The Fire & EMS software industry is continually evolving as it responds to technology advances, changing priorities, and shifts in solution providers. As we kick off 2022, there are three clear trends impacting customer actions and decisions. So, what’s going on this year?
Legacy software is a ticking time bomb for customers.
Too many agencies rely on “support only” software (with no roadmap for improvement) which is scheduled to be sunset in the near future. As a result, these products will likely not receive the attention and support they need, leaving users hanging with a bare-bones solution. As this scenario runs its course, agencies find themselves even more reliant on one or two members of their team to keep the software functioning, which can cause serious risk to the operation as those team members retire or move on from the department. Don’t get caught with nonexistent roadmaps, innovation, or future-proofed systems!
As more and more software providers are shelving their RMS products, many agencies are feeling the pressure to quickly find new applications or are forced to develop temporary workarounds requiring extensive internal resources to maintain and manage. This strain affects not only the front-line fire service but support staff and IT as well, resulting in too much time spent patching and maintaining the old system instead of building out modern, integrated solutions that will stand the test of time. We predict in 2022, there will be an even greater need for an evergreen, end-to-end business management solution for Fire and EMS.
Software mergers and acquisitions have caused industry uncertainty.
It’s not just legacy software that will have an impact this year – it’s the state of the industry and market players as well. Many users have found their Fire & EMS software provider has been acquired or merged with another organization - and that these new partnerships may not always be a good fit. We see 2022 as a year of transition for many agencies as they realize their new, post M&A provider might not match their requirements for functionality, support, or product enhancements.
When a company is sold, it can mean a loss of institutional knowledge, particularly in the area of support. Users accustomed to speaking with account managers and support reps with deep knowledge of their organization are often assigned to someone who doesn’t know or understand their unique operations and challenges. Long-time business relationships may end as employees are shifted into new roles, key functionality may not exist in the new system, and critical historical data can be lost. If your provider is acquired or merges with another company, you might even see an increase in your cost – all while experiencing a negative return on investment.
Software product consolidation – “We want a one stop shop solution!”
Finally, as we look at this year’s industry trends, we see a growing need for software consolidation and increased demand for the ‘all in one’ solution. Many agencies have lived through the “digital transformation” phase of their business by deploying and integrating many different software applications; some with 20 or more! Stitching together these single purpose “point solutions” can lead to unstable integrations, tedious data & workflow management practices and an overly complex tech environment. Combined with the associated headaches and cost, agencies are finding it unsustainable to manage their high number of software vendors. As a result, users are looking for an end-to-end solution to drive software consolidation as the answer to this ongoing challenge.
For First Due, these problems shape our vision and motivate us to do more for our current and future customers.
As we look to the year ahead, we anticipate these issues and are positioned to tackle them. Our goal is to continually innovate and help solve customer problems. We want to create certainty for Fire & EMS leaders who face uncertainty today - as a team. Stay safe and Happy New Year!