Digital credentialing solutions have one core feature - to deliver digital credentials. Depending on the industry and the organization’s requirements, there is likely to be additional features outside of this core need that will appeal to decision-makers. The ability to identify features of a platform isn’t always easy, some services are up-front with their feature-set while others may be less clear with their offerings. Feature checklists, pricing breakdowns, and data sheets are a good way to begin researching available features. These assets may include descriptions of the features that can be used to outline unique features, compare like-for-like, or create a list of questions to ask later in the evaluation process.
When comparing features, make a list of must-have and nice to have options as this can help reduce options early on. For example, one organization might consider the ability to issue both digital certificates and digital badges a necessity, while others may only wish to issue one or the other. Some features may carry additional costs or be part of a higher priced package. This is helpful for organizations that only need the most common set of features and will prevent them paying for features they aren’t going to use.
At some point or another, support will need to be utilized and you want to ensure that the service received is responsive and high-quality. Research the level of support available from ticketing systems, instant chat, and email to supporting documentation and help-centers. Make a note of any additional charges for adding on support packages and what the packages include. Take a moment to review customer testimonials that mention support features and how they found the process of requesting support. Even a platform that is highly rated by hundreds or thousands of users can have a support system that leaves a lot to be desired.
There are several different aspects to consider when comparing pricing between service providers.
- Is it a one-off cost or a subscription?
- If it’s a subscription, how often are payments taken, monthly or annually?
- Are there different tiers of pricing and what do these tiers include?
- If you start on a basic tier, what is the cost to later upgrade?
- If you start on a higher tier, what happens if you need to downgrade?
Sometimes pricing isn’t available upfront and will require a conversation with a sales representative to get a tailored quotation. It’s important to find out if the pricing given is all-inclusive of other fees such as installation, adding users, or data import fees. A cheaper solution isn’t always the most cost-effective option in the long-run, especially if the organization needs further add-ons that carry additional fees. Unless the budget is extremely restricted it’s important to consider options across a variety of price-points.
A platform demo or trial is the best way to test out the user experience, interface, and how the solution works before committing to a contract. It’s common for platforms to provide a free demo account or a trial period to get hands-on experience. Sometimes only video guides or screenshots will be available to review or a free trial must be requested after talking to a representative. Where a demo is available, make notes of the experience as this can help to inform training in the future:
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Do the menus make sense?
- Is the platform fast to return results?
- What level of customization is available?
- What reporting functionality is included?
The organization is likely to be using other software or platforms already and you want to make sure that the digital credentialing solution will fit into the current tech stack. You also want to consider if it will integrate into solutions you add in the future. Integration helps with automation. For example, if you are looking for ways to save admin time for managing certificates and you are using an LMS platform. Integration with the LMS will ensure your recipients receive their certificates in a timely manner after achieving the target goal criteria and without creating extra management time. Review the types of integrations available and what type of integration best serves your need. Accredible offers three types of integrations - dedicated integration with a specific platform, connectivity through apps like Zapier, and a robust, easy-to-use API for connecting to bespoke systems.
User reviews, ratings, and testimonials can help narrow a list of options quickly. They provide both a qualitative and quantitative understanding of how the digital credentialing solution is meeting the needs of its users. Third-party review sites such as G2 and Capterra allow you to compare solutions side by side with an overview of ease-of-use, ease-of-setup, quality of support, and how well the solution met requirements. This is also an opportunity to see how the solution team responds to feedback, suggestions, and any difficulties their users had during their experience.
The mission statement, values, and goals of an organization are also contributing factors to consider when making a decision. The mission statement defines the organization’s business objectives and what it is doing now to achieve these objectives. Mission statements are likely to change as the organization develops and grows. The goals or vision statement describes their aspirations and what they hope to become. The vision statement provides insight into long-term direction and how the solution will look in the future. Vision statements that are quite narrow make a solution feel small with little potential which can impact how they will meet your needs long-term. Values help to define the personality of an organization, identify what is important to their staff, and feed into everyday decisions. Research has shown that both consumers and businesses are increasingly choosing solutions that have values aligned to their own.
The popularity of a solution doesn’t necessarily establish how well it works or will meet your needs. This is why researching and comparing market-leaders against lesser-known solutions is the best way to find the ideal fit. Be aware that in a rapidly growing market, newcomers are likely to pop-up and disappear just as fast as they arrived. To avoid getting caught out, find and compare solutions that have at least some longevity and reputation behind them. Research into their size, when the company was founded, and their history. There are advantages to making a strong market presence an influencing factor when choosing a digital credentialing solution:
- They will have more experience in the space to help you achieve success
- They are likely to provide a greater selection of native integrations
- They are receptive to meeting the needs and requests of their users
By referring to the suggestions above, you should find it easier to create a shortlist of three or four different digital credentialing solutions to compare. You can then score each of the options to find the best fit for your requirements and be able to justify the investment to stakeholders.
Interested in learning more about Accredible or would like to see the Accredible's digital certificate and digital badging platform in action? Book a demo with our team or try the platform yourself with a free trial.
Download the Accredible Digital Credentials Feature Checklist to simplify the comparison process between Accredible and other digital credential platforms. To get the most out of this list, we recommend:
- Identifying the business needs and wants
- Highlighting the must-have features in the checklist
- Marking the nice to have features in the checklist
- Researching competitors for must-have features
- Comparing available nice to have features
- Using your findings to inform decision-makers about the best platform for the business