and administrators?
The service associated with the software solution is just as important as the software itself. Especially if it is a multifaceted solution with complicated features, you want to know someone’s around to answer your questions and help you get the most out of your investment.