If your company manages high-value assets, you know just how important effective asset tracking can be. High-value assets that are small in size are often subject to theft or diversion, while larger high-value assets, such as equipment, often require regular preventive maintenance to keep your investments running optimally throughout their lifetime. Effective asset management is simply a good business practice, protecting your company’s investments and boosting the bottom line by ensuring that you’re getting the maximum value from every asset – and every dollar spent.
But what’s the best way to track those high-value assets? Implementing the wrong asset tracking system is a costly mistake, both in terms of your initial investment and the long-term outcome. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every business, there are some proven methods for tracking high-value assets. To find out what methods work best for today’s organizations, we reached out to a panel of inventory and asset management professionals and asked them to answer this question:
Keep reading to learn what our experts had to say about the best ways to track your company’s high-value assets.
Nate Masterson is the Marketing Manager for Maple Holistics.
“We operate through a fail-safe, mechanized system, which…”
Essentially means for us that if one thing goes wrong then another fail-safe kicks in to keep things from going sideways. One example of this would be our trucks; the drivers are personally accountable every step of the way.
They use their employee number to check the keys out of lock-up, unlock the garage, and plan their route. This way everyone knows why they have the truck and for what purpose. Besides that, every truck has a tracker. This sort of fail-safe mechanism prevents anything from going so wrong that it can’t be resolved easily.
Ashish Chona is responsible for sales and business development for ORBCOMM’s enterprise IoT software solutions. His experience and areas of interest are mobility, location and identification-based technologies and services, internet and middleware technologies, robotics, enterprise software and embedded systems.
“The key to effectively tracking high-value assets is…”
The ability to enable solutions that use multiple technologies to ensure complete visibility at every step in the supply chain. As supply chains become more complex, vulnerabilities can arise, particularly around hand-offs, where different stakeholder processes meet. Processes at hand-offs are typically manual and often lack visibility and control, resulting in errors that can have serious negative downstream effects. Take for example a cold chain process for high-value cargo, which can have excellent in-truck temperature control but can be compromised by something as simple as leaving the door open at the warehouse for too long.
This is where Internet of Things (IoT) technology and automation can make is easier to locate and address errors in real-time, ensuring regulatory compliance and asset integrity from origin to destination. By using a comprehensive IoT platform that can track equipment and individual components with IoT and other technologies (RFID, BLE, WIP, barcode, Wi-Fi, GPS, RTLS, cellular and satellite) operational and supply chain managers can get more accurate, granular knowledge beyond just asset location and higher-level metrics.
Jeff Stollman is the Principal Consultant for Rocky Mountain Technical Marketing. He is a technology futurist who advises clients on the viability and strategies for exploiting new technologies. He also assists blockchain startups on strategy and whitepaper development, including whitepapers used to support Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
“The best way to track an asset depends on the type of asset…”
Some example of asset types are:
Private digital assets are typically labels that reference high-value assets whose value does not come from public presentation (e.g., cryptocurrencies). Private digital assets can often be effectively tracked on a blockchain. The blockchain doesn’t need to identify the asset in plain text; it can use a hashed version of the asset’s ID (a hash is a one-way transformation of the identifier used to name the asset). This prevents it from being known and copied.
Public digital assets are assets whose value is obtained through public presentation (e.g., works or art including text, music, photographs, and video). A blockchain can be used to track ownership of such assets, but it has been difficult to prevent such assets from being illegally copied (if they are copyrighted). Schemes such as digital rights management (DRM) have been designed to try to prevent unauthorized copying and use of such assets, but they have been difficult to implement and not very effective at their intended goal as evidenced by the widespread black market for new movies and pirated music.
Unique physical assets have a physical form and can be individually labeled (e.g., sculptures, paintings, diamonds, bottles of prescription drugs). To track such assets, it is first necessary to uniquely identify them. This is often done with some form of tagging. Cut diamonds have a built-in tag because they contain tiny flaws that can be uniquely mapped using high magnification. Once uniquely identified, cut diamonds can then be tracked on a blockchain. For man-made assets, it is necessary to add a tag to the asset. This may be a paper label (often with a barcode) on the item or its packaging (as for pharmaceuticals). Or it may be a sophisticated tag that may use an ink that contains a unique chemical signature or a combination of microscopic plastic beads pressed together in a unique pattern. Once the asset is uniquely identifiable, its ownership can be tracked on a blockchain. Everledger provides this blockchain-tracking service for cut diamonds today. TBSx3 tracks wine. Numerous firms are developing blockchain solutions for tracking pharmaceuticals, including Rocky Mountain Technical Marketing, RXTransparent, Chronicled, and iSolve.
Malleable physical assets are bulk items that can have no unique size or shape (e.g., precious metals). These assets cannot be uniquely identified. Even a gold ingot with a serial number impressed into it can be melted down and renumbered. Or, shavings from it can be removed and absconded with. The removal can be detected by weighing the ingot, but the whereabouts of the metal removed may not be tracked. Additionally, the ingot could be melted down and some of the material removed, while the remaining material is adulterated with another metal and recast to achieve the same weight. In such cases, it would require an assay of the ingot to confirm whether it has been altered. The tracking of such assets is currently maintained using trusted parties. For example, a gold mine will use a licensed armored car carrier to transport newly mined gold to its customers. A blockchain could be used to track shipments of such material by weight or volume, without requiring labeling of each atom of the material. But testing at the receiving end may still be necessary. Peerledger is developing a blockchain solution to prevent conflict minerals from entering the supply chain for legitimately mined materials.
Anna Knezevic is the Managing Director of M&A Solutions Ltd. Anna is a consultant to small to medium enterprises in the private sector. She has published papers in capital and finance, and has ongoing research on model simplification with the help of data analytics. Mrs. Knezevic has work experience in more than five countries. She is an CFA charterholder and an actuary.
“Let’s break down what can be a high-value asset. It can be…”
Intangible – software, patent, info: A separated autonomous access system with its own encryption should ensure that the information is undecipherable to casual hacker. In case that fails, watermark quality inside the information (e.g., Mountweazel) should indicate where the people misappropriating your property are currently located and enable you to retrieve your property.
Person – skill, talent, reputation: Unpopular opinion – data mining social media. This can help you track the public perception of the key person, as well as any potential changes of sentiment with regard to your business. This has two consequences: 1) a happy employee is an employee who will continue working; 2) if anybody else with the same characteristics becomes available, you can replace the asset if it leaves.
Tangible – Property, plant, equipment: IoT is your friend. It is very cheap to rig and install small customized tracking devices made from Raspberry Pis or Andruinos that will tell you where your asset is and how is it doing in real time. Anything from the salinity of soil to the meters of cloth produced is possible, and quite easy to create.
Patrick J. Sweeney II is the author of RFID for Dummies, and a co-contributor for the international standards bodies that created the protocols for how the Internet of Things (IoT) communicated between tags and readers. He was also the CEO of the world’s leading RFID software and services company before selling the company in 2012.
“The most effective asset tracking depends on the size and mobility of an asset…”
There is no one perfect answer. For instance, large medical devices all staying within a hospital can use a Wi-Fi enabled tracking system, where the tags are large, expensive, and contain a battery. Small expensive items like engagement rings usually staying within a store can use passive radio frequency identification tags (pRFID) that are inexpensive and very small, intermodal shipping containers which may contain millions of dollars of value can use an active RFID tag coupled with GPS tracking. You have to examine the use case to determine the best way to track the assets, and you need an operating system that allows for many types of tags.
Steve Wang worked in Human Resources for 15+ years now as a hiring manager and recruiter. He’s also a serial entrepreneur who has helped build companies like Mock Interview and CareerCo from the ground up.
“The single most effective way for organizations to track their high-value assets is to…”
Incorporate a real-time tracking solution in their company. Things like passive and active RFIDs are used to automatically track assets as they come in and out of warehouses or delivery trucks. If you need to track your high-value assets’ exact location in real-time, RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems) be can be used in conjunction with RFIDs or barcodes to further monitor your assets’ status. By incorporating a real-time tracking solution to your business, you’ll be able to more precisely track your assets as well as discover new ways to improve asset management and reduce operational inefficiencies in this area.
Uwe Weinkauf is the CEO of MW2 Consulting, experts in Enterprise Application Development, Ecommerce, IT Outsourcing, and IT Operations that deliver valuable solutions for global business needs.
“When trying to track your company’s assets properly, you need to consider a few things…”
Such as how you are going to evaluate and prioritize your company’s requirements. To do this, you need to first define and prioritize what you are looking for from a software package to meet these needs. Second, evaluate the degree to which each product is able to meet your requirements. Lastly, before purchasing the software, take it for a test drive which will allow you to make sure that it’s actually a good fit.
Damon Shinnie is the Finance Manager at Find Me A Gift.
“The most effective way to track your valuable assets is to…”
Keep a register of the assets in question, which should include who has the asset, where they are using it, and when they are due to return the asset. The register should be signed by the employee who holds the asset and counter signed by their manager, and a copy of the register should be scanned and stored in a backed up digital format (in case the paper copy is lost or damaged). The register should be reviewed at least once a month to ensure that all assets have been returned by the due date.
As part of your process for dealing with employees who leave your employment, the register should be reviewed by either the HR department or the manager responsible for the employee to ensure that any assets they hold are returned before their employment ends.
Matt is the CEO and co-founder of construction intelligence company, indus.ai. He is a serial entrepreneur with a passion to invent disrupting technology solutions on how future infrastructure will be built and managed.
“In order to track high-value assets effectively…”
Organizations should be utilizing a paradigm called Data-Driven Development. For the construction industry (as well as other project-based industries), having access to data is key to driving projects forward.
Eric Hobbs started in 1991 as Network Administrator for a professional liability insurance carrier and was later promoted to IT Manager. In 1997, Eric started Technology Associates with the mission to provide ‘Big Company IT’ to businesses who didn’t have an IT staff. Over the years, Eric has worked with businesses large and small to help leverage technology for a competitive advantage.
“Having a proceduralized process is everything when it comes to high-value assets…”
From the logistics of every phase of the process, having an application that logs times, dates, notes of any changes made is key. Having a platform where all of these specifics are logged and easily accessed across all of your team involved is pertinent. If you can’t document the process, if you have missing inventory or an asset isn’t built out correctly, if you can’t identify which part of the process failed, you’re losing time and energy to inefficiency. Have a set-in-stone, trackable process to make sure your assets are efficient and profitable, from production to release.
Devin Pickell is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd.
“It’s hard to pinpoint a single best way to track HVAs, but…”
Collaboration across departments and getting everyone involved is always useful.
A newer solution I’ve been seeing for asset provenance is through the use of blockchain technology paired with IoT and data analytics.
Sensors are smaller and cheaper than ever before, and they help link the physical world to the Internet. What’s the benefit of that? The use of data analytics. If we’re talking about tracking HVAs, imagine being able to use geospatial and telematic data to give you real-time insight on that asset.
Feeding this data into a blockchain ensures maximum transparency and traceability for everyone along the cycle for tracking HVAs (from shippers to the logistics department). Blockchain technology is immutable, which means the blocks of data on there can never be tampered with or destroyed.
As a matter of fact, a company called Everledger is currently using a similar process for tracking 1 million diamonds.
Ken Stalcup is the Senior Director at Houlihan Valuation Advisors, Inc.
“There’s no one single way, in my opinion…”
The answer to this question depends on the nature of the asset.
I’ve had banks as clients. Cash is locked up in a safe, counted every day, and remains under the control of two people…dual control. No one person can access the cash alone. It always takes two people. Those are pretty good controls for cash. But the answer is different for other assets.
The ACFE (Association for Certified Fraud Examiners) compiles statistics on occupational frauds. Every other year, the ACFE surveys their membership (CFEs / Certified Fraud Examiners) and captures information on three classes of occupational fraud: financial statement frauds, cases of corruption, and asset misappropriation schemes. By far, asset misappropriation schemes are the largest percentage of cases. According to the ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations, asset misappropriation schemes represent approximately 89% of the occupational fraud cases reported by the CFEs.
There are several things businesses can do to prevent or detect these thefts:
To prevent thefts:
To detect thefts:
Jinesh is the Founder of UptimeHealth, a CMMS and asset management platform dedicated to helping healthcare facilities reduce cost and improve equipment management.
“The most effective way for organizations to track their assets…”
Especially the high-value assets, is to employ a computerized asset management software. This can be in the form of a CMMS or IWMS.
We always recommend our clients put anything they have of value into the software. Even if the device does not require maintenance or repair, it’s good to have a system generate a work order on a regular basis just to check on the asset and its health. The more important the asset is to the business function, the higher the check frequency should be.
Having a CMMS-type system automate a reminder to find and evaluate the device helps keep track of the assets health, cost, and improve the accuracy of depreciation calculations.
Steve Pritchard is a Business Consultant for Ben Sherman.
“Several real-time location systems work with technology such as…”
Bluetooth and barcodes to keep track of high-value assets. They also utilize Wi-Fi technology to provide extremely accurate location data, whether your assets are in transit, in another building, or just in another room in the company.
Real-time asset management means you can avoid unnecessary asset purchases because you are always aware of where your high-value ones are. You are also able to quickly identify any irregularities or problems.
Steve is an Indonesian-born serial entrepreneur and marketer. He has launched and runs tech and F&B companies. He is responsible for content marketing and growth strategy of Nine Peaks Media, a performance-based digital marketing agency. He’s addicted to great stories and creating great content.
“One of the most effective methods to track high-value physical assets today is…”
Using Bluetooth beacons, especially due to the fact that they are now relatively affordable compared to other options like RFID, and more reliable than barcodes. Setting up a beacon system, however, can be quite complicated at first, especially if you have a lot of different products where you will need to create a complex map interface. However, even if you are a small business, there are affordable options if you want to use a Bluetooth beacon, and a lot of them offer the option to track your assets with just your smartphone.
Kevin Dugan handles global communications for Apex Supply Chain Technologies, the world’s leading provider of self-serve automation. He is an award-winning professional with experience spanning marketing communications, public relations, content marketing, and social media. Dugan has more than 25 years of experience helping companies big and small tell their stories.
“Ultimately it takes a mix of people, process, and technology…”
Self-serve automation is one technology contributing to supply chain optimization by eliminating time-consuming tasks and allowing employees to focus on more valuable work. By helping manage, track, and control vital warehouse/DC equipment like handhelds, picking wearables, and other mobile devices, self-serve automated lockers help lower costs and increase productivity.
Smart locker solutions offer a straightforward process for managing high-value equipment. Facilities can come to a complete standstill without handhelds and picking equipment, but most companies do not manage or control it. This creates a variety of issues, including device hoarding and loss. This results in low employee productivity, wasted time, and frequent repairs and device replacement.
By providing a secure environment to protect a company’s significant investment in mobile devices, the process improves dramatically.
Grant van der Harst, Managing Director at AngloLiners.co.uk, a leading road marking company providing a wide range of services to improve road conditions throughout the UK.
“Asset management can be tough, but…”
Thanks to recent changes in technology, assets are fast becoming a lot easier to manage than ever before.
Bluetooth Beacons are a great way for organizations to track high-value assets, since their location can be broadcasted, and added smart sensors, including vibration and GPS, make items a lot easier to manage and to locate once they leave your sight.
These beacons can be simply placed on assets leaving your organization and from that moment on, they can be easily traced by wireless location.
Sean Pour is the co-founder of SellMax.
“The single most effective way for organizations to track high-value assets is…”
By implementing Real-Time Location Systems, or RTLSs. They are a best choice for a business to make due to the efficiency of the system. RTLSs are able to leverage an established WLAN connection, saving time and money for the organization. Most importantly, RTLSs are compatible with all other high-value tracking systems: barcodes, passive RFID, active RFID, and Bluetooth beacons. In this way, RTLSs are able to work alongside other useful high-value asset trackers.
Dr. Scott Newton is the Director of Product Management at TeleTracking. He has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare – working as an EMT, a nurse, an educator, and a patient flow command center leader. He is also a trusted adviser and thought leader.
“A real time locating system is the single most effective way for organizations to track high-value assets…”
In healthcare, this system enhances patient care and throughput by optimizing asset management. With the ability to pinpoint not only the location, but also the status of mobile equipment, real time location systems are critical to improving asset utilization and operational efficiency.
Kevin Lawton is the founder of the brand new distribution and logistics blog called TheNewWarehouse.com, which focuses on warehouse startups, transitions, and change. He has been in distribution operations for six years and has been part of starting four new distribution centers for three different companies as well as on teams for multiple automation and system transitions, with his focus being on inventory control.
“The best way to track high value assets is to…”
Use a unique identifier for each unit, such as a serial number or other type of unique code. This code must be built into your system to prompt scan on each transaction. From the time the product comes into the facility, it must be scanned into the system, and then that unique identifier must follow that product from put away, to bin moves, to picking and then ship confirmation. Additionally, all high value assets should be stored in a centralized area with high visibility to management and, if possible, security cameras placed in that area. In some instances, a locked caged area may be warranted depending on product and size. From an inventory perspective, these assets should be cycle counted with a very high frequency. In previous experience, I have had high value assets counted completely once a week.
Chris Wiegand is the CEO & Co-Founder of Jibestream. He started the company with a vision to change the way people engage with indoor spaces by fusing business data with maps. Chris has led Jibestream’s incredible growth from an idea to a globally recognized leader in the indoor mapping world.
“Having geospatially accurate maps of facilities is integral for any organization looking to track high-value assets…”
With maps, organizations can visualize assets to display and track their location and movement in the context of a map. Without geospatial context, any assets being tracked throughout a building will only appear as blue dots. Indoor maps are the difference between seeing an asset moving on a device with or without any meaningful location-awareness. An indoor mapping platform also opens the doors to additional complimentary use cases that provide valuable insights into behaviors and space utilization. For example, geofences can be used to create virtual boundaries and trigger alerts or notifications based on assets entering or exiting specified areas.
Rory Crawford is the co-founder and CEO of Bevspot. Prior to co-founding BevSpot, Rory spent four years in San Francisco doing technology banking and investing at J.P. Morgan and General Atlantic, respectively. Rory graduated from Tufts University and spent one year at Harvard Business School before taking a leave in 2014 to pursue BevSpot.
“If you are in the restaurant or bar business, nothing is more important than…”
Keeping track of the food and beverage (F&B) you order and what your customers consume. Product waste equals profit loss and is a key reason why 60% of restaurants fail in their first three years and 80% over five years.
All-in-one F&B program management software is the most effective way to track your high value assets. It helps owners, managers, and chefs take control of their entire operation – from the bar to kitchen – on any device. The software takes inventory, tracks orders, and provides sales data instantly backed up to the cloud and accessible anywhere.
By using this kind of software and spending less time on back office functions, owners and managers can spend more time actually running the business and helping avoid the pitfalls that can doom their enterprise.
Kacper Brzozowski is the Technical Founder at Zety. He started coding at the age of 8 in Visual Basic 6. His technical skills allowed the company to develop into what it is today.
“We use both Windows-based laptops and Macs…”
Find My Mac will let us locate and track all devices (we’ve got them all signed up with an Apple account before distributing the laptops), while Find my Device allows us to control Windows-based laptops. Those systems will handle locating, locking, and if needed, erasing the laptop’s hard disc’s content. When it comes to other expensive equipment (i.e., high-quality cameras) we install a specialized GPS tracking device that is designed for a suitcase carrying the device.
Jeff is the president and owner of Masters Touch Pest Solutions. Jeff is involved in every aspect of the business from field training to sales to maintaining supplies. He makes sure his company is kept up to date with certifications and licenses to provide our customers with the most recent treatment techniques and safety requirements.
“Because of the nature of our work, tracking HVAs is an incredibly important part of our business…”
As a small business, we can’t afford to lose equipment in avoidable incidents such as car accidents, forgetting them at stops, and more. As a home services company, trust is a huge factor in our business. We don’t want people to feel like our techs can’t obey the speed limits, much less protect their home from pests.
We have a lot of challenging assets to manage and track simply due to the nature of our work. In order to do their jobs, our technicians need a vehicle, large inventories of expensive tools, and chemicals.
When our technicians are given a company vehicle, we expect them to obey the rules of the road and to not use it for personal use during working hours. We also expect tools to remain in the truck and to be returned in good condition at the end of the workday. As for chemicals, because we have to go through so much training and sit through a licensing process, the use of chemicals is strictly regulated so our business doesn’t lose its license.
Barcodes and GPS is the easiest way to track assets like ours. With GPS on company phones and attached to trucks, it’s easy to see where our technicians are at any given time and for how long. We could even check to see how many times they had an event, such as hitting the brakes or checking their phone while driving. We could remotely monitor speed and make sure technicians aren’t speeding during their route – paying special attention to speeds in neighborhoods and school zones.
Attaching barcodes to our chemicals and equipment, we could easily see who has checked out a piece of equipment and not returned it. We could also keep an inventory of our chemicals to ensure that an appropriate amount is being used for each service and some aren’t going missing.
By using these real-time asset management techniques, it’s possible improve our asset utilization and gain much-needed visibility into the status of our HVA, like our trucks and equipment.
Francisco Castro is a fractional CFO and owner and founder of AnalytIQ, a financial planning and business analytics firm. Francisco helps companies start businesses and guides them to a becoming a viable enterprise and to making profits.
“Tracking high-value assets in the early stages of an organization is often an overlooked component…”
And it can be detrimental if not taken seriously early on. In a smaller organization where assets tend to be of lower value, we’re lucky to see any type of tracking system. More times than not, you’ll normally find a Google Sheet or Excel file that maintains all their assets. However, for companies with higher value assets (i.e., cranes, construction equipment, antennas, etc.), tracking these assets can be a crucial component of their business, not only for operational purposes but also for accounting and tax benefits. The basic tracking systems normally use labeling, and in some more advanced situations RFID, to keep track of their assets. Reporting for these assets tends to be the next major obstacle to overcome as the data provided for these systems still requires strong oversight for effectiveness. Finding a flexible platform that can scale with your organization for the future needs to be based in the cloud, have solid integration capabilities with third-party platforms, and provide geolocation capabilities (if applicable to your business). Finally, a nice to have functionality but not necessarily mandatory for all scenarios is the ability to provide a depreciation schedule for these assets. This will make your year-end close much smoother and keep your accounting team happy.
Murray Quibell is the Founder of Aqurus Solutions. Murray brings an executive-level, business-oriented approach to information and technology, management information systems, and compliance. As a Chartered Accountant with a specialization in IT, Murray has a passion for financial software solutions.
“The single most effective way for organizations to track intangible (data, customer information, etc.) and tangible (inventory, equipment, etc.) high-value assets is through…”
Cloud-based ERP software. We are in the midst of a radical change in technology preferences. Businesses are changing how they engage with customers, the speed at which they deliver products and services, and how they innovate. Choosing to upgrade or purchase cloud-based ERP technology is a necessary step for growing your business in today’s competitive market.
In terms of intangible high-value assets, the cloud offers secure gateways for remote access, document management systems that prevent the download of sensitive data, and on-site archival of sensitive information to avoid it falling into the wrong hands. Document retention is built into the cloud so that companies can be sure that they are compliant with government standards in their industry.
Likewise, tangible high-value assets like inventory and equipment occupying various locations or warehouses are also better tracked and monitored in the cloud. For example, any business that operates within a supply chain knows that supply chain requirements are constantly fluctuating and becoming increasingly complex. Modern business owners need a software solution that provides accurate, company-wide inventory data and lets you create proactive, responsive replenishment operations and minimize inventory costs.
Cloud-based inventory management software allows users to control system-wide inventory to efficiently manage their processes without losing track of costs. It allows users to receive stock to a specific location and drill down to change an item’s lot/serial number, valuation method, accounts, and more.
Cloud-based ERP solutions help streamline processes while gaining visibility over all high-value assets of an organization to accelerate business growth. With full mobile access from anywhere, on any device – it’s no wonder everyone is moving to the cloud.
Pratibha Vuppuluri is the CEO of She Started It, a complete resource guide for working moms. Pratibha has more than ten years’ experience in the financial services industry, including seven years in the Healthcare, Private Equity Secondary Market and Technology Investment Banking space at both UBS and Deutsche Bank.
“The most effective way to track an organization’s high-value assets is to…”
Keep a record of your assets as they come in.
It may sound old-school, but it is still the most efficient. Companies may also opt to invest in software that has reporting and analytics functions. It is most helpful in collecting metrics that need to be measured.
Bijan Abdi is the President and CEO of Freedom National Insurance Services, a managing general agent based in CA. He has over 30 years of experience in preferred, standard, and non-standard auto insurance. His background includes experience in sales, underwriting, program design, and maintenance, as well as managerial and executive duties.
“When asset tracking and trying to understand your company’s needs, it’s important to…”
Define and prioritize your company’s requirements from a fixed asset software package. Next, evaluate each product regarding the way it measures against your needs. Lastly, take the product on a test drive, so you can see first-hand whether the features that come along with the software are a good fit.