6 Key Features to Consider For an RMS Migration

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August 19, 2021

6 Key Features to Consider For an RMS Migration

Agencies nationwide are facing a scary transition. For many, the software they have been using for nearly a decade is being sunset, and changes are coming fast.

What does this mean? How will this impact your operation? What should you look for in a new solution? We’ve taken an in-depth look at the six biggest features that Fire & EMS leaders should be looking for when evaluating a new RMS solution.

1. Cloud-Based

‘Cloud’ has been a buzzword in software for a while. But what does it mean? It is NOT just software you can access online. Some Fire RMS vendors will claim to be cloud when they are actually 'fake-cloud', which means the vendor is simply taking an on-premise solution and hosting it somewhere else. Why is this important? True cloud solutions can be upgraded all at once -- which means you're always on the latest version of the software. Using a true cloud solution means your vendor can utilize more resources and time on making the product better for you. Finally, all hosting, upgrades, maintenance and support should be included and seamless.

2. Accessibility

Most modern systems allow you to access the application and your RMS data anywhere, at any time, on any device. This includes making sure every part of the platform is usable on every size of screen – including mobile. Your crews out in the field should be able to complete inspections, view/create preplans, complete asset checks, fill out incident documentation, and respond to call shifts from any device. Just as important is ensuring the vendor will allow you to access your data. Do not let vendors hold your data hostage – you should be able to access, view and export your data at any time.

3. Partnership

During your evaluation, it is important to not only assess the suitability of the software itself, but also the vendor delivering it. When purchasing Fire RMS software, you are entering into a long-term partnership. It’s critical that the vendor is going to be there throughout deployment, optimization and support. Make sure to ask the vendor what their client success strategy is, how you will be supported moving forwarded, and if they are willing to take client feedback to build new solutions. It is also helpful to assess a potential vendor based on how they behave during the evaluation. How a vendor and their employees carry themselves and run the process is an indication of the relationship to come.

4. Customization

Although it's important to be cloud based, some cloud software doesn’t allow customization – a critical part of your solution, since every agency is unique. Many Fire RMS solutions out there do not have what is called a ‘customization layer.’ That means individual customers cannot customize their own accounts – frustrating when your needs don’t fully align with what the software can do. How often have you heard, "if it doesn't make sense for all of our customers, then we can't do it?" Make sure that your new system can be customized for your department while still being ‘true-cloud.’ This will allow your agency to benefit from all the advantages of cloud-based software while ensuring the application can be molded to your specific processes and workflows.

5. Future-Proofed

Pandemics, civil unrest and socioeconomic issues have been a source of intense change in public safety. As a result, the responsibilities and demands on fire departments are increasing. For this reason, don't just choose a vendor who meets the bare minimum requirements. Look for a Fire RMS vendor who innovates and creates solutions for the future. A forward thinking vendor will be introducing features like virtual inspections, community engagement portals, geospatial mapping, automated pre-plans and vehicle integration. Ask the vendor how they plan to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. Ask them about their product roadmap and ensure they are releasing new features aggressively.

6. All-In-One

It is difficult to find a functionally comprehensive solution, but it’s critical to make sure Fire & EMS RMS system you chose meets your requirements. Many vendors claim to have an all-in-one platform, but they have simply acquired other products and stitched them together. This results in more of the same issues your agency is facing now - disconnected systems, multiple logins, poor reporting and duplicate data entry. Make sure to ask your vendor, "Are these products all natively built in your platform, or are they separate products that have been integrated?"

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6 Key Features to Consider For an RMS Migration

Agencies nationwide are facing a scary transition. For many, the software they have been using for nearly a decade is being sunset, and changes are coming fast.

What does this mean? How will this impact your operation? What should you look for in a new solution? We’ve taken an in-depth look at the six biggest features that Fire & EMS leaders should be looking for when evaluating a new RMS solution.

1. Cloud-Based

‘Cloud’ has been a buzzword in software for a while. But what does it mean? It is NOT just software you can access online. Some Fire RMS vendors will claim to be cloud when they are actually 'fake-cloud', which means the vendor is simply taking an on-premise solution and hosting it somewhere else. Why is this important? True cloud solutions can be upgraded all at once -- which means you're always on the latest version of the software. Using a true cloud solution means your vendor can utilize more resources and time on making the product better for you. Finally, all hosting, upgrades, maintenance and support should be included and seamless.

2. Accessibility

Most modern systems allow you to access the application and your RMS data anywhere, at any time, on any device. This includes making sure every part of the platform is usable on every size of screen – including mobile. Your crews out in the field should be able to complete inspections, view/create preplans, complete asset checks, fill out incident documentation, and respond to call shifts from any device. Just as important is ensuring the vendor will allow you to access your data. Do not let vendors hold your data hostage – you should be able to access, view and export your data at any time.

3. Partnership

During your evaluation, it is important to not only assess the suitability of the software itself, but also the vendor delivering it. When purchasing Fire RMS software, you are entering into a long-term partnership. It’s critical that the vendor is going to be there throughout deployment, optimization and support. Make sure to ask the vendor what their client success strategy is, how you will be supported moving forwarded, and if they are willing to take client feedback to build new solutions. It is also helpful to assess a potential vendor based on how they behave during the evaluation. How a vendor and their employees carry themselves and run the process is an indication of the relationship to come.

4. Customization

Although it's important to be cloud based, some cloud software doesn’t allow customization – a critical part of your solution, since every agency is unique. Many Fire RMS solutions out there do not have what is called a ‘customization layer.’ That means individual customers cannot customize their own accounts – frustrating when your needs don’t fully align with what the software can do. How often have you heard, "if it doesn't make sense for all of our customers, then we can't do it?" Make sure that your new system can be customized for your department while still being ‘true-cloud.’ This will allow your agency to benefit from all the advantages of cloud-based software while ensuring the application can be molded to your specific processes and workflows.

5. Future-Proofed

Pandemics, civil unrest and socioeconomic issues have been a source of intense change in public safety. As a result, the responsibilities and demands on fire departments are increasing. For this reason, don't just choose a vendor who meets the bare minimum requirements. Look for a Fire RMS vendor who innovates and creates solutions for the future. A forward thinking vendor will be introducing features like virtual inspections, community engagement portals, geospatial mapping, automated pre-plans and vehicle integration. Ask the vendor how they plan to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. Ask them about their product roadmap and ensure they are releasing new features aggressively.

6. All-In-One

It is difficult to find a functionally comprehensive solution, but it’s critical to make sure Fire & EMS RMS system you chose meets your requirements. Many vendors claim to have an all-in-one platform, but they have simply acquired other products and stitched them together. This results in more of the same issues your agency is facing now - disconnected systems, multiple logins, poor reporting and duplicate data entry. Make sure to ask your vendor, "Are these products all natively built in your platform, or are they separate products that have been integrated?"

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