Choosing an abstract management software company is an important decision, and not one that most organizations undertake frequently. It’s a decision that should be durable. Once chosen, the software company should work for your organization for years to come.
Typically, many people are involved in the decision-making process, from academic participants to conference organizers. To help guide your process, here are a list of the six important questions stakeholders should ask potential companies before finalizing a decision.
1. How long are your company’s response times?
Even the most sophisticated software users will encounter problems from time to time. When that happens, you want a quick solution. Software providers have a team of people ready to help troubleshoot problems when they occur, and often track their response and resolution times. Find out what those times are. Ask how quickly the company you’re talking to turns job tickets.
2. What services do you typically add on to a client’s proposal?
This is an important question to ask to determine how much your organization will actually spend on the software when your package is finalized. Find out if your proposal includes, for example, a complete set of the reports you’ll need. Be aware of any “a la carte” charges. A good abstract management software company will work hard to ensure the proposal they give you has an accurate cost total up front.
3. What do your Project Managers do above and beyond implementing software?
The expectations of Project Managers vary from company to company. An excellent Project Manager will act as a collaborator and conference consultant to their clients. Look for a company who values the relationship that Project Managers cultivate with clients. You want solution providers, not simply software facilitators.
4. How flexible is your software?
Find out how configurable and customizable the software you’re interested in really is. For example, can text fields, reports and disclosures be easily altered to reflect the needs of your organization? The more configurable the software is, the better suited it is to your organization’s current and changing needs.
5. Is your software intuitive?
Ask for a demonstration of the software. Then, try out the software without the guidance of the sales staff, if possible. Remember, you’ll want your abstract management software to be simple to use for all your constituents, from researchers submitting work to the assistants helping your conference administrator.
6. What do you need from your clients?
Software isn’t magic. Software companies should let prospective clients know what they will need to provide. Clients should know what specific assets to have on hand – such as logos – as well as more general commitments, like dedicated staff time.
The software company you choose will become integral to the success of your conference, before, during and after the event. Asking some key questions of propsective suppliers before you make your final decision will ensure you select a company you can work with for many years.