By Andy Wills 

COVID-19 has made most agencies pivot to online to finish out 2020 and look ahead to 2021. While most everyone is using Zoom, Webex or GoToMeeting as a quick fix to their in-service, it’s not a complete solution to manage all your training & data. Here are five things to keep in mind when bringing your agency online: 

 1. Know your agency's needs

    Before shopping vendors, run a quick assessment on what training your department needs to finish out the current year and then look to what you will be planning for 2021. You should begin to see what classes and software functionality you’ll need to get through. 

    Start a “Must Have” check list:

    • High quality training
    • Report training hours to POST
    • Track and upload policy…etc.

    2. Cheaper isn’t always better

      So many times, you are simply just shopping quotes looking for the cheapest price. Spoiler alert! With training and software, you get what you pay for. Find a solution that fits your needs and then look towards budgets. Often, you’ll find that the vendor can work with your existing budget to find a price solution that fits your needs.

       3. Look for 24/7 technical support for all users

        Here’s something you probably didn’t know. Most software companies have technical support, but did you know that very few provide 24/7 support for all users? That is a huge factor when you realize that your department works 24/7. When you work and train at all hours, your tech support should be there to help.

         4. Look for a solution that improves department efficiency  

          This is a great place to start looking around the office to see where you can save time and money. Look at how you manage policy, certificates, external and internal training classes & records, and report training data to your state POST. High quality online training plus those four things I listed could save the department more money than a lot of software costs overall. 

           5. Quality of training

            To me, this is a no-brainer, get a look at a sample course or two to see the production value of the training. There is quite a bit of training out there. Make sure the topics covered are relevant to what your department is dealing with and can be deployed quickly to your department.

            Bonus: When you’re looking for a training solution, delivering your own in service inside the platform should be a “Must Have” on your list. A quality vendor should let you build your own training to deliver, track records and report to POST, but the best vendors will build the trainings with you.