3 dental software purchasing mistakes
Three common errors to avoid when purchasing or upgrading dental software.
Accepting poor payment terms
If you were a vendor, you would want most of your money up front, and typically this is what a vendor wants. The problem is that upfront payment severely reduces vendor accountability. Never pay a vendor most of their money up front. Instead, ask for milestone-based payments. As the vendor completes certain pre-determined project milestones they receive a portion of their fee. The onus needs to be on the vendor to perform before they get all their money. A milestone-based payment system is the best incentive for the vendor to complete the project successfully and in a timely fashion. If you pay everything up front, what leverage do you have if the software doesn’t work as advertised, or training and implementation doesn’t go as expected?
Not demanding service and support guarantees
Many times issues crop up once the system is installed, final payment is tendered, and a practice or group is dependent on the technology. But this is just the starting point. How you receive service and support is a major factor to your long-term success.
There is no such thing as a system that doesn’t need a solid plan for maintenance, support, and upgrades and enhancement. And this is where many contracts fall short—they don’t take into account the “after” implementation problems in enough detail.
During the sales process, sales people are quick to assure you of great support, but can your vendor “walk the talk” once the system is in place? If you run into problems, how long will the vendor have to address them? What are the penalties if the vendor doesn’t meet stated commitments? Sales people will commit to taking care of you, but unless there are real consequences for the vendor, you don’t have any real guarantees.
That’s why you need a Service Level Agreement or SLA, which is the standard mechanism to document vendor commitments. The agreement outlines various areas of accountability in which the vendor commits to service and support. After all, you’re paying a percentage of the license fee on an ongoing basis for support; you have the right to demand good service.
And, if you happen to be using a Cloud-based system, then the whole idea of service and support guarantees becomes a bit more complex. Now you are dependent on your Cloud vendor to keep your system running smoothly. So, you need to address uptime guarantees and penalties, backup procedures and, most importantly, HIPAA compliance of the data center.