The Risks of Free Agenda Management Software

Lena Eisenstein
A well-established marketing tactic is to give something away for free so that potential customers have a chance to try a product or service with the hope that prospects will become customers. The reality is that companies never give away anything of value. Depending on the product, free things can sometimes end up costing you more than getting the right thing the first time and paying the going price.

The saying that nothing comes for free is especially true for electronic applications. Technology has advanced to a degree such that apps are a dime a dozen. The wonderful thing about that is that companies have choices every time they buy, ranging from the low end to the high end. While that works for some situations, free agenda management software isn't a good buy for local governments. The lack of security and integration with other products are just a couple of big reasons that it's wise for local governments to invest in quality agenda management software. Local governments need software that pays for itself in efficiency and that goes the extra mile to serve their communities.

What Do You Get with Free Agenda Management Software?

Depending on the company that's offering the free agenda management software, you'll usually get some form of online template for a meeting agenda. Free products are usually designed to appeal to a broad variety of industries and don't take into account the unique needs of local governments.

A free agenda software management program usually limits the number of users that you can have on a free trial basis, with the option to add others for an additional cost. In addition, a free service may afford you a small amount of electronic document storage, but it won't include anywhere near the capacity for cloud-based storage that local governments need. Without having access to all the features, local government staff can't get a sense of how it works. The only way to get the full experience from free agenda management software is to have access to the program in its full working capacity.

Software manufacturers offer free software so that they can hook you in and lock you into their program before you've had time to shop around for an agenda software management solution that was designed to meet your needs.

Cybersecurity is a big issue anytime you're considering purchasing new software. Technology security is highly sophisticated for the hackers who are looking to profit, as well as the IT professionals who are trying to protect their systems. This level of highly specialized expertise comes at a cost.

As large corporations bolster their security measures, it's getting harder for criminals to tap into their systems. As criminals have found it more difficult to break into large systems, they've begun looking for low-hanging fruit. Many criminals are banking on the notion that local governments don't have an adequate budget for cybersecurity, which makes them easy targets for finding holes in security systems. Security is an area in which local governments can't afford to skimp and skirt around their needs.

Also, unlike other types of organizations, local governments nearly always have someone or some department that operates around the clock, or at least on an on-call basis. If there happens to be a problem with agenda or board management software, local governments need a fast response. They can't afford to have their programs shut down. A free agenda management software program most likely uses support tickets and will call you back in the order they received your ticket. If you're not available when they call back, you may go to the back of the line on the call list. More importantly, they're not likely to have someone available who has the necessary level of expertise and who can assist you in your time of need. If you need help on a weekend or holiday, you'll likely be out of luck until the next official business day.

As technology advances, more software products are being created for local governments. Municipal clerks and others benefit from several programs. It's important that software programs that create efficiency are integrated with each other, which isn't something you'll find with free software agenda management programs.

iCompass, a company of Diligent Corporation, designs software to meet the needs of modern governance for municipal governments. Companies that offer free agenda management software will not be able to compete with an industry leader and will either be forced to dissolve or will merge with another company. Having to make a switch in companies at some point will be costly and inconvenient.

What Do Local Government Clerks Need in Agenda Management Software?

Local government clerks need the features and benefits of an online agenda software management program that maximizes their time and efficiency. Municipal clerks benefit from the ease of additional software solutions for the following applications:
  • Minutes
  • Boards and commissions
  • Communication and email accounts
  • Civic web portal
  • File storage
  • File-sharing applications
  • Scheduling apps
  • Voting software
  • Video streaming

These types of programs save municipal clerks hours of labor and help to reduce costs for their local government budgets. It's important for local governments to go with one company that is an industry leader and that offers products that are fully integrated with each other. They can easily add new software solutions as they become available.

There Is Value in a Quality Agenda Management Software Program

Regardless of the size of your local community or budget, iCompass has an agenda software management solution to meet your needs. When you accept an offer of free software, you get what you pay for, not what you need. The agenda software management solution by iCompass offers a lot of value for the money. Clerks across the country are raving about how the agenda management solutions offered by iCompass gave them cost savings in addition to helping them streamline processes.

iCompass offers top-level security in all its programs. Because they're all fully integrated, there are no concerns about viruses traveling across programs and infecting the entire system. iCompass has made its reputation on designing agenda management software solutions with the needs of local governments as their primary focus. Free agenda management software programs just can't compete with iCompass on any level.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.