Our last blog discussed how you can decide whether you’re ready to implement mentoring technology to help you run your mentoring scheme. If you have decided that you might be ready for a mentoring platform, then this blog will help you with some questions you should be asking any potential technology provider.
Will your Mentoring Platform supplier suit your organisation?
Question #1 — What is your Information Security and Data Protection Policy?
In today’s world of GDPR, this is one of the most important questions, and one for which every IT provider should have a comprehensive answer. Any IT supplier should be able to give you details of how they will safeguard your personal data, where it is stored, what backups they maintain, and other information about how they comply with the GDPR. The contract they ask you to sign should also contain certain mandatory GDPR clauses, so check this is the case well before you have to sign and discover it’s too late to ask the question! If your Mentoring Platform Supplier is not based in the UK or the EEA then they may not be as familiar with the GDPR as they need to be.
Question #2 — What are the costs? Will you tailor your pricing structure to match how I want to pay?
The first question: “What are the costs” may seem a very obvious question, but the second is less obvious. There are many different ways of paying for software – one-off payment, monthly or annual payments, or a combination. You may receive your funding annually, in which case you’d probably prefer an annual payment for the software. But if your funding arrives monthly, you’d probably prefer a monthly payment to even out your cash flow.
A good Mentoring Platform supplier will be able to tailor their pricing to match your funding structure, so ask if this is possible. And if you are paying annually rather than monthly then you should expect a discount for paying more in advance.
Question #3 — How good is your support? And can you prove it?
I’d be surprised if any Mentoring Platform supplier didn’t answer “fantastic” to the first question, so the second is more important. The only way of finding out is to speak directly to other organisations who are already using the software.
- What is the process if you need to run a report that doesn’t exist in the ‘off the shelf’ software? Will they charge for writing new reports for you, or is this ‘part of the service’?
- No software does everything you want it to do. So what happens if you find something you’d like to do that the software won’t do? Does it go into a lengthy ‘enhancement request wish list’? Will the supplier build enhancements into the product for you?
- No software is bug-free. Find out how quickly bugs are fixed and updated versions released.
Check how quickly they aim to do any of the above for you. And remember, don’t just ask the supplier; ask some of their customers what really happens!
David Garvie, Managing Director – sfG MentorNet
Coach Mentoring Ltd recommend MentorNet, especially in combination with their Mentoring Starter Package.