A Business Perspective: PI Case Management Systems

Question Marks

Does my company need a case management system?  Which case management system is right for me?  What should I pay for a case management system?  What features do I need?  Which is better software based or web based?  How secure is my data?   In our latest blog we offer answers to these questions as well as advice on the relatively new industry of Private Investigation Case Management Systems (CMS).

We have reviewed five aspects of a PI business and how they relate to a CMS.

The Office

A CMS should help the user save time and stay organized.  If you spend any amount of time looking for information, searching through files, entering data in Excel spreadsheets or writing notes on a dry erase board, it may be time to explore your options.  The cost of a CMS can be offset by you being able to bill out additional hours that will be saved as a result of implementing a CMS.  Most systems have a free trial period.  Try them and see which one meets the needs of your business.  Consider these valuable tips.  Determine if the system is compatible on all potential platforms that you, your staff and clients may use, including PC, Mac and mobile devices.  The system is worthless to you if your users are unable to access it because they prefer using a Mac or an Android tablet for example.  See what customizations are available.  You should be able to brand the system so your logo appears throughout.  Look for features such as case scheduling, calendars, and automatic e-mails that allow you to save time and in turn make more money.

The Field

The ability for investigators and vendors to access case information in the field is one of the most important features.  The time saved by not having to constantly e-mail reports, information, photos, videos and other information to investigators and vendors working a case for you is a very important time saving feature.  Be sure the system can be viewed easily and efficiently on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.  This feature is critical when a subject needs to be identified or a piece of information is needed while in the field.  Be cautious of a CMS that in order for you to use the system requires the “Download” of a program to your computer or is described as “Stand Alone”.  Some portion of your data may not be accessible from the field or on a mobile device.

The Business

Most systems provide unlimited client access which is a big advantage for some companies.  Your clients may have the ability to log in, assign cases, review case data, and keep track of cases they have assigned.  If you decide to implement a CMS it opens up a huge marketing opportunity for your business.  First you can “announce” the new system to prospects as well as conducting a “roll out” to existing clients.  Now you have the opportunity for some face time by setting an appointment to give them a quick overview on the use and benefits of the system.  Explain how it will benefit the business relationship.  .  If you conduct domestic investigation, you may not want your clients to access the system.  Simply create a “dummy” client in the system which is very easy and simple solution.

The Security

Ask questions.  Go one step further and read the CMS security policy.  Talk to the company representative about the security measures in place.  The security of your data is of the utmost importance and needs to be secure.  What happens if you decide to stop using the system?  What happens if the company goes out of business?  Who has access to the data?  All of these are valid questions.  Do not be afraid to ask them, they are extremely important.  Look for a security “seal” or “certificate” on the login page.  Once you are signed up for a trial, if there is not a “lock” icon and “https” in the address bar, the system is not secure.

The Cost

Now to the most important part:  What is a CMS going to cost?  The pricing, as with most software, depends on how many users will have access to the system.  The more users a company has, the higher the price.  Most systems bill their users on a monthly basis.  There are often add-on costs for additional users and storage.  Our advice is to find a plan and price you are comfortable with.  Be cautious and identify any fees beyond the monthly fee.  Some of the fees to be concerned about are: Per Case Fees, Access Fees, Report Fees, Sync Fees, File Upload Fees, Client Access Fees and E-Mail Fees.  If the pricing grid is long and complicated, be careful.  There are systems and plans out there to meet the needs of any investigative agency.  The lowest price available  is currently $19 per month.

Are Social Media Posts Damaging your Reputation or Your Business?

Are Social Media Posts Damaging your Reputation or Your Business?

Would you curse in front of your clients? If you were having lunch or dinner with a client, would you describe every bite as you ate? Do you commonly talk with clients and express your opinions on controversial topics such as race, homosexuality, religion and politics? If the answer is YES, and you feel this is professional then you can stop reading now.
Social Media is supposed to help with marketing and networking with other professionals in your industry. Some people are doing just the opposite. Over the past month, we have monitored and made notes regarding posts on various popular social media outlets. 80% of the posts were fine. The other 20% were, at times, shocking and inspired this blog.
If you are a professional, one would assume that you work with many different type of people and have clients or potential clients with different backgrounds, various likes and dislikes, and beliefs on (insert any topic here). With that said, here are a few questions:
Why do people feel it is necessary to use profanity in a post?  It is not appropriate to post your thoughts and clarify where you stand on controversial topics. Why? Because there is someone that may disagree with you, and possibly strongly disagree. What does that mean? You are never going to get a job, or get business from that person. And yes, this includes the sports fanatics who cannot help themselves but to post one that was posted multiple times, “(Rival Sports Team Here) SUCKS.”  If you have a potential opportunity with an individual that is a rival fan, you just did yourself a huge disservice.
How many times a day do you post? Is it too much? In one instance, we saw someone post their location 11 times in one day. There was nothing special or any information about what they were doing, just wanted everyone to know.
You want people to listen and tune in to the information you are putting out there. Do not bombard them with useless information like “I am at My Bathroom in Lexington, KY”. Yes that was an actual post.
Be safe out there.

Are you looking for a powerful case management system?

Visit www.PIDirectLink.com for more information

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