If you’ve ever been involved in your organization’s purchase of a new software platform or other technology investment, you know it’s not often as cut and dry as you hope. From the moment you identify the need for a solution, nearly everyone begins voicing their opinions. But while entertaining feedback is important for selecting technology that meets your organization’s needs, not everyone knows the full scope of your workplace needs. And when you’re investing in something as significant as an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), you need reliable input.
But the truth is, even if you have a well-groomed procurement team and standardized process, selecting software can be a challenge — particularly when it comes to choosing an IWMS. Which begs the question: Who should be involved?
In our Q4 2016 survey, we asked iOFFICE users who had significant influence in purchasing their IWMS solution, or acted as the sole decision maker.
Here are the top five responses:
- Workplace/FM Leader (88 percent)
- Director of Real Estate (48 percent)
- The Workforce (33 percent)
- Member of the C-suite (CEO, CFO or COO) (31 percent)
- IT Leader (25 percent)
Here’s why you need to loop in these five people before you invest in an IWMS.
1. Workplace Leader
It’s no surprise the head of facilities management should be included in the decision — after all, a great IWMS will effectively revolutionize and streamline the FM team’s entire operation. And the wrong IWMS software could destroy the FM team’s productivity. Arguably, the workplace leader has the most to gain (or lose) from this investment, and thus their opinion should weigh heavily on the final choice.
More often than not, it’s also the workplace leader who petitions for this investment in the first place, so they’ll likely have done their homework before the procurement process even begins and can provide a feature “wish list” to help guide the search.
2. Director of Real Estate
The CRE director oversees everything from acquisitions and leasing to property management and tax issues. Much like other leaders in the organization, their primary goal is to protect the organization’s bottom line. More often than not, this means choosing assets wisely and keeping a close eye on spatial usage.
One of the most important functions of IWMS is tracking space utilization data. This information can help the CRE leader and the FM leader collaborate to achieve improved space optimization. The better the organization uses space, the smarter its real estate investments and the healthier the bottom line. By bringing the director of real estate into the conversation, you can ensure the IWMS solution your organization chooses will help achieve their space utilization goals.
At the end of the day, your IWMS exists to support the workforce by optimizing the workplace environment. But asking every employee in an organization to participate in choosing an IWMS isn’t exactly feasible. Instead, it can be helpful to put together a sample group or take a poll to determine what’s most important to the workforce. By determining the most common needs and concerns, and finding a solution that helps overcome these issues, team members will be more likely to adopt the new technology once it’s rolled out.
Depending on the size and structure of your organization, a member of the C-suite may only come into the mix briefly to sign off on the final decision. But not involving top-level executives earlier in the process is a mistake. Whether it’s the CEO, CFO, COO or another leader, top-tier executives have access to sensitive data and high-level business objectives middle management may not have. This sort of insight can help steer the decision toward a solution that will provide measurable, sustainable ROI.
Furthermore, C-suite buy-in is critical to IWMS success. When the C-Suite is involved in the decision, you’re more likely to experience swift company wide-adoption. Additionally, an IWMS can be the catalyst for improved workplace culture. Without C-suite buy-in, the tool will likely be under-utilized and your organization may never have the opportunity to enjoy its full potential.
5. IT Leader
The IT department’s involvement in selecting and adopting an IWMS depends greatly on whether the software is hosted, on-premise or a SaaS solution. If you opt for a hosted or on-premise IWMS, the IT team will be tasked with rolling out, integrating and maintaining the software, so looping them into the entire conversation crucial.
However, if you select a SaaS solution, the IT team will only need to be involved from a collaborative standpoint — helping your organization determine how to transition to a digital workplace and leverage IWMS to support these efforts. In other words, a SaaS solution can make your IT leader’s job a little easier.
The IT leader is also the expert on the organization’s existing software, and will be able to quickly identify which IWMS will be easiest to integrate and which might cause potential challenges.
Given your IWMS is only as powerful as the data it aggregates, the sooner the IT leader joins the process, the better.
Choosing an IWMS can be a convoluted process if you’re not taking the right feedback into account. But by looping in the workplace leader, IT leader, a member of the C-suite and collecting insights from the workforce, you can streamline decision-making and select a solution that will help your organization exceed its goals.