4 Questions to Answer Before Implementing an IWMS
An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) can be a game-changer for any enterprise, but it's certainly not an instant, magical solution to all of your facilities management challenges. If the business has unrealistic expectations or if there is neither a well-organized short-term nor long-term plan in place, an IWMS won't be much help.
Before implementing an IWMS in your enterprise, make sure you know the answers to these four questions.
What Does the Organization Want to Achieve With an IWMS?
Start by defining the short- and long-term objectives you hope to achieve by implementing an IWMS. Be as detailed as possible. While some goals might be loftier than others, the more comprehensive the wish list, the easier it will be to identify the objectives that are the highest priority. You’ll also be able to determine which capabilities you’re willing to compromise on.
If you’re having difficulty setting clearly defined goals, consider the problems you’re hoping an IWMS can solve. This will help you determine which categories of services the IWMS you choose must offer.
For example, if a common complaint is difficulty locating and reserving open conference rooms, you’ll need a room reservation software. Or if your service team is consistently overwhelmed by service requests which never seem to get handled without disrupting the workforce, the IWMS must feature facility maintenance capabilities. Maybe building and office equipment never seems to be where your existing software says it is. The solution to this is asset tracking.
What Data Does the Company Want to Track With an IWMS?
Similar to the previous step, your organization must know which data is important to improving operations and which is superfluous.
If you’re concerned about what percentage of the workspace within your facility is actually being utilized, you’ll need space management software. Conversely, if your organization is 100 percent paperless (or nearly paperless), you won’t necessarily need insight into the volume of incoming and outgoing mail or monthly postage expenses, which means you can forgo mailroom management software.
Does the Workforce Know What to Expect During IWMS Implementation?
It’s important for employees to know the implementation of an IWMS is not “plug-and-play.” It takes time to integrate the solution with existing procedures and software in addition to training the staff on how to properly navigate each module. Even an expert implementation team will experience some bumps in the road during the onboarding process.
Management teams must set realistic expectations for the workforce by communicating the following:
- Anticipated implementation timeline
- Steps involved in the process
- Responsibilities of each employee for implementation
- How long it takes to feel comfortable using the system
- When the workforce can expect the solution to be functioning at full capacity
Supervisors should be prepared to answer any questions from employees well before the actual implementation. While team members will likely not have a full understanding of the ins and outs of the IWMS until they begin using it, it’s a good idea to provide introductory resources so employees have a better idea of what will be involved in the process.
What is the Post-Implementation Plan?
Once the IWMS has been in place for a few months and has been adopted by the workforce, is there a roadmap for continuous improvement? As with any workplace technology, over time it’s necessary to identify areas where functionality could be enhanced—either via internal resources or with the help of the IWMS vendor. Organizations must have a plan in place for how to continuously improve the system to adapt to evolving business needs.
The company also must know how upgrades will be deployed. Depending on whether the system is on-premise, hosted or SaaS will determine if there are additional fees or new equipment required, the time commitment for the upgrade and whether the upgrades will be need to be managed via an internal IT team or if the vendor will oversee them.
Finally, the business should know who is responsible for ongoing support. If the plan is to use internal resources, additional personnel may be required. If the vendor will provide support, employees must know how and when to contact the external support team.
The benefits of implementing an IWMS are numerous, but the process of integrating the system into your enterprise should not be approached haphazardly. Knowing the answers to the four questions above can increase the likelihood of a successful implementation and continued positive results.
Adopting any workplace technology can be challenging. Discover how to make the process easier with our free eBook, The Workplace Leader’s Playbook for New Technology.