If you had the ability to streamline your daily work processes, effectively communicate with all employees and clients, manage available resources with aplomb, positively affect the bottom line, and emerge as a leader in your field, why would you not make this choice? It seems highly illogical, yet every day this same opportunity is turned down or shunned for a multitude of reasons. Some feel the cost for such an answer/solution would be too high while some profess that change to a working system isn't necessary. And others question where they would even begin to amass a system to handle all of these tasks. Fortunately, for the modern FM, such systems are available, fairly easily accessible and can be rationalized for cost with employees, clients, and the all-important C-suite. FM software is the answer and here's how to approach the questions.
The Boss Isn't Sold
“The value added by increasing the productivity of FM customers — business units or other support functions — is far greater and is the most important factor in justifying automation to upper management.” -Chris Keller, Faciltiesnet
One of the biggest hurdles to implementing a facilities management software tool, or IWMS, is how to secure approval for such a purchase and the implementation process. With so much attention on the data driving the bottom line, there is often staunch opposition to added costs in an already functioning system. When approaching the C-suite about making purchases, it is important to acknowledge the costs involved. There is no sense in pretending it won't make an impact. The key is moving beyond the here and now and focus on the long term positive impacts on the bottom line. Show how an updated system will lower costs and pay for itself in the long run, so much so that the overall savings far outweigh the initial costs. When confronted with data condemning such a move, combat the naysayers with your own data to bear out your position. One important mantra to focus on is the overall increase in productivity and its affect on the bottom line. This type of data is sure to resonate with the c-suite, once presented with the numbers in a logical, well-organized presentation.
The System Works Now
Let’s assume for a minute that the systems you currently have in place are effective and familiar for all users, therefore you see no reason for updating or changing. Although everything is working now, do you expect work to remain in a bubble forever? Maybe landline phone systems were effective enough. Should we abandon mobile devices and computer systems? That doesn't seem very logical either, does it?
The truth is, no matter how effective a system is currently, business practices, and the world for that matter, are constantly moving forward. What is best today may be your pitfall tomorrow. Your job as an effective FM is to look to the future and anticipate where you should go next, before you are actually there. FM software, fortunately, should be designed to be updated and upgraded and allow for changes to the software without wholesale changes to an organization's existing processes. In addition, updated systems, which can be omnipresent in the workforce, will be better at identifying potential problems, before they arise, further adding to the bottom-line value. For more information about how expanded facilities management software tools can benefit your overall performance, check out our blog Facility Managers Need the Proper Tools to Follow through on Their Commitments.
Another popular rebuff stems from the comparison to other similar organizations. If this company, which is similar to my own, isn't using a facilities management software, then it must not be necessary for me, either. This kind of simple A to B logic may seem solid, but in actuality it is shortsighted and potentially destructive. Repeated comparison to the competition only serves to keep your organization in a dead heat with others, whereas you should really be striving to surpass and emerge as a leader, amongst your peers and in your field. A better comparison may be with the next tier of organizations similar to your own. What helped them vault to their current position and what are they doing to continue to grow? More than likely, streamlined processes, increased communication, better customer service, and a C-suite who supports change are key factors in their success; the same kind of factors which will be improved with the addition of FM software.
Deciding against FM software, or IWMS tools, based on the size of your company or organization will sometimes go hand in hand with the comparison of competitors. Your company may be small now, but aren't you looking for some amount of growth? Isn't there some expansion on the horizon, even if just in theory? Prepare now. Also, there are numerous different systems, most of which can be customized, no matter what size the company. When considering what you'll need, it can be helpful to seek out a vendor who will work with you to design the proper software system for your company. There is the potential of buying too much engine for your boat, so to speak, so consultation with professionals about your needs is a valued step. Think about your own needs and develop some appropriate questions before a consultation.
Where Do I Start?
Even after considering all of the pros and cons for facility management software, and coming to the conclusion that it is the right choice, some will still have trouble with knowing where to get started. Your first step should be to compile a comprehensive list of all of your organization's assets. Physical space, equipment, technology, and even staff should all be accounted for, to get a clear picture of what is being managed and where the greatest needs may lie. Consult your team, too, as they may have greater insight into the success and failure of existing systems. This will also help to invest them in the new software, helping to strengthen their resolve about impending changes. Consider, also, where you want to be in one, five or ten years and consider an expanding game plan to cover the changes and growth involved. And again, consult your current vendors or other professionals in the software field to see where your next steps should take place.
Implementing a new system or software can always appear complicated, when first approaching the idea. The pieces are fluid and adjustable and costly changes should not be implemented without careful consideration. Conversely, being able to improve your FM ability should always rank at the top of your list. You are doing everyone a disservice by resisting change, which is beneficial for all parties involved, simply because you don't want to venture into unfamiliar or uncharted territory. Be bold and show you are a leader, not just part of the herd.
IWMS software allows organizations to manage many aspects of the workplace through a single platform. They can manage space, streamline office moves, keep track of their assets and manage service requests, among other things.
And when IWMS software is integrated with workplace apps through an interface like iOFFICE Hummingbird, there is a closed loop between employees and workplace managers. Employees can find people and spaces, reserve rooms, request service and receive visitors and mail no matter where they're working. And workplace leaders have real-time visibility into how employees are actually using the space, so they can make more informed decisions about how to allocate spaces and assets. This makes employees and workplace leaders more productive while reducing costs, improving security and compliance.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.