Visitor Management Systems: The Ultimate Guide
What is a Visitor Management System?
The term visitor management system has undoubtedly been on the rise since the post-Covid return to the office. With business suppliers wanting to get back out to partners, employees working on a hybrid basis and other guests coming and going, it’s no wonder. But what is a visitor management system, and why is it becoming essential for the modern enterprise? Let us explain.
A Visitor Management System is a software solution that efficiently registers, tracks, and manages individuals entering a location- normally an office setting. It enhances security by capturing visitor details, conducting watchlist checks, and issuing access permissions through badge printing. The system ensures a seamless check-in and check-out process, often utilising self-service kiosks and digital signatures. With real-time monitoring and reporting, it aids emergency response and compliance. Integrating with other systems enhances organisational workflows. A VMS prioritises a positive visitor experience, offering features like pre-registration and notifications, making it a crucial tool for streamlined, secure, and visitor-friendly environments.
Why are Visitor Management Systems becoming so important for businesses?
There’s a variety of people that walk through the doors of a reception area every day. Not only employees but also contractors, deliveries, visitors and partners. With other administrative duties, manually signing visitors in and out can be time-consuming for reception staff. In a modern business, efficiency is everything and visitor management systems are designed with this in mind.
Visitor Management Systems are vital for business efficiency as they bolster security, ensuring accurate registration, watchlist checks, and controlled access. Compliance with data protection regulations is facilitated through secure data management and audit trails. Streamlined check-in processes, coupled with features like self-service kiosks. Quickly access essential tools like evacuation lists and communication capabilities. Insightful analytics offer valuable business intelligence, optimising resource allocation. Integration with other systems improves overall workflows, while health screenings and contactless solutions prioritise visitor well-being. These factors collectively contribute to a safer, more efficient, and visitor-friendly business environment.
Who needs a visitor management system?
Any organisation or facility that welcomes external individuals, such as businesses, offices, schools, hospitals, and government institutions, benefits from a Visitor Management System (VMS). It is crucial for enhancing security, ensuring compliance, and optimising operational efficiency. From managing guest access to tracking visitor activities, a VMS is indispensable for organisations prioritising safety, accountability and positive visitor experiences. Regardless of size or industry, those with a focus on controlling access, maintaining regulatory compliance, and creating a secure and streamlined environment find a VMS valuable in managing the influx of visitors effectively.
Why use a Visitor Management System? The Use Cases
There’s many reasons to utilise a visitor management system for office use and beyond. We’ll break these down in more detail below but if you are in a rush, the use cases for visitor management systems are:
- Security & safety in the workplace
- Reducing overheads
- Reporting and auditing
- Integration with other systems
- Enhanced visitor experience.
Security and safety in the workplace
The reception of your business can often be the busiest area on a day-to-day basis. staff, visitors, deliveries, partners and contractors can come and go and it can be hard to keep track of who’s in the building. This naturally has implications for safety, security and compliance, which old-school methods of tracking, like a paper-based logbook, aren’t reliable for. Good visitor management systems enable fast and effective tracking of all comings and goings of a building, as well as being an easy way to fill out legal documents, waivers and print identity badges. This mitigates unapproved visitors from entering and discourages malicious behaviour.
Should the worst happen and an emergency occurs where all staff need to vacate the premises immediately, but also need to be accounted for, you’re not going to take a paper sign-in book on to the car park with you. But a visitor management system app which can be accessed via an iPad or phone would be realistic. With reporting capabilities in the best visitor management systems, you can quickly access who was in the building and check they are safe- thus a simple app can make all the difference when it matters most.
A Visitor Management System reduces overheads by automating check-in processes, minimising the need for dedicated personnel. Self-service kiosks and streamlined registration decrease staffing requirements, saving on labour costs. The system’s efficiency reduces administrative workload, allowing staff to focus on core tasks rather than manual data entry. Additionally, by enhancing security measures and minimising the risk of unauthorised access, businesses can mitigate potential financial losses associated with security breaches or incidents, further contributing to overall cost reduction.
Reporting and Auditing
A Visitor Management System aids auditing and reporting by maintaining a comprehensive record of visitor data. It generates detailed reports on visitor activities, entry logs, and compliance metrics, facilitating audits for regulatory purposes. The system’s analytics provide insights into visitor patterns and help assess the efficiency of security protocols. This centralised data ensures transparency, accountability, and the ability to track and analyse visitor interactions, contributing to robust reporting practices and streamlined audit processes for organisations.
Integrations with other systems
The modern business is dependent on many different systems for different roles and functions. Company visitor management systems are built with this in mind. Good visitor management system software can integrate with various other company software systems like CRM’s. This means that sales and marketing departments can track when visitors have been on site and use that information to quickly follow up post-visit, for example.
Through API compatibility, VMS’s can share visitor data, streamlining workflows and enhancing overall efficiency. Integration enables real-time information exchange, allowing businesses to synchronise visitor records, access permissions, and relevant data across various platforms, ensuring a cohesive and interconnected operational environment.
Enhanced Visitor Experience
They say you only get one first impression. The same rules apply to on-site visits from potential or current customers. If you want your business to be perceived as organised, safe and reliable, your business processes must reflect that. Visitor management systems reduce wait times through self-service devices, creating a seamless check-in process. Digital signatures and contactless options enhance convenience, while accurate data capture ensures a personalised and efficient visit. VMS prioritises security, provides a sense of safety, and fosters positive interactions, contributing to an overall enhanced and welcoming visitor experience. In essence, it’s a digital welcome handshake.
See above: Visitor Management System Visitor X in use in the reception of Bluestonex
The Features of a Good Visitor Management System
Whilst there is a standard set of features which makes up a visitor management system, there are extra features to be aware of which make all the difference between a regular VM system and a great VM system. Here are some of the key differentiators to look out for:
Customisation and configuration
Customisation is a very important feature to look for in a visitor management system. Customisation enables you to build a tailored electronic welcome to your office or facility, which can be important if, for example, your organisation has branches all over the globe. UK and Indian customs may differ slightly leading to the need for custom visitor management systems in the UK compared to visitor management systems in India. This can relate to integration requirements, advanced security measures or simply just visitor management system design changes.
An intuitive and easy-to-use interface for both visitors and staff enhances the overall experience. It not only simplifies the process of signing in and out but also improves the overall image of a company.
Pre-registration and Notifications
Features allowing visitors to pre-register and receive notifications upon arrival, streamlining the check-in process- for both visitor and reception team. This ensures there’s no hanging around, unexpected delays or wasted time.
Reporting and Analytics
Comprehensive reporting tools provide insights into visitor patterns, compliance metrics, and other relevant data. This helps reception teams allocate resources as well as provide useful information to strategic management.
Compatibility with other systems, such as CRM or ERP, for seamless workflow integration. Integration is hugely important for sales and marketing teams for them to follow up with visitors once they have left the site. Furthermore, it can help management manage hybrid working schedules, making for a better work/life balance.
Advantages of Visitor Management System
- Enhanced Security: VMS strengthens security by accurately registering visitors, conducting watchlist checks, and controlling access, reducing the risk of unauthorised entry.
- Improved Efficiency: Streamlined check-in processes, self-service kiosks, and digital signatures minimise wait times, optimising overall operational efficiency.
- Positive Visitor Experience: Features like pre-registration and notifications contribute to a positive and welcoming visitor experience.
- Health and Safety Measures: Incorporates health screenings and contactless options, prioritizing visitor well-being, especially in the context of global health concerns.
- Cost Savings: Reduces overheads by automating processes, minimising the need for dedicated personnel, and mitigating financial risks associated with security breaches.
The Future of Visitor Management Systems: Move to the Cloud
The future of Visitor Management Systems is marked by a significant shift towards cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based VMS offers unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. Organisations can efficiently manage visitor data and security protocols remotely, facilitating real-time updates and system maintenance. This transition eliminates the need for on-premises infrastructure- bar an iPad (or other tablet for Android fans), reducing costs and enhancing overall agility. With cloud technology, VMS can easily integrate with other cloud-based services, fostering a more interconnected and efficient ecosystem. With the introduction of the SAP Business Technology Platform, visitor management systems like Visitor X take on a new role in the wider ecosystem as business accelerators.
How much does a Visitor Management System cost?
The cost of a Visitor Management System varies based on factors such as the features, scalability, and provider. Basic systems may start at a few hundred pounds, offering essential functionalities like visitor registration and badge printing. Mid-range options with additional features, such as real-time monitoring and integration capabilities, may range from £1,000 to £5,000. Enterprise-level solutions, offering advanced security features, customisation, and extensive integrations, can cost upwards of £10,000. Additionally, subscription models may involve monthly or annual fees. It’s advisable to request quotes from Visitor management system providers, considering the specific needs and size of the organisation.
That said, you can stumble across gems like Visitor X which has Advanced capabilities like pre-registration, sign-in and out and managing hosts and only costs half as much as as much as a mid-range electronic visitor management system. For more information on Visitor X, click here.
Visitor Management System Demo
Exploring a Visitor Management System (VMS) through a demo is a crucial step in understanding its capabilities and aligning them with your organisation’s needs. Requesting a demo allows you to experience first-hand how the system streamlines visitor registration, enhances security, and integrates with your existing workflows. Witness the user-friendly interface, real-time monitoring, and customisable features tailored to your requirements. Take the opportunity to ask questions and address specific concerns during the demonstration. To schedule your personalised demo of Visitor X, Visitor Management App, contact our team today!