Every year, I engage in a little ritual I like to call “rabbincally mandated spring cleaning” – in other words, turning my kitchen over for Passover. One of the most interesting things about pulling out my Passover dishes and pots each year is that I get to read year old newspapers. It is always rather comforting to read about some horrific event that was happening in the world a year ago and realize we survived it. This year, as I was taking out my Passover stuff and glancing over the year-old newspapers, I was struck with a thought. Everything has a history, even news stories. And sometimes, things that seem extremely important at one time turn out to be not so important later on.
Software has history. Especially the software that we use in our daily business life. And sometimes, in the urge to immediately solve a present issue with fascinating new software, we skip over history. Let’s say, two years ago, your office installed a up to the minute Practice Management System, such as Time Matters or TABS/Practice Master. After the pain and agony of initial setup, it was wonderful – a real step forward. But, fast forward two years and that wonderful practice management software system begins to look as antiquated as last year’s newspaper stories. You’re ready to move to The Cloud – chuck out the old, in with the new.
The problem is, new is not always the best solution right now. Cloud Systems have a fascinating and bright future. Yet, in many ways, they are not there yet (See Seth Rowland’s article detailing the ways Cloud Practice Management needs to improve in a coming issue of Technolawyer). Any consultant worth his or her salt will look carefully at your system in place before pulling you into The Cloud. If they are really doing their job, they will suggest ways that your current system can be improved and be made more useful without chucking it. Software is a big investment and not one to be taken lightly.
Any software that has been used by your business over a period of time has wriggled and adjusted itself to your way of doing business. That adjustment has real value. So, before you get terrifically excited about the best and brightest new thing, sit down, relax, breathe and look at what is already in place. It may be possible that by engaging an expert, you can make your current software perform new tricks.
Take an inventory of your software. If you can, find the wish list or requirements list that you created when you first bought your practice management system. Go through the list and check the boxes that have been (a) satisfied by your system, (b) have not been satisfied and (c) could be satisfied with changed procedures or customization. This is a time to evaluate. If you never made a requirements list, create one now with those 3 columns. It is very important to include not just your gripes and complaints, but also the things you like about your current system.
Then, take a look at the alternative products. Yes, you can focus on the things about the product that are solving your current complaints. However, it is also important to check whether the new solution is comparable or better than your current solution at the items your current solution does well. As always, if you need help in making this evaluation, we have a team of specialists who can help you out.
Chag Pesach Sameach