At Zapsol, we specialize in the design, development, and operation of custom Management Information Systems. We supplement these systems with a wide range of services to deliver end-to-end solutions. Our technology products offer niche functionality in several vertical markets. We excel in system integration and find innovative ways to deliver perfect results.
What is a Management Information System?
A Management Information System (MIS) software is the main software that every company and organization uses to manage all its stakeholders and their associated activities. Some examples are: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Association/Certification/Accreditation/Licensure Management Systems, Inventory Management Systems, Order (E-commerce) Management Systems, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems, etc. All business use some sort of MIS to manage their business.
But we already have an MIS!
Of course. All companies would already have some sort of software/system/process to manage their information and business activities. But do you ever find yourself in any of the following situations?
- The system tracks most of the information, but you have to track some of it “outside” the system, maybe in Excel files, or in another database. Is everything in one place and easily accessible?
- The system worked great when it was deployed, but some of your business processes changed, and now you have to find “workarounds” to accommodate those changes?
- You are using a pre-existing (“off-the-shelf”) software, and there are tons of “features” that you don’t even use. But those menu items / screens / buttons / fields just clutter up the screen and make things confusing. You wish the software was easier to use.
- You can store your information in the system, but you wish that things were more automated. You have to manually enter data from paper records or update the statuses for different records when different events occur, etc.
- The system “kind of” works, but there are a lot of errors. You have to spend a lot of time “fixing” the data or cleaning it up.
- You have a way to manage your information, but there is no “portal” for your customers to do any self-service activities. Or, a portal does exist, but you have to “download” the data from the portal and “import” it into your system. It is not real-time.
- Your customers can enter their information, but you have to process your payments manually.
- The financial tracking features in your system are very limited. You wish it would handle all your financial processes better. Your staff spends a lot of time tracking and reconciling the payments / refunds / AR / billings / over-payments / under-payments etc.
- The system is not easy to use. Your customers call you a lot because they can’t always figure out how to do something. The instructions are not very clear and they get “lost”.
- You wish you had more control to make changes to the system. It is what it is, and it does what it does. That’s it.
- You chose to go for a “pre-developed” system because it had a lot of good features. But you need more functionality than what is already there. But, most of the time, their answer is “No, we can’t do that for you, because we don’t feel our other customers would need this feature. So we can’t add that to our software”. You wish you had more control!
- The company that made or sold you the system, or the one that is currently supporting it, is very hard to work with. They just don’t understand your needs. You wish they could feel your pain.
If any (or all) of these sound familiar, talk to us, we can help!
But why should I not choose another existing system that is better?
You can. And many times, that is the right answer. We work with you as an IT partner to assess your current systems and processes. We find “gaps” or “areas of improvement”. And if there is another system that fits your needs better, then that is our recommendation. But with any pre-existing software, you may end up finding yourself having the same issues listed above at some point in the future. Basically, you get “locked” with the software and the vendor that provides the software. And “breaking free” is never easy. In fact it can be quite painful and costly. If you want more control over how the system works, or if you are unable to change your business rules or processes to do things the way the OTS software does things, then developing a custom MIS system is the way to go!
I am not sure if custom software development is right for me
In many ways, the decision to use an OTS software or developing a custom MIS system is similar to deciding whether you want to buy a house with an existing floor plan or build a custom house. Each person’s situation is different and different people make different choices. Most vendors with pre-developed systems will tell you that custom software development is expensive; that their software already has a lot of features pre-built; and that you would be “reinventing the wheel”. And they are right. But only in certain situations. If you have to make a lot of changes to their software, to accommodate your needs; or if your staff will have to significantly change the way they work, to do things the way the software does it, then that could require a lot of re-training, and also lead to a lot of mistakes. At that time, developing a system that is custom built to exactly map the best process to handle your business is the right answer. If you take the hard costs of licensing, professional services, maintenance, and support for the existing system, and add the soft costs of staff time, re-training, and loss of control, then custom software development can provide a better Return on Investment (ROI). This has been proven time and again.
I heard that developing custom software is risky
Yes. There are several risks and pitfalls with developing custom software also.
- Generally, the customer assumes all risk involved in developing a custom system.
- New requirements can emerge. These will push back timelines.
- Hidden and unexpected expenses can upset your budget.
- Inflexible design will lead to systems that are not robust or scalable.
- The vendor will treat your project as just that; a project. They are usually not in it for the long haul.
However, all of these are mitigated to a large extent if you work with the right partner and vendor.
Are you the right partner?
Yes. We are! We aim to deliver excellence: systems that work well together; software that is robust yet easy to use; high-quality professional services; and technical support that is best in class! We have a team of highly-qualified individuals who are motivated to deliver quality services in a cost conscious manner. Our disciplined approach enables us to handle large-scale complicated projects and our effective project management ensures they are completed on-time and within budget.
Finally, and this is probably the biggest differentiator, we have a pre-existing platform, called PerfRMS, which already includes most of the core functions that are required in every MIS system. It also removes a lot of the risks listed above, helps reduce development time, and reduces the total cost of ownership.
Our track record speaks for itself. Give us a chance. You will be glad you did!