Nourish Logo
Digital Social Care 26th March 2024

How to Evaluate Social Care Software Suppliers

By Lorcán Murray

Growth requires reflection. The first step to getting what you want is knowing what you need. Our previous blog went through steps for evaluating your existing system. Once you have a clear understanding of your current processes and needs, you can start to develop your vision for how to satisfy them. As you may be aware, there are a lot of options available. Since the launch of the ‘Digitising Social Care’ campaign in April 2021 the number of social care software suppliers on the Assured Solutions List has grown by 450%. This is a source of great opportunity and reasonable consternation for providers. In a crowded market it can be hard to settle on the right choice for you, but with the right questions and advice you can find the right system. 

The Grapevine

Care is a community, and it is in our communities we find the best answers. Speaking to other providers about their experiences with different technologies is a fantastic place to gain a better understanding of what is available on the market. People with first-hand experience of a system can highlight its strengths and weaknesses in the specific context of their service. While your service might not align entirely with theirs, direct experience with technology in a care setting is a valuable insight for your decision-making process. 
There are several ways to gain insights or ‘social proof’ from other care providers. The most straightforward route is asking for case studies from existing tech suppliers in care. All suppliers will have a selection ready to go, and most should be able to give you a case study that is similar to your size and structure. However, these will obviously come with a bias towards the company that wrote them.

Social media groups and online care communities are a great source of social proof. There are a number of groups on social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, which you can join. These range in size and location and are typically filled with like minded care providers looking to support each other. There are also local care associations and paid provider community networks you can join.

Planting the Field

Once you have enough examples of the digital systems available to you, you can put together a shortlist of viable choices. Start with key necessities or ‘must haves’ and build from there such as: care type supported, customer experience reputation and interoperability capacity.  
This initial list might be very long, it can help to organise the information important to you in a spreadsheet to make it easier to compare your options.

Cutting the Chaff

After completing a self-evaluation, you should have a list of questions for potential digital care suppliers that help illustrate how they would address your service needs. These questions will form the backbone of your assessment when engaging with the short list of potential systems. 
All digital providers will be happy to give you a free demonstration of their system. These are generally whistlestop tours of the system, highlighting the strengths of the platform and how they relate to your service. Your self-evaluation will help you focus the discussion and direct the person showing you the system to the features most pertinent to you.  
In many instances it is possible to record these demonstrations so you can share them with your service. As the new system will impact everyone in your service, it is beneficial to share your insight into the options available with your teams and gain their perspectives as well.

Blue Sky Thinking, Green Grass Reality

Digital systems can be transformative, but selecting the right one can be time-consuming. It is important to understand the nature of the agreements you are being offered as well. If you are about to enter a two-year contract, all of these evaluations and discussions with other providers will be worth it! 
It is also possible that through your evaluation you may conclude that there isn’t a better alternative currently available on the market. If that’s the case, then it’s a good prompt to engage more forcefully with your current provider to influence them to align with your requirements.

Find out more about the benefits of Nourish by contacting our team for a personalised demonstration of our platform.

Related articles

Communication and Family Partners
18th July 2024 Altra: Communication and Family Engagement
Feedback and Surveys Partners
15th July 2024 Altra: Feedback and Surveys
Gherkin Customer Conference Events & Talks
11th July 2024 Nourish Customer Conference: The Gherkin
Altra Partners
4th July 2024 Altra: Activities and Wellbeing