Finding the best case management software to meet your agency's size and mission can be challenging as social service agencies expand and new case management software enters the market. If your organization wants to manage its caseload more effectively, we hope to be able to provide some assistance and direction. This is a significant choice that, quite honestly, has the potential to change how your organization operates.
- Since case management software is the foundation and framework of all your agency’s functions it must be a perfect fit.
- It is a substantial financial investment that cannot be repeated every couple of years because it is no longer able to handle the workload. It is important to get it right the first time and ensure that any new system is expandable.
- You cannot suspend services for six months to install new case management software. Any new software must be up and running quickly.
- It is counterproductive to try to tailor functions to stock report forms. Report forms must be customizable and appropriate to your agency’s functions. Quality reports are a key feature of any good database system.
- It is no longer sufficient to run an enterprise case management system on office computers. Any new system must be smart cloud based and adaptable to all mobile formats. It must also be guaranteed secure.
- Finally, don’t purchase software at your own risk. The vendor must offer robust technical support and training.
These are the generic requirements every agency will encounter when it comes time to upgrade case management software.
Individual agencies must tailor these requirements to their own needs. Obviously, a small nonprofit working with five caseworkers will need a less robust system than a state agency coordinating the efforts of two hundred case workers providing a wide variety of services to the same clientele. When selecting new software for your agency, consider each of the following areas:
- BUDGET – Define the range you can afford before contacting potential vendors.
- SCHEDULE – Carefully establish realistic timeframes for the implementation process.
- FUTURE GOALS – Consider anticipated growth, staff and associated expectations.
- RESOURCES – Evaluate overall IT requirements.
- FUNCTIONAL NEEDS – Carefully evaluate your agency’s organizational complexity and workflow complexity.
When all this research is done, it is time to look at individual vendors to decide which one fits your needs. The best way to decide on case management software is to take it for a test drive. Schedule a demonstration with each vendor you are considering. Let key stakeholders and employees do the driving. Do not make the decision at the top of the organization. Be sure you get input from the “users”. They know best.
Finally, make the vendor you choose a partner. Your case management software vendor will be actively involved in the efficient running of your agency for many years to come. If you don’t get good professional “vibes” when evaluating a vendor, do not buy software from them. Only potential lifetime “partners” are good candidates.
What To Do Next?
If you're interested in figuring out where to start - you may want to consider two of our guides:
Good luck in your research and let us know how we can help!
This article was originally published in July 2017, but has since been updated.