Checklist: 6 must haves to find the perfect scheduling software
The time to choose the next scheduling tool has come, and you are probably lost between all the scheduling software solutions on the market. But somewhere, there is the perfect tool to schedule your resources. All you need to do is put these 6 not-so-obvious elements in your checklist when selecting the best resource scheduling software.
Be clear about your needs
Let's be real, you don't need the absolute best; all you need is the scheduling solution that fits all your needs the best. It seems obvious but if you don't evaluate your needs properly, the chances you end up with the inappropriate scheduling solution are great. Ask yourself all the right questions: what are you going to schedule and/or manage with the resource scheduling tool? Would you rather like a SaaS or on premise solution? How many users?
Another reason to evaluate your needs is that most scheduling solutions have packages that would make you pay for features you don't really need. If you are able to express you needs accurately, you will get the features you need only, and save money at the same time.
And STOP losing money because of double-bookings! You should really consider getting a "report and analytics" feature because if scheduling your resources is what you are looking for, you would probably be interested in getting some strong strategic decisions out of it. You would be surprised by the kind of analytics a scheduling tool can provide.
Look for 3 words: flexibility, intuitive, design
Unless your work process specifically requires it, we wouldn't recommend a rigid scheduling tool. The right scheduling tool should be totally customizable. Think of it as a tool box that would enable you to schedule any resource. Choose a scheduling tool that will adapt to your processes and organizational style and not the other way around.
Often overlooked, the intuitive and design part of a scheduling tool is essential. Keep in mind that the scheduling tool is going to be your everyday, or almost, work tool, so you should go for something easy-to-use, with a nice design and graphics. And if you are not the main user, you wouldn't want the users to work with something unfriendly; they will get bored of it.
Think about configuration and training
This may sound like a detail but it is actually really important. Most of these scheduling solutions require consulting and training to help you get around the solution. Here, the quality of the service matters as much as the quality of the software. Call them, talk to them and see if they have good interpersonal skills.
Don't forget about pricing
Of course there's always the budget matter. Does the price define the quality? We personally don't think so; in this area, expensive does not necessarily mean best quality. We wouldn't advise you to go for something too big and very often too expensive, if you don't need it; you wouldn't even like using it. But once again, it depends on what you need. Get your budget and requirements straight and then negotiate, you can get a powerful scheduling tool for a very fair price.
Ask for a demo before the free trial
If you followed the previous tips, you must have found the perfect scheduling tool, in theory. How about in practice (yes, like in the real world)? You could ask for a 21-days free trial - which most software companies will generously grant you - but people usually don't use it that much. You get 21 free days on an empty schedule you don't really know how to use, how are you supposed to evaluate its full potential? However, you could ask for a demo. Getting a demo is the best way to see the software from your own perspective and with your own scheduling problematic. That's how you will know, for a fact, that you found the perfect software, and - lucky you - most of software editor provide customized demos.