We’ve all been there, both personally and professionally: Having been energized by a thoughtful presentation with snappy delivery pre-purchase, only to realize the final product is underwhelming, or worse, not at all the product you hoped for initially. As frustrating as this can be for those ineffective tiki torches you bought on Amazon, it’s a much worse feeling if it’s your CTMS or any other clinical trial software that you and your team evaluated over multiple weeks or months. That said, it does happen. Not all vendors take the same approach when attempting to win over a prospect. This article is designed to cover some red flags you should know how to identify before or during CTMS deployments to keep your project running smoothly so your site can continue growing and succeeding.
Simple Data Migration Claims (from your old CTMS)
If you are transitioning CTMS applications, migrating data should be one of your top priorities. This is also an easy place where vendors with lesser data migration experience can “talk around” inexperience by conveying unrealistic simplicity. Data migration takes hard work and time. Lack of detail around data migration processes is a red flag!
Look for a vendor who sets clear expectations surrounding data migration and can clearly identify what your team needs to provide in order to make the migration successful. Be sure to ask for timelines and know that not all migrations are the same.
Pro tip: Don’t just accept a timeframe for how long deployments take, ask for a list of references who have completed successful migrations similar to yours, and ask for case studies and testimonials too.
Missing or Overstated Functionality in Demos
Vendors always put their best foot forward in a presentation. If your primary tools are being shown to you via screenshots or presentations, this is a red flag. This tactic is a workaround for missing or incomplete functionality. Be sure to get a complete workflow demonstration for your key needs.
Pro tip: Ask to get hands-on! Qualified CTMS vendors offer references and many reps can give you controls of their screen on demonstrations to “walk around” yourself to know the functionality does what it’s designed to do.
Too Many Buzz Words
A functioning CTMS is a powerful tool that simplifies processes for sites while increasing profitability and maintaining compliance with ease. While most vendors are continuing to simplify and eliminate unnecessary work, a major component to the success of any CTMS deployment is the human input from site staff. Given the burdens sites face, it’s easy to generate interest and buzz with terms like AI, digitization and automation. Beware of vendors who pin their core competencies to buzz word concepts instead of focusing on providing long-standing functionality required in CTMS systems or offering unique approach to customer service focused on client success.
Pro tip: Put vendors to the test. Ask them to build your protocol in the system during the demo process and evaluate quality, or ask them to do a test data migration before migrating your entire data set. If there’s pushback, oversimplification, or quality issues, that’s a red flag that could impact your site’s ability to be successful long-term.
Your Site Doesn’t Help Define Your “Go-Live”
A CTMS deployment is a large project. Your internal team should be meeting with the CTMS deployment team before the deal is complete to align on expectations, establish timelines and determine what milestones are required for your site to “go live” with the CTMS.
Pro tip: If your CTMS vendor has a rigid or superficial criteria for reaching the go-live milestone, this is a red flag! Make sure your site has say in what determines the go-live milestone or else you could be left without the necessary support you need to truly go live with the CTMS.
What if it’s too late?
Remember that you are the client for CTMS vendors. If you are unhappy, they should be willing to work with you to remedy any situations if client success is their #1 priority. If you are receiving pushback, not getting adequate answers, or anything else, you have to evaluate whether or not that solution is right for your business.
As you continue to push for the right CTMS for your site, know that buyer’s remorse is a very real possibility, and know that you don’t have to tolerate it. You can hold vendors accountable, come to a solution that works for both parties or choose to part ways. The same can’t be said about those used tiki torches you’re now stuck with though…