Wednesday 11th January 2017

12 things to consider when buying an Incident Response Software

12 things to consider when buying an incident response software


How are you trying to help in your organisation?

It is important to understand what in your organisation you are trying to fix before thinking about sourcing an appropriate incident response solution.

So identifying your organisation incident response needs is the first place to start:

  • Does your organisation have a problem getting information through to the right people during an incident?
  • Does your organisation struggle with responding to an incident in an effective manner?
  • Do your teams constantly struggle to access up to date documents, drawings, information etc.?

Once a more detailed plan has been identified, then you can start thinking about an incident response software that can help aid your organisation.

Have you explored in-house options?

In our experience that SharePoint, WebEx, Skype, Google Docs etc. all have the potential to solve some or all of your problems. In some cases, they are free (we like free too… shhhh!), but you may need an all in one solution and in that case you need to go out to the market and see what’s available.

Do you have the budget?

This is really important, remember software providers are busy too…and whilst I wouldn’t waste your time selling you something you don’t need, it’s only fair that you have your budget in place when you engage with one of them. If you don’t have budget, don’t give them the impression you do. Most people will have no problem if you simply explain that you’re researching your options and could be interested in their product as a possible solution – if anything, that conversation will prevent them from constantly calling you to buy their product.

Also, don’t be afraid to explain the issues you are trying to fix – remember we hear issues on a daily basis across a range of industries. Worst-case scenario, we will be professional enough to keep the discussion between us. Best-case scenario we may have a solution for you that worked for a similar customer.

Is your organisation ready?

If you’re going down the route of mobile incident response software, do your end users have company mobile phones that support apps. Many software providers have iPhone & Android Apps available. But maybe you need Windows Phone Apps?? Or god forbid…Blackberry Apps (…author shudders…).

In any case, find out quickly from your IT Team if they have any plans to specify a particular mobile platform going forward. If your organisation supports BYOD (Bring your own device), then a software provider with a “full stack” of mobile apps further narrows down your choices i.e. you need one that supports android, iPhone & Windows.

Have you done your research?

The buyer has never as educated as today’s buyer so utilise the myriad of tools available to you that are both quick and free!

Why not start a post on LinkedIn in one of the groups and get someone else’s opinion on what they use? Remember, using apps to respond to incidents is a relatively new concept so don’t expect too many responses.

Likewise, a quick Google search will give you food for thought. It goes without saying that you should have 2 or 3 providers in mind when you start to engage with the market. If nothing else, it will allow to weigh up feature sets & licencing models. Download brochures off their websites and view their videos etc.

Trade Shows & Exhibitions are another great way to educate yourself on what the market has to offer. Get a one to one demo, ask some questions, some the upcoming shows include the BCI World Conference in London in November & the Emergency Services Show in September.

Discover ICR™ features & benefits here >

Get a web demo booked before meeting in person

One of the ways to understand if a solution is the right fit for you is a web demo. Web Demos should take no more than 30-40 minutes and most software providers will schedule a monthly webinar, which you can register in advance and then attend online.

Ahead of the web demo (1 to 1) or webinar, speak with IT first, and make sure you can get the webinar software on your pc i.e. Skype, Google hangout, lync, WebEx, gotomeeting etc.…do this in advance to prevent you missing the demo.

Take note of the questions from other participants and use these in your next discussion with other providers.

Get a team together

Once you have narrowed down your search. You’ll need to assemble a small team to carry out the necessary due diligence on your selected software providers. You’ll need an end user(s), someone from IT, budget holder (if that is not you) and the team that will be involved in operationalizing the product. This knowledge in the room will no doubt ensure that you select the right solution but only if you clearly explain the problem you are trying to solve. Leverage the team’s experience, and you’re on the right road.

Another important point at this stage is making sure you do the due diligence early on in the engagement, make sure they at least meet your organisation’s data security requirements for third party software systems. More often than not your IT Team have an “IT Due Diligence Questionnaire”. Get your potential software providers to fill this up early on and avoid any showstoppers later on in the process.

Check out the Licensing Model

Check out the licence model i.e. is it a traditional or SAAS (software as a service) model. With traditional licencing models there tends to be a large upfront cost with an annual maintenance and support agreement paid annually…usually a percentage of the initial fee.

SAAS has become very popular over the past three years because it wraps up the software cost, hosting costs, mobile apps, support, maintenance and upgrades into one monthly / annual cost. Be conscious of how the licence fee might scale if your organization grows, or in turn shrinks for whatever reason.

This can be a minefield where different providers have different models so be careful. Get the pricing model down and then do some quick maths to understand the best and worst case price scenarios.

Understand the rollout project

Really important part, how are you deploying the software?? When time is your most precious commodity, a lot of software sales fall at the last hurdle due to the workload required to make the product operational.

Is the software provider going to assign a dedicated project manager for the rollout? If so does that person have the necessary domain experience as well as the software experience. It’s a point of principle in Incidentcontrolroom.com® that our team are first and foremost subject matter experts and secondly software experts. Software can be taught – experience can’t.

What team will be needed to go live with the product, and who will be doing the heavy lifting?? Can the software provider do this?

Training

What if any training is required i.e. is their training manuals, a support line or other means of getting up to speed? Is the software intuitive and user friendly? Can you have an internal team trained as super users and therefore minimize the reliance on the software provider?

Really important note, your team will need to use a piece of software to manage incidents in real time so the intuitiveness of the application is vital. Don’t underestimate the stress and pressure teams come under when responding to incidents. This may be further exacerbated by introducing software that is laborious and not user friendly.

Updating Documents, Contact numbers etc…

What plan exists without being kept up to date?? So when you choose to your new software the last thing you need to be doing is maintaining the system manually. Can your potential provider integrate with your existing systems thus minimizing the workload for you?

Upgrades…

Most incident response software providers have a product roadmap i.e. a list of features that have been requested from customers. More often than not these features are built into the project with very little say from others.

Many incident response software providers like ourselves, organize user group sessions twice a year where the customer base decide the on what features make the next release. If you don’t want feature request imposed upon you…this is one way of influencing product development.

Also, a incident response software provider who listens to their customers demonstrate a commitment to developing a really valuable product.

For more information on how ICR™ can help you contact us today to arrange a demo.