What to look for in an online application management software

Competition Tips|John Haverkamp|December 14, 2015

You have made the decision to ditch the old paper applications that you have been using for years. Now that you are ready to bring your application process into the cloud you need to look at all of the different options you have. There are a host of options out there to help you move your application online. With so many choices out there you need to think about what your process really needs. This is a list of things to keep in mind as you start to test out different software and processes for your application.

Easy Process

One of the best parts of moving your application online is going to be your experience with the process. You want to look for software that is going to be easy for you to use. When you are testing different software you will want to think about all of the stages of interaction you are going to have with the software. How will you be building the application? How will you edit your application? How will you review the applications once you’ve received them? Make sure to think about all of the steps you will be using this software for. This will help you make the best decision when you pick your software.

Modifiable

Make sure to take a look at your needs. Examine the toolset of the software you are considering to make sure that it is strong enough to accomplish everything you require of it. If you find that a system does not fulfill all of your goals check to see how modifiable the software can be. Any good software company will be open to discussing the options they have to make their toolset work for you. You want to find a flexible and adaptable system that will create the best process for your unique needs. There is no reason to compromise your process.

Ease of Use for Applicants

One of the primary reasons to move your application online is to simplify the process itself. Why would you want an application process that comes with its own set of headaches and problems? You need an application that is going to be easy for your applicants to understand, interact with, and submit. You don’t want to have an application program that is difficult and cumbersome to use. Any hiccup in the process will stop applicants. They will discover every difficulty you can imagine, as well as a few you would never think of. The easiest way to deal with this is to have a program that is simple and easy to use. You should spend time thinking of how your applicants will interact with your process. This way you can predict and prevent any issues that will occur. The best way to save time in the future is to plan now.

Accessibility

How will you be sharing your application? You will want to find software that can fit your marketing and access strategies. Look for flexibility in the access process. Will you want to host the application on your own website or on a different site? You will also want to look for a company that can design the application around the look and feel of you and your group. To make the process as smooth as possible for your applicants it is important that they can see your information.

Security

What kind of information is you application gathering? Do you need to get someone’s name, address, email, etc.? The security of this data is very important. Who will control the data once it has been collected? This is a big question you will have to consider. When you are looking into site to build and host your application make sure to ask them. Research where your data will be stored. There are innumerable servers and hosts that a company can be using. Make sure that your data is stored safely. You should also make sure that you know how the data will be used after the application. Make sure that the data won’t be used by the company that creates and hosts your application.

Reliability

Once you have created your application process, designed your forms, and protected your data you want to make sure that your application stays up and running. After all of the hard work and time you put into your application, the last thing you want is for the whole process to grind to a halt due to “technical issues” like down servers and faulty programs. You should look into a company that has a strong history of reliability. Make sure that the program is going to be a tool for you rather than an obstacle.

Customer Service

Once you have found reliable software you want to make sure you are prepared for anything. Make sure that you find software that has a dedicated and talented customer service team. A customer service team can make a great product spectacular. They will be able to train you on the software, answer any questions during the application process, and help you with any issues that arise.

Evaluation

You will also want to know how the application software allows you to look at the applications once you have received them. As an administrator is the data easy to search, sort, and manage. You’ll want to be able to treat your application as easily an easily navigable database. You’ll also want to think about any reports that you’ll want to create and access. Make sure that the software is capable of it already or that those reports can be added. You will also want to think about how the applications will be reviewed. Make sure that you can easily give access to anyone you are relying on. If you have a team that will be evaluating the applicant, you’ll want to make sure you can put evaluation forms in your application software.

New Features and Functionality

This is a rule you can apply to any software you are considering, including application software. Is the software team working to add new features and functionality? Even if the platform fills every need you have, make sure they are still trying to add features and functionality. This is a sign of a team and a company that is motivated, ready to grow, and working hard on making the best software possible. If the software hasn’t been moving forwards you should be wary of a stagnant product and team.

Cost

The cost of your application software can vary widely. Like most software you generally get what pay for. The cheaper the software the more you should expect to handle on your own. You might also be dealing with less reliable software, and you may end up creating a negative experience for your team and your applicants. Firms that have contracts or monthly fees are usually the most robust, responsive, and reliable engines. Take a look at your process and determine what level of support you’ll need as well as what level of expertise you want to convey to your applicants.