The recent few years have witnessed the role of a childcare service provider evolve considerably when it comes to a parents and child’s expectations and the educators and caregivers obligations. With multiple competing priorities such as caring for the child, communicating with parents and regulatory requirements to comply with, finding an optimum balance between the both to then offer a nurturing and supportive environment can be tricky for the childcare staff.
So whilst certain aspects of childcare cannot be changed or automated, others can! And this is when childcare must think of adopting technology to the best of their advantage to streamline their operations and automate administration, thus freeing up more time and resources for what matters most; caring for children!
With a plethora of childcare software in the market, navigating your way through can feel like being stuck in a maze if you lose sight of where and why you started the search in the first place.
So here are 4 things to consider when you embark on the important journey of choosing a daycare management software for your service:
- Business goals and objectives
This is often a good starting point that will require you to take a step back and see the bigger picture in its totality; that is, what is it that you are trying to achieve in the short, medium and long term by deploying a childcare software. If it takes a village to raise a child, well, start talking to the villagers! Talk to your staff to ascertain their pain points and what needs to be eliminated or addressed from an admin perspective. What are the most time-consuming tasks? Also, a good idea at this point to run parents surveys to understand what they may be looking for and would like to see more of when it comes to communication? Different software offers different features so at this point making a list of ‘Need to have’ vs. ‘Nice to have’ features would be helpful to filter out and narrow down to a few vendors.
2. Budgetary constraints
Whilst good to not have budgets as a constraint, for most people sadly that’s is the reality and will ultimately play an important role in determining the solution you choose finally’ the cost vs. the features. So at this stage, consider how much time and money will be saved by adopting a software solution to take care of some of the daily administrative tasks. How soon can you achieve a return on investment; both monetary and non-monetary such as time saved on tracking attendance and Filling in daily worksheets? Also, consider ways that you can save by talking to your chosen vendors on the discounts and packages that can be offered to your service. Is it cheaper to pay monthly or annually? Is the vendor offering you a flat fee or pay per module service?
3. Service and Support
Adopting a new childcare management software means a learning curve; whether deep or not depends on the users but also on the level of service offered by the childcare management software provider. To investigate the amount and level of after sales support and training that is offered. Consider whether there are options to partake in free training whether face to face or in the form of webinars. Does the childcare management software offer a rich and reliable resource around blogs, tips, ‘how to articles’ to help you navigate the software? Do they have a support team to talk to over the phone or do they have a web chat feature available? What methods of communication are offered and the average response time?
4. Request references
The best solutions often always come through from referrals so it pays to speak to existing customers of the child care management software providers. This will be helpful when it comes to understanding what to expect, the average rollout and implementation time, the hiccups to expect as standard and the service/solutions you can expect. Ask references about the strengths and weaknesses of the software, what differences the software has been able to make for their centre and where there might be room for improvement.
In light of all of the above; do remember every childcare service provider is as unique as the children they care for, so whilst a child care management software might work wonders for one service provider, that might not be the case for another. So, go back to the basics and asses your own needs and business goals first.