In the past few years there has been a shift in the software industry to cloud based business management software. The benefits of having a cloud based software are numerous and include easily accessible information, ability to integrate with other systems, and bringing together all departments with one system. Migrating software should not be taken lightly; however, in many cases the benefits far outweigh the upfront costs, employee training period, and data migration.
Unsure when migration is needed? Here are our most common questions asked when moving to a cloud based business management software:
Will I Be Locking Into a Contract Agreement?
Short answer, it depends on the software. In past years, companies like Basecamp, Simparrel, and custom in-house solutions, have offered all-or-nothing platforms that are self contained. These platforms don’t interact with other software, making it difficult to transfer or incorporate another platform or feature. Recently, however, companies like Podio and Google Cloud have turned to using open-ended platforms that are able to connect to and integrate with other software. This allows software engineers to use it as a base platform and then tie in other systems and features, so it’s truly customizable to fit any need.
If you ever decide to migrate away from your main platform, data can be exported into an Excel format. We recommend using a database administrator to transfer and store your data, as the process differs from platform to platform. Having an experienced administrator manage your data can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run, as the risk of losing your data is significantly lessened. Not only can you save money using a qualified administrator, they will begin to really understand your key performance indicators and learn how to leverage that into better processes and business decisions leading to revenue growth in the long run.
Keep in mind that when selecting your new platform, an open API (Application Programming Interface) is necessary for the software engineer or developer to extract data and create custom coded workflows, data flows, and automations. Doing this ensures that you can migrate platforms in the future. Be wary of any platforms that asks you to submit a support ticket to get your data, as some companies can hold your data hostage. You’ll also want to pay attention to updates to the platform as they can sometimes remove a feature you depended on, or even move to a business model where they do hold your data hostage. Typically this will happen when the company that owns the software is consistently non-profitable and an investor is looking to recoup their earnings.
Is My Data Secure?
The majority of software out on the market has at least a username and password, and typically will also allow for email to reset that password. Some platforms have multiple expanded security features and practices in place which include, but are not limited to: two factor authentication (getting a text to your phone with a confirmation code to finish the login process) and time stamped codes that cycle every fifteen seconds used to complete the login. However, if your company stores information like reoccurring payments, confidential information, OR health records, you’ll want to double check that the software you’re using matches your industry security policies and practices (PCI, IRS, or HIPPA respectively).
Using a password manager significantly decreases your chance of a data breech. We recommend LastPass because it doesn’t use plain-text passwords that can be tracked. Many password managers include a password generator, which provides a random assortment of letters, numbers, and characters. Passwords should not be used more than once. Ideally, all of your employees would have randomly generated passwords for all of their logins. This is the most secure way to make sure that your data is safe.
Will Your System Integrate With My System?
Yes. System integration has gained popularity over the past few years, allowing more and more systems to work with each other. The vast majority of cloud based software allows for such integrations using an open API. If you aren’t sure if a system is compatible with another, just ask. We have been beta and alpha testers for many APIs over the years, and most of the time it is as simple as asking. Sometimes a system will have a limited API where it isn’t available to anyone, but if you bring on someone with a solid development background they will provide access.
Can I White Label the Software?
This is most commonly asked with larger companies wanting to make sure not only the customers get a branded experience, but also the employees are looking at what seems to be a cohesive system. Cyfe, like some systems, allows users to completely customize their software without any indication of it’s platform. Many systems, like ZenDesk, allow you to insert your company’s branding and logo, while maintaining a small “Powered by Zendesk” at the bottom of the screen. The majority of systems offer white labeling as a desirable feature, but if you’re using a system where it’s not allowed, it’s typically due to technical limitations. Cloud based systems like Podio need to account for all users instead of a subset of users i.e. employees, so white labeling is not an option.
How Well-Supported Is the Platform?
Almost any platform out there these days will have some sort of first party support. The majority of these come in a help desk style format where you fill out a web form with your issue and an email, and then in about 24-48 hours you’ll get an email response. This is great for some smaller scale businesses, but when an issue can cost you for every minute that it is happening, this tier is not as robust as is needed.
When you are researching a platform, you need to make sure it has the support you need, and if the first party of the platform isn’t able to give you what you need- they will often look to third parties to deliver this as a service. In Podio’s case, there is a robust partner network of companies around the world who are passionate about the platform and the opportunities it brings. These partners sometimes have teams of people managing an single client account to provide not only prompt and accurate responses, but to take Podio to the next level by integrating and extending the platform until it works for you.