As the CEO of your company, you have likely had conversations with your team regarding advancements in technology that automate some of their work. You may have even heard how it will allow for higher productivity throughout the entire team, including yourself. Your FM team has watched all the demos, spoken with their peers, and are genuinely excited about the prospect of this added value. You, however, are still feeling a little skeptical about this major change. Possibly hesitant about the costs behind it and the potential disruption in workflow during integration. Additionally, is this avenue even one that your company would benefit from? Careful examination of your company's current business practices, as well as your vision for the future, will aid you in determining if facilities management software is something you and your team could legitimately benefit from.
What Challenges Are You Currently Faced With?
Whether you are the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, or the Director of a small non-profit organization, you likely run into many of the same challenges regarding the fluidity of how the various sections of the company all come together. You have a big project in which 50 new team members have been hired-- where/how will you find the space for them all? HR is asking questions about the best seating arrangement for several new employees. Meanwhile, one member has received a promotion and their new office will be across the building--HR and IT are asking the best way to handle this change with as little work disruption as possible. Finally, half of your employees work off-site, only coming into the office for important meetings--how do you manage conference room reservations with ease and efficiency? Or, maybe your company is in the process of moving to a new building and you are facing the overwhelming task of not only determining the most streamlined floor plan for your entire team, but also facilitating this move with ease and efficiency.
Regardless of what challenges your team faces, there is likely a software system to fit your needs. The critical questions you must face are: are you ready for this change? Is everyone on-board to take on this challenge and do you currently have the necessary processes in place to facilitate this change?
Facilities management software is not an instant cure; it is a tool that can empower your organization globally. However, since FM software is process driven, it is of the utmost importance to properly align this software with the proper processes and information. Without proper alignment, you will find the software facilitates. the bad processes as much as the good ones. As a manager, you must de- fine your company's current and future business vision and mission.
Assembling information from your various departments will provide you with a clear picture not only of your company's best and worst practices, but also de- livers an intelligible path as to where your focus should be. Gather your team and ask them to provide weekly and monthly reports on the following:
- Space Statistics--how is the space currently utilized? What are the positives? Where have they run into issues and what were those issues? How efficiently are workspace changes handled?
- Service Request Tickets--How many service tickets are completed daily, weekly, monthly and yearly? How quickly are they handled once they are received? What is the process for this and how efficient are those processes?
- Inventory of resources and assets--gaining an understanding of these resources and assets will ensure you do not spend unnecessary dollars on items you already have, or whose life could be extended through proper, regular maintenance.
This information will help guide you to how efficient your current processes are and where your focus should be, should you decide to adopt new processes. Should you determine FM software will help you in ROI maximization, this information will provide critical information in tracking your future ROI.
What Business Tools Do You Utilize?
Careful scrutinization of your facility's existing business processes and tools, as well as their effectiveness will be a good indicator as to if FM software is right for you. A few items to consider are:
- What Human Resources software is utilized and how accurate is this software? Are they willing to integrate with a new tool? Do they have a workflow for on-boarding/off-boarding?
- Does your IT department have the capability to integrate with this new software and what would be the server infrastructure requirements?
- Do they have a policy for SaaS? Discuss this policy and the options of in-house hosting versus outside hosting sources, where SaaS issues would no longer be an issue.
Input from each available department arms you with the intricacies for assimilating this new software as well as where it is needed most.
Is Your Entire Workforce Ready For Change?
We have all heard the age-old adage "build it and they will come". But, as we all know, especially in the workforce, this is not always the case. Managing such a huge undertaking will require everyone's involvement to some capacity. How your team members embrace changes, as well as new technology, will play a major role in the success of this campaign. Will your IT department be able to tackle these changes? Who conducts the training for this systems software; how long will it take/how difficult is it to learn? Do you have at least one person who has the time and ability to learn this new tool and train everyone else? It must be determined that your organization, en masse, has the ability to adopt these new processes and your new mission, or your goal of maximizing ROI, will fall short.
The process of adopting a Facilities Management software system, if handled appropriately, can be done with fluidity. Your company can see immediate changes in the tasks the various departments are a part of, with tangible evidence of your ROI through the software itself. However, "knowledge is power" with an undertaking of this magnitude. A well defined strategic plan and utilizing your current resources as guidance is key to achieving both success in service alignment and ROI maximization.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.