The Ultimate Guide to Facility Management Software
The workplace has changed a lot — and finding facility management software that meets your ever-evolving needs is critical.
Today, employees are simultaneously craving connections and apprehensive about getting too close to each other. They’re eager to be back in the office and part of a consistent routine, but they also long for the safety they felt at home. People have missed their workplaces, but they don’t want to lose the flexibility they enjoyed while working from home.
In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic simply accelerated a transformation most organizations were already experiencing: the move to a workplace experience in which employees have access to all the technology they need to enjoy a true work-life balance.
“Workplaces faced constant change before the pandemic — and there’s more to come. But one thing won’t change: human nature,” says Shannon Mullen O’Keefe, adviser and performance lead of Organizational Performance Consulting at Gallup. “Research shows that, before all of this, people were already demanding a renewed focus on their life anyway…that work not be just a job — but that their employers consider their whole life.”
How can you create a workplace that helps your organization evolve beyond these challenges and prepare for the next era?
It starts by having the right technology — and that’s where facility management software comes into play.
Who needs facility management software?
Facility management software is ideal for leaders of organizations with multiple buildings and assets. Consider all the work that goes into keeping up with daily maintenance activities for just one office building. There are HVAC systems to service, chillers and boilers to check, lightbulbs to change and restrooms to clean. If you’re lucky enough to have a facilities management team, you need an efficient way to assign and track these various maintenance requests.
You also need to keep track of preventive maintenance activities, which can eliminate expensive equipment downtime and result in significant cost savings.
Facility management software also helps you keep track of important documents you need to ensure compliance, such as lease agreements and inspection reports.
In addition to helping your facility maintenance team work more efficiently, facility management software solutions allow you track important metrics so you can measure outcomes.
You can share these details with your leadership team in the form of dashboards and customized reports. Whether you want to improve space utilization, improve energy efficiency, reduce building costs or all of the above, it all starts by collecting the right data.
These are just a few reasons why forward-thinking FMs, real estate executives and workplace leaders invest in facility management software.
3 things to consider when choosing facility management software
Whether you’re investing in facility management software for the first time or you’re exploring new solutions, you should start your search by considering a few key elements:
1. Ease of use
No one needs another cumbersome, complicated software system to manage. That’s why it’s essential to consider the user experience when evaluating software solutions. Look for software that’s intuitive, simple, and fits into the flow of employees’ workday. Additionally, consider back-end functionality and ensure it’s also user-friendly for you and your facilities management team.
2. Ease of implementation
Much about a solution’s success depends on its deployment. Part of this rests on your ability to bring in the right people at the right times (like HR and IT), train your workforce, and develop logical processes. But an equal share of the responsibility lies in the software itself, and how easy it is to implement. Make sure the software you choose is backed by an experienced and supportive implementation team.
You’ll also want to make sure they have ongoing training and resources to help your team maximize your investment.
3. How well it integrates with your existing technology
Facility management software can do many things, but every feature and benefit should ultimately meet two main criteria: enhancing business outcomes, and improving the workplace experience.
If your software isn’t doing that, it’s not doing its job.
Today’s employees expect a higher level of support from their employers. And employers who deliver on that expectation report higher levels of productivity and increased profits. In fact, better engaged teams are 21% more profitable, according to data shared by Forbes.
Think of your facility management software as the hub around which all other workplace technology connects — including all the apps and tools you and your team rely on every day. If the facility management solution you choose doesn’t integrate with these tools, your FM team and your employees will be less likely to use it.
A few key integrations you’ll need include:
Occupancy/space planning software
If you’re like most organizations, your real estate represents your second-biggest line item.
In light of the pandemic, you’re likely re-evaluating your use of office space and figuring out how to reconfigure your space for physical distancing. Space utilization and occupancy planning software will help ensure nothing is going to waste.
The best facility management software solutions make space planning easy. They should allow you to easily adjust floor plans for physical distancing, manage seat assignments and ensure you have enough space to meet the needs of your growing workforce.
Energy management software
We’re all focused on energy conservation and waste reduction, but scaling a green initiative is easier said than done. Energy management software helps you collect data from your various systems and gives you better insight into how you can reduce both your energy consumption and operating expenses.
As people continue to work from home more often, they’re going to be using the workplace differently. When they come into the office, they’ll want to make the most of the opportunities for face-to-face interaction. That means more large meetings, small gatherings, and one-on-ones. IoT sensors can help you better understand how people use different areas so you can make better decisions.
For instance, if you notice a large conference room is underutilized, you might consider breaking it into two smaller rooms. Sensors can also be powerful tools to help you clean your workplace efficiently and cost-effectively.
(For more on that, check out our recent webinar with CoWorkr.)
Employee experience solutions
When employees come into the office, they aren’t necessarily going to be spending the majority of their time at their desks — or even sitting in the same seats each day. That’s why it’s becoming so important for them to quickly find the people, places and services they need to work efficiently.
They need solutions that help them find important points of interest, reserve workspaces or rooms, request service and check in visitors.
Ideally, they should be able to do this all from a mobile app that connects directly to your facility management software.
Find the best facility management software: Ask these 10 questions
As you evaluate facility management software solutions and narrow down your choices, it’s crucial you ask each provider the right questions.
Here are 10 questions that will give you deeper insight:
- Is your solution software-as-a-service (SaaS), meaning we pay a monthly subscription that includes hosting, maintenance, and upgrades?
- Does your facility management software offer a mobile app for both our FM team and employees?
- Can you share a list of integrations?
- Will we have a dedicated implementation manager to ensure success?
- How does your pricing model work?
- How will you handle upgrades to our facility management software system?
- What training and support do you offer?
- What facility management metrics can I track?
- Does your software include dashboards where I can see real-time data?
- How will your solution help our organization achieve our specific goals (such as safety, sustainability, and employee engagement)?
The way we work has been evolving for decades, but the pandemic expedited the shift. New technologies, such as IoT sensors, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are also changing the game. As a workplace leader, it’s up to you to drive your organization forward and ensure you’re doing everything you can to support your workforce today and well into the future.
Selecting the right facility management software will help you achieve these goals. Look for a solution that integrates easily with the technology you’re already using and is flexible enough to adapt to other emerging technologies.
Discover why our facility management software received the highest overall score among 23 other solutions from independent analyst firm Verdantix. Read the report.
Additional facility management software resources
5 Sectors That Benefited Most From Facility Management Software
4 Signs Your Facility Management System Needs An Overhaul
Why Facility Management Software Is Better In the Cloud
How Long Does It Take To Implement iOFFICE’s Facility Management Software?
How to Make the Most of Your Facility Management Software Investment