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    4 Reasons Why FM Software Implementations Fail (And How To Prevent It)

    James McDonald

    So, you have identified the integrated workspace management solution (IWMS) that best fits the needs of your organization. You have come up with the solutions that will enhance your processes for increased productivity. You have even ensured the top executives are on board with this project. All that is left is the implementation. Assignment complete, right?

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    Wrong.

    While it does feel like the difficult part is over, the implementation section of your journey is just beginning. All too often, businesses arrive at this stage in the process and treat it as if it's smooth sailing from here, rushing the process along so the software solution can take over the work. But, the reality is, the implementation of this software is THE most critical part of the whole process. It should not be done as a rush job, but instead should be treated with careful consideration and patience. Anything less will result in a system that does not live up to management's expectations. We have come up with a list of the most common mistakes companies make and how to avoid them.

    Not Involving The Proper People From The Beginning

    It is fairly common for the final implementation decision to come from the top executives. However, to have the most effective system possible, companies must engage the entire team. Adopting this strategy will avoid implementation and operation issues, as they are consulting with those who will be utilizing the tools on a daily basis. By consulting HR, IT, sales, customer service, etc, you will gain a better understanding of current tools that are being utilized and feedback on those tools and how they can be improved. Fully understanding a department's current work flow will ensure a seamless melding of the current systems with the new IWMS.

    A very clear understanding of system requirements, security and software needs, as well as what is needed to interface with current systems, are key points that must be considered before making the final purchasing decision. Consulting with IT is critical, as this department will aid in gaining a clearer understanding of what current in-house processes, such as work-order management and data collection, must be in place for the installation to succeed.

    A solid relationship with the software vendor, as well as continued support after implementation is complete, is also very important. This relationship should be built in the consideration stage, as the vendor should play a critical role in identifying what modules will best serve your company's needs. The vendor should have the ability to paint a clear picture of what the process should look like, even after implementation is complete, ensuring that the IWMS meets all expectations. Which leads us to our next point...

    Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

    As discussed, management should work closely with every department through the consideration stage. This will aid you in determining what processes are currently working for you and which are not, as well as what the organization's short and long term goals are. While it may be tempting to purchase every module pertinent to your company right away, this typically proves to be a mistake. The most effective approach is to start with the processes that are currently the most ineffective, and work your way backwards from there. There is always time to add more modules at a later date. Choose a facilities management system with a robust number of module options that you can build on over time. Once those first modules have been implemented and are working properly for you, you can move on to the next levels. The goal is to build a modern, automated system that allows everyone at your organization to focus on what matters most--productivity. Trying to change the entire system all at once often backfires. With too much change and too much to learn all at once, you will feel a major backlash from those who must use the system daily, with them often refusing to use it. The end result? A software system that falls short of accomplishing your goals.

    Skimping On Training

    The training process is one that should not be overlooked. Many find it very tempting to skim over this part of implementation, anxious to get the software system working for them right away. This excitement often leads to rushing through the training sessions--and if you do not know how to use the software properly, you will find yourself disappointed in the IWMS, simply because of untapped potential.

    Many also see this as an opportunity to save money, assuming they can just refer to a manual if there are any questions. Bear in mind that the software system will not improve your processes, it will only automate the existing process. Therefore, the ideal training should focus 20 percent on the software and 80 percent on the customer's business processes. Otherwise, you will find yourself right back where you started, at the beginning of this journey.

    Forgetting About Mobility

    With much of today's workforce operating in cross-device, cross-platform environments, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of mobility. Did you know that 48 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets? Considering the amount of emails that are sent and opened each day, that is a staggering number! If a process is not convenient and easy to use, it is inevitable that it will be abandoned. Remember this when choosing the facility management software that is right for you--if mobile apps, such as iOffice's OpenSpace are not available by the vendor, the implementation will, ultimately, fail.

    Today's workforce needs to be mobile; and this means both in the office and out. Consider your own position, as the facilities manager. You cannot spend your day behind your desk--you need to be mobile--active and involved in the day to day grind. A collaborative environment is a productive one. Access to the right mobile tools encourages that collaboration, allowing both you and the rest of your team to engage each other as more of a regular, continued conversation.

    The process of implementing facility management software at your organization is one that can be long and tedious. To avoid these common pitfalls, research, commitment, patience and dedication to training is recommended. Without them, the installation will either fail outright, or not live up to management's expectations. If you follow the process with commitment and support, the software will pay for itself.

    The Pivotal Role The C-Suite Plays in Choosing an IWMS

    James McDonald

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    James McDonald

    James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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