“Finally, we can say ‘farewell’ to our legacy system,” you exclaim.
Your supervisors seated around the conference table smile and nod.
Today’s a big day for your team.
You’ve been using the same systems on your property since its opening in 2007.
Every piece of technology used for your property’s operation is a legacy system.
From your maintenance software to the spreadsheet used for managing operational incidents.
You knew it was time to advance your operation.
But, your biggest fear was being replaced.
You’ve been running this property since it opened, and if nothing changed – you were next in line for ‘replacement.’
You want to create an ever-lasting legacy, not depart as a legacy leader known for complacency and out-of-date methods.
Nowadays, there are a plethora of progressive software solutions available.
Many surpass the functionality of your current “solutions.”
- Real-time communications for world-class execution
- Web-based is a requirement for global operations
- Digital documentation to reduce risk
- Reporting for analysis to continuously improve the experience
To compete in this landscape, they must fulfill the needs of your property.
You know this more than ever now.
But, as you started your implementation process did you stop to review one critical characteristic of your solutions provider, that you might’ve missed?
We’re sure it met all your internal needs.
But, did you ever review the track record of your solutions provider?
We’re not talking about credibility nor are we referring to their customer listing.
While these are essential qualities, we’re referring to long-term innovation.
Yes, they’re not a legacy system now.
The question is, where will your new solution be in two years, five years, or ten years?
Did you just select your next out-of-date software solution?!
How innovative is your solutions provider?
Don't Be Blinded by Functionality
It’s interesting to us.
We hear about new technology solutions all the time.
We conduct research often to keep our solutions as front-line choices.
There are many high-tech solutions in the marketplace.
Most have that one unique feature that catches the attention of property operations.
The solution does something no one else’s does – for that moment.
Then, when the competition catches up to their solution, the provider fades away.
The competitive landscape shifts and the truly innovative solutions provider prevails.
Because they have a more robust ‘solution’ to offer, and they can quickly adapt to the needs of customers.
Of course, it’s essential to implement a progressive solution.
But, you don’t want to blind yourself by that one cool feature.
You must see the big picture.
Doing so is a part of your role.
Does your solutions provider continue to innovate their solutions, now and into the future?
This is a crucial question that you must always ask.
A Solutions Provider That Never Stops Innovating
Approaching a solutions provider for a long-term relationship is a critical task.
The decision you make will affect your operation for – at least – the next two to three years.
If the solution does not work to your advantage, you must then make a shift to another solution.
That’s not a process you want to go through again, that quickly, right?
That’s why you must work with a genuinely innovative solutions provider.
We’re going to share several characteristics of these types of vendors, so you know what sets them apart.
Each step of their process helps you create an operational foundation that can adapt to and take advantage of their cutting-edge software.
We categorized the characteristics into three areas of focus.
Take notice of how long-term innovation plays to your advantage in number three.
- Start with Structured Onboarding, Implementation & User Training
- Expect Ongoing Support
- Rely on a Never-Ending Product & Professional Relationship for Success
Start with Structured Onboarding, Implementation & User Training
This stage is critical to your success.
It’s the start of building your solution’s foundation.
Your provider’s onboarding, implementation, and user training involve as much care as their software.
- Overcoming implementation challenges and barriers must be at the forefront of a first-class execution and training program.
- Utilizing both online and onsite training allows your team to receive step-by-step guidance for successful setup and long-term use. You will be accountable and so will your team.
- Users are expertly trained according to the process you define. You want to know everything is moving smoothly. You want steps taken and completed the way you need. Your provider will understand your goals.
Once this stage is completed, you’ll know you have a foundation conducive to efficient internal execution.
Remember, innovation must advance from a starting point.
The stronger your starting point is, the better your operation will adapt to innovation.
Expect Ongoing Support
You will expand your wants and needs as you use your new system.
You need the resources that allow you to do that.
You also want a great support team to support your efforts.
Your solutions provider must provide a Customer Success department to take your team from users to power users.
The chances are, your solutions provider is advancing their software even while you’re implementing the new solution.
You’ll eventually have to catch up to the rest of the world’s greatest properties.
This department will move you to a level playing field.
Your provider will have plenty of experience working with similar customers.
This quality pays off for new customers because it offers access to various use cases and experience.
- Access to online training that’s available to you for as long as you are a customer. Does someone on your team need to learn how to use a newly released function? Your provider will make scheduling online training accessible.
- An online support suite is a part of your long-term optimization. Take advantage of your provider’s online resources: references and guides for your team to use when they need.
- Emergency support is vital too. We also know your work can take you into the late hours often or it might run 24/7. Reaching support should be easy, especially if something is preventing you from using your solution.
The bottom line is that your innovative solutions provider is only as successful as the sum of all its customers.
Innovation starts with the solution but ends with the customer.
Rely on a Never-Ending Product & Professional Relationship for Success
You know that you’ve found yourself an innovative solutions provider when they’re always asking: “OK, what’s next?”
Customer feedback is essential to a preferred solutions provider.
This stage is where developing innovation starts.
Continuously asking for feedback is a characteristic that will set your provider apart from the other “innovative” solutions providers.
You’re contributing to the innovation.
The solution is improving based on your needs as a user.
You directly influence which way the needle of innovation moves.
- Technology and software evolve quickly. There is no reason why you should be left in the dust because you just purchased a solution last week or last month or even last year. Unlimited software updates that automatically push to your solution keep you ahead alongside your solutions provider. Clear tutorials show you how to take advantage of each advancement. You never have to worry about being out-of-date or managing an old system again.
- You want a user community filled with industry professionals and active users that work together with your provider to stay at the forefront and grow the cutting-edge solutions you all use. Bringing great minds together to share best practices and insight is critical to the longevity of an innovative solution.
Over to You
Proactive operations employ world-leading technology to maximize their performance. But, to maintain this status, they require the help of innovative solutions providers.
Evaluate the solutions provider you use for your property with the intention of long-term advancement. You need a vendor partner that will never stop innovating for and with you.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.