Ensuring a Positive ROI

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Ensuring a Positive ROI

Top 5 questions to ask when considering

the Return on Investment (ROI)

of public safety software


Top 5 questions to ask when measuring a

return on a technology investment

When searching for a records management system that is powerful, reliable, and easy to use, public

safety agencies of all sizes should consider their potential Return on Investment (ROI), or Total Cost of

Ownership (TCO). Unfortunately, measuring ROI with a software solution can be complicated because

it is difficult to quantify the value of officer and community safety, time, and efficiency. There are

also traditional questions of value to consider, including how agencies can ensure the product they

purchase maintains its value and provides access to the latest technology.

2 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


1. Officer Safety

How will access to real-time data

improve officer safety?

When an agency begins to evaluate the value

of public safety software systems, the topic

of officer safety is not always the first on the

list of things to consider. Overlooking officer

safety can be a mistake, because arming field

personnel with information can have a big

impact on the outcome of a situation.

When officers have to rely on radio contact

during traffic stops or for requesting backup

when responding to incidents, it burdens

dispatch resources and may not properly

equip responders with critical situational

information. Even when field personnel have

mobile computer access to their agency’s

records, that information may be limited or

may require logging in to multiple programs.

Both situations may cause unnecessary delays

and can potentially leave officers unprepared

if responding to a violent situation.

Giving field officers reliable information in

real time can better prepare them for any

situation, even before an officer has left the

patrol car. Access to a completely integrated

database of names, vehicles, and addresses,

along with constantly updated Computer-

Aided Dispatch (CAD) information, can help

responding personnel make smarter decisions

in the field. For example, an officer can be

prepared when encountering someone who

has had prior violent incidents with police, or

when there are repeated domestic violence

calls to an address. Access to such records

allows the field personnel to respond more

thoughtfully to a situation or request backup.

A fully integrated CAD system can also inform

field personnel about the status and locations

of other responding units – without ever

needing to pick up the radio. Streamlining

communication can positively impact the

outcome of any situation, including during

large-scale events.

Takeaway: Consider how

officers in the field can

benefit from real-time access

to critical information.

3 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


2. Time and Efficiency

Does the system have an intuitive workflow that can

replace multiple processes or tools?

It is essential for agencies to find a software

system that will help maximize the resources

they have. Many public safety agencies are

bogged down by inefficient systems that

require data to be entered multiple times in

multiple programs.

One of the best ways to see a return on

investment is to make sure a system shares

data across all modules and has a sensible

and effective workflow, not only for system

administrators, but for dispatchers and officers

as well. An integrated system can help agencies

share data between departments, which

can lead to better decision making, boost

investigations, and provide powerful searching

capabilities. It also assists the end user by

requiring data be entered only once.

Agencies that can spend fewer resources on

administrative tasks are able to focus more

resources on patrol and investigating crimes, as

well as connecting with the community.

Takeaway: Search for a

system that will promote

more effective police work

by storing data in one place.

4 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


3. Customer Service

Will the vendor’s customer service and support teams

respond quickly enough for agency needs?

When factoring the overall cost of a system, it

is important to consider everything that will be

required to ensure a successful implementation

and lasting usability. Agencies may find they

lack training resources or cannot access

customer service when needed if their vendor

isn’t invested in the relationship after the sale.

Customer service doesn’t just include dealing

with potential issues when the system is

actually in use. A committed vendor will

offer a number of ways to access help and

training, online and over the phone, at all

times. In addition to technical support, it is

important to think about the broad reach

of a company’s support when considering

software, from implementation to training

to project management. When researching

vendors, agencies should look for a high level of

service and success during the implementation

process – a process that can take months – by

looking for a vendor that provides industrycertified

instructors and assigns a single point

of contact for questions and concerns after

implementation.

Another point to evaluate is if the vendor offers

educational opportunities, such as events, to

offer ongoing value to customers. Not only can

conferences provide educational opportunities

like hands-on instruction and information

on software updates and new products, they

create an atmosphere of interconnectivity with

other customers. This provides the opportunity

to network with other customers who have

been in the same position and are willing to

offer system tips and best practices with the

software.

Takeaway: Look for a vendor that is committed to customer

service, support, and education, and even helps foster a

network of customers for a better return on investment.

5 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


4. Software Updates

Does the vendor regularly provide new technology?

Public safety agencies that do not have

access to the latest technology are at a real

disadvantage in the fight against crime.

Whether these agencies work with a vendor

that does not support their software with

critical upgrades and updates on a regular basis,

or the updates they do receive do not positively

affect their workflow, the return on their

investment diminishes as technology advances.

Having access to the latest technological

advancements and trends can help agencies

do what they do better by allowing them to

respond faster and smarter. When considering

software updates and a positive return on

investment, the key isn’t only about owning

supported software – it’s also a matter of having

a say in what those upgrades should be. Vendors

that invite feedback and participation in the

direction of the product improve their customers’

return on investment by refining the product in

ways that users will actually find useful.

Takeaway: Ask critical

questions about what

to expect with upgrades

and how frequently they

occur. Additionally, ask

how much of the software’s

functionality is determined

by user feedback.

6 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


5. Company Stability

Does the software vendor

have staying power?

Choosing public safety software is a longterm

decision, and time and money can be

wasted if the selected vendor purchased goes

out of business or decides to stop supporting

software. Additionally, if the vendor supports

products in other vertical industries, the

money an agency spends on software

and maintenance fees may not go toward

improving the public safety software they use.

With this in mind, it is important for agencies

to search for a company that has been around

for a long time and has a long-term tenured

customer base with low attrition. This will

help an agency establish a level of trust

with a vendor. Agencies should consider the

average length of time customers stay with

specific vendors, indicating how many of

their customers have been satisfied for years

or even decades. Stable companies are able

to support critical public safety systems with

technical support, knowledge, and training,

and are deeply invested in their customers’

success. Additionally, if the company is still

growing, it can dedicate more resources

toward improving the software as technology

needs and standards change, which helps

their customers stay on the forefront of that

technology to help fight crime. Long-standing

vendors can have deep connections in the

industry, actively participate in standards

committees, and constantly invest in new

technologies.

Takeaway: Dig into the

company’s history, as well

as its future direction.

Additionally, ask about

customer longevity and how

many of its customers are a

result of referrals.

7 | Ensuring a Positive ROI


For more than 30 years, Spillman Technologies has provided

public safety professionals with innovative software

solutions and reliable customer service. Today, Spillman’s

integrated public safety software is used by more than 1,500

police departments, sheriff’s offices, communication centers,

fire departments, and correctional facilities nationwide.

www.spillman.com | info@spillman.com | 800.860.8026

4625 Lake Park Blvd., Salt Lake City, Utah 84120

Copyright © Spillman Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Specifications are subject to change without notice. V01 08.15

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