Bringing FM, HR and IT Together Through Software Integration
Regardless of your industry, there are a number of tools at your disposal that stand to make the job of managing your workplace more accurate and streamlined. One type of solution is facility management software. When implementing a new facilities management software, the goal should always be to bring the entire organization together- providing them the tools they need to do their jobs individually as well as collaboratively. Changes should be made with minimal disruption for the employees and solutions should have the ability to integrate across many platforms, allowing you to use the valuable systems already in place.
When researching a facilities management software solution, make sure you understand the primary applications your organization deploys for managing human resources, accounting and any other core business function. Sharing data with these systems will ensure the organization maximizes resources and ensures integrity of data. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important platforms you will want to ensure have integration capabilities.
Human Resources Software
One goal of your facilities management software should be to bring individuals together to create an environment that is free of redundancy and rich in productivity. A place in which employees have the tools and data they need to do their job with the utmost efficiency. Your HR Department is a key player in the facility’s operations. Your HR Department likely already has a software solution for managing the traditional Human Resources functions—otherwise known as Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). While systems such as Oracle and HRM are great for managing the daily tasks of HR, much of the information Human Resources gathers and uses should also be shared across other departments. This is your FM software solution should easily interface with HR, allowing for a steady flow of information across all platforms. Data from HR can automatically update important employee data like employee status, job title, departmental assignment, etc., while the FM software can be the master resource for employee location. This information can be easily sent back to the HR system during the scheduled process.
In addition, HR data pertaining to new hires and exiting employees can be configured to automatically trigger new hire and exiting employee tickets to eliminate manual or email notifications between departments.
Help Desk Systems
Frequently, companies already have a help desk system in place in which employees create facility or IT related service requests. The process to move the employee population from one system to another for different types of requests or to implement new systems can be considered a challenge to be avoided. However, this can be overcome with an interface between the help desk system and the FM software. Simple API’s should be available that allow the employee to access the system of record but the information is simultaneously populated in the FM software for tracking, management and reporting. A great example is move requests. Move tickets coming from help desk systems can easily be directed via API to the FM software for completion. The value of this process is it requires no change on the part of the employee, yet facilities have better control over execution and floor plans can be automatically updated.
Depending on the organization, ERP systems are in place for managing HR, Finance and/or Accounting. In addition to the need to access HR data as described above, access to financial data for chargeback and allocation of services is another reason to create interfaces between your FM software and the ERP platform. Frequently, the financial hierarchy in an organization will change on a regular basis. It is important to keep your FM software up to date with accurate info so that you can effectively understand how different departments and cost centers are using space. You can also track information about costs of transactions that can be charged back to the correct department. This dynamic is different for every organization but if your organization charges back for space use, facility services, assets and other services it is critical to have the latest data and to be able to easily communicate the charges back to the ERP system for proper allocation.
In order to maintain accurate measurements of your space and how it is used, it is important to be able to view the information and update on an as needed basis. AutoCAD is the best system of record for accurate floor plan calculations. However, AutoCAD is not the best tool for keeping occupant, asset and space use data accurate. FM software takes AutoCAD to a level that is more dynamic and user friendly so it is important for a seamless interface to exist between the two systems.
Many companies are moving to more flexible workspaces offering employees the ability to book meeting spaces or workstations on an as needed basis. In many cases, Microsoft Exchange is the system of record to schedule meetings and invite guests. However, this tool does not allow for spaces to be reserved and does not allow you to track space use. In addition there is no mobile interface. For these reasons, it is not an ideal tool for companies to use to manage booking and tracking of flexible workspaces. However, MS Exchange is not going anywhere. Therefore, the best alternative is for the FM software with the room booking features to create an interface with Exchange. This allows employees to make a reservation in Exchange, the FM software or the mobile app. As a result, the employee experience is enhanced and the facility team has an effective tool for tracking use of space.
Regardless of the software you are considering, it is imperative that the system easily interfaces with your currently installed systems. This will ensure that employee paper-handling workload is decreased, data integrity is guaranteed, and productivity is enhanced.