Public-safety agencies the world over depend on software to deliver services. Computer-aided dispatch, records management, human resources, resource tracking, common operating picture, emergency management, communications, and other software applications help public-safety agencies achieve their operational mission and form the building blocks to deliver services better, faster, and cheaper — at least that's the hope.

No public-safety agency can afford to fail in its effort to find and implement the right software solution. Here are five common mistakes to avoid during the software-purchasing process. The No. 1 mistake is not starting out with clearly defined goals and desired operational outcomes that can be measured or at least described clearly.

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