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So you’ve completed your research regarding the multitude of benefits behind FM software implementation and gotten the key stakeholders in the company to agree to look further into options as far as software vendors and the systems they offer. Now it’s time to sift through your options and find the right fit for your company. The software options and subsequent choices you make are, of course, critical, but perhaps just as important, is the vendor themselves. This is a long-term investment; a process you will hopefully not undertake again for quite a while. Aligning yourself with a vendor who is in it for the long haul is just as important as the software itself. Your next step is to compile a shortlist of IWMS vendors and schedule a demo with each.
Before you set aside countless hours for demos with each one, though, there’s one more thing you’ll want to do that may help whittle down your list and save time: develop a round of key questions to the prospective vendors to help clarify the tools they offer and understand whether they’ll be a good fit with your organization. This will have a twofold effect. First, you eliminate any incompatible vendors and second, you’ll be armed with additional information that will help guide you, when it comes time to make that final decision.
Before we get into the questions you want to consider asking, we have one other critical piece of advice. The software vendor you choose should be someone you envision your company partnering with for years to come. They will be, in a sense, an extension of the business and they must possess the vision, drive, and ability to change and grow with the times. They should be on the cutting edge of technology and be consistently working to come up with innovative solutions for both your business and their own.
An organization’s website is a direct reflection on how they conduct business. Spend some time exploring their site. Does it look fresh and current? How visually pleasing is it and were they innovative in conveying their message? How much information and to what depth do they offer and how does this appeal to your desired needs? Your IWMS should not only help manage the company’s current situation, it must help lead you into the future. It is critical that the vendor you partner with recognizes this necessity and heeds their own advice.
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. When you visited their website, what did you feel? What was your professional reaction? Impressed or looking for more? Schedule demos only with the companies that left you intrigued and excited for your combined future and you will save yourself a great deal of time during this important stage of software implementation.
To unlock true potential, you’ll need to evaluate the available options and understand how they fit in with your unique needs. Even the most advanced systems won’t drive success if they aren’t addressing your specific goals. When you look at your options, you have to ensure that your IWMS is truly able to be your IWMS.
When evaluating technology options, you often think about the trade-offs. You hear that you can’t have it all, and know the importance of comparing the costs versus benefits. To discover the right solution, you have to determine what will be sacrificed to reach your goals. When you’re considering workplace solutions, that can sometimes mean sacrificing cost for features. But not with iOFFICE. We aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We think your workplace should have the tools you need, so you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. That’s why seeing your options firsthand is the first step to success.
Now, let’s take a look at the questions we recommend posing to vendors, prior to viewing demos. If they have an informative and thorough website, some of the below questions will already be answered. The demo will give you an opportunity to explore the person behind the video and allow you to determine if they will be a good addition to your team.
The process of identifying the Integrated Workplace Management System that fits all of your organizational needs is often an arduous one. Aligning yourself with an IWMS team that is multi-faceted and understands the dynamics of managing a facility is just as important as purchasing IWMS software itself. Vendor transparency is critical from stage one of the process, as it contributes to the overall success of a relationship and ensures you have a clear picture as to what should be expected from both parties. Partner up with a company whose system (and team) will help bridge the gap between where your FM team is, and where you are wanting to go, for the future. Schedule a demo to explore the power of iOFFICE today.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.
James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.