ID card software is the core component of your ID card program — it’s the engine that allows you to design your cards, customize elements, store and reuse or access cardholder data, and print personalized badges. It governs your flexibility and the system’s utility.
If you want to make the most of your ID Card/Badge system, selecting the right software is critical. You need to first understand available software choices and their features and functions. Second, carefully evaluate your organization’s ID needs. Then you can wisely select the software that allows you to meet those needs.
Because ID software isn’t all created equal, the software choice you make is really important and depends completely on your needs. ID software is available from a number of vendors in three general categories: basic, medium-featured, and full-featured.
Most ID card software solutions allow you to design ID cards using imported images, text, barcodes, and predefined templates. These are great if you need to print basic cards and don’t really need to develop and reuse a card-record database.
Basic ID software typically includes:
While this entry-level software is usually fine for smaller-sized businesses that need only a limited number of cards each year (up to a few hundreds), many organizations that rely on ID Cards/Badges need more than these basic features.
With more advanced features and functions designed for batch printing, this software level well serves organizations that require an external database capability (connectivity), and want to save and search cardholder records for quick reprints.
Many small and medium-sized businesses want the added flexibility of:
Large organizations and corporate environments with many locations and large databases require key functionalities that only the full-featured ID software solutions offer:
How many cardholder records do you need to store? — Is it just a few hundreds per year, or could it be thousands? Your answer to this depends on many different factors, but especially how your organization uses ID cards. Do you need security for your ID card data records? Do you want to control who accesses and manipulates that data?
Does your ID card program require connection to outside databases? —Is the data you need to incorporate into your ID cards already resident or managed in existing databases? Does the data for your cards change and update frequently within those other databases? If so, it may be wise to select ID software that connects to those databases rather than recreating or reentering the data into the ID card system. Finally, what kind of database does your organization use?
Other important considerations —
Card Design — ID software provides templates for card layout and design, or allows you to design cards on your own. It allows text editing combined with database fields, and image importation in varied formats, image editing, formatting and placement. Some ID software allows you to capture and incorporate signatures and fingerprints too.
Encoding — ID software allows you to add 1D or 2D barcodes, encode magnetic strips for functionality, and add proximity or smart card encoding.
Cardholder Record Management — ID software conveniently stores, and allows you to easily and quickly manage, view, and search, cardholder data (from one or multiple groups). Through customizable record screens you can do a lot with your cardholder records.
Database Connectivity — In addition to its own editable database templates for common organizational types, ID software can quickly connect to your (or a 3rd party’s) established external data source and retrieve data from common database platforms to incorporate into ID cards.
Security — You can configure ID software to establish user permissions to prevent unauthorized access to your data and designs.
Managing Visitors — ID software allows you to control facility access, verify visitor and employee credentials, track their movements, create activity logs, and monitor and generate reports on time and attendance.
Tracking Time and Attendance — ID software can create time and attendance badges that track and centrally gather employee data for easy management. Manual timesheets and punch cards and cumbersome data entry are history.
By carefully considering both your organization’s circumstances and ID card needs and the various ID card software features and functions available, you’ll be able to make the right software choice, maximize the utility of your ID card system, and produce the ID card types best suited to your operation (e.g., ID cards, access-control badges, time/attendance, loyalty cards, membership cards, event passes, payment cards).