At the time of writing this blog, there are 27 registered Child Care Management System software providers in Australia. For a child care director who is either starting a new service or has existing CCMS software and is thinking about switching to another provider, there’s A LOT to choose from. Coupled with the fact that all of the CCMS software providers structure their offerings differently from each other, it can be hard to compare providers. All registered providers meet the minimum standard set by the Department of Social Services to submit information to make claims against Child Care Benefits, Child Care Rebate, Inclusion Support etc. So which one do you choose and how do you know which one suits your child care business best? This blog post outlines four steps that can help you easily compare your top choices and come out the other end with a clear winner.
Step 1: Consider which factors are important to you
In our experience we think the below seven factors are the top questions you should be asking yourself when choosing a CCMS software.
- How easy is it to use?
- Does it keep all my data secure?
- What is the support like if I have a problem? (24 hours? Between 9am-5pm?)
- Does is integrate with my other tools?
- Is the training they provide what I need?
- Do they have tools that actually help me manage my business?
- Is it good value for money?
Of course every child care service is unique so don’t forget to add in factors specific to your service or replace ones we’ve suggested if they’re not as important to you. Try to keep it to no more than ten.
For each of these factors you need to decide two to three elements you will score on. Decide how important they are relative to one another and then lay them all out on a table. This is how you will grade each vendor. We have compiled a sample table that you can use as a starting point. You can download a free copy with our information pack ‘Four Steps to finding the right CCMS solution provider’.
Step 2: Set yourself a realistic time frame to evaluate each solution
You probably have time to seriously look at three vendors. Don’t let this task drag out. Dedicate time to it and get it done. You’ll always be busy, there will always be things that interrupt you.
Just remember this is important to get right from the beginning. You won’t regret the time you invest here.
Step 3: Evaluate
Send out your table to your evaluation team. It’s always best that everyone scores independently and once everyone is done, meet to discuss the scores. We recommend not to take an average on each score, instead delve deeper. If someone scored much higher or lower ask them to explain why. They might have thought about something that you hadn’t even considered. Once that is done, agree as a group what the consensus score is.
Step 4: Decide
Firstly, look at what everyone has voted as most important. Then look at the scores for each of the providers. Your front-runners will be vendors that have the best score on what you consider to be the most important factors.
You may find that there is a clear winner or perhaps it’s very close. No matter what the result ALWAYS ask to speak to one or two existing customers so you can gain some real life context. After that you should be left with the CCMS software that best suits your child care service’s needs.
If you’re starting a new child care service or you’re looking to switch to new CCMS software, don’t let the selection process of a vendor weigh you down. Make it easier on yourself by downloading our free SmartGuide ‘Four steps to finding the right CCMS solution provider’. You’ll receive instructions as well as a sample spreadsheet that will show you how to grade each factor and the questions you should be considering to help you rank accordingly.