The CROSStrax team attends Private Investigators conferences across the country. In talking with PI’s, the most often asked question is
“How do I choose a case management system?”
The simple answer is to try the system out, but be cautious, they are not all the same and cost can increase quickly. Use the tips below to help choose a system that is right for you and your company.
1. The Company
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your colleagues and people you trust in the industry. Be wary of a startup. You do not want to be a guinea pig while a company works out bugs and kinks that come with any new software development project. The system will be the backbone of your business, you cannot afford for there to be constant ups and downs.
Cost is an important factor for any investigator. Look for flat rate pricing. If there are a lot of “items” listed in the pricing plan or the plan is long and complicated, buyer beware. Take into consideration the restrictions. A price can be listed at $99 per month, but additional costs can be incurred if you create too many cases, have more than 1 person logged into the system, upload a large file, create an additional report template. A $59 monthly fee can turn into well above $100. Nobody is a fan of “fees”. When you see setup fees, one-time fees, case fees, be sure you are aware of how the final price could elevate quickly.
3. Features and Tools
Good systems will save you time and in turn save you money. Investigators want to be able to save a least an hour a week on administrative tasks so the system essentially pays for itself. Business owners should want to and will receive a return on any investment. Look for items that make the job easier, save time, and cut down on time spent on reports, billing, searching for information, updating the client, and keeping up with cases and assignments.
4. Customization Options
Customization is critical for many reasons. Your PI business is entirely different than the next. One may focus on domestic investigations, while another investigator may do criminal defense work. What if you are doing insurance investigations and want to decide to market and pursue legal or domestic investigations? Look for systems that allow for customization to meet the needs if your business evolves or changes in the future.
5. Mobile capabilities
One of the main benefits of a case management system is having access to your case information, photos, video, report, etc on the go. Being able to access the information anywhere at anytime on a wide variety of devices is crucial. As we all know, it is convenient to look something up on your phone or tablet without having to drag out a laptop. Having desktop based software only allows access to investigative information when seated in front a particular computer. What happens when you are in the field or at the courthouse? Look for something that is web based and can be accessed from any computer as well as your mobile devices.