Explaining what a facility management software actually does for an organization isn't as easy as it sounds. These systems have the ability to assist with multiple functions. And, with over 200 suppliers in the marketplace, the price, focus and functions vary substantially.
From space management to life cycle asset tracking, choosing the right system for your organization could be a daunting task. I think it would be appropriate to define what facility management is before we dive deep into explaining what these systems do.
What is Facility Management
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as, "a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology." This could be simplified to say that it is the "practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of the organization."
Facility Management Software
Software for facility management has evolved exponentially in line with the evolution and advent of new technology. What started as a simple database to register buildings now provides the following:
1. Management of workflow processes (repair requests, completion & costs)
2. Streamlining of recurring or cyclical services
3. Tracking asset warranties, activities and inputs (total cost of ownership)
4. Provide data and analytics to reduce costs and make smarter purchasing decisions
5. Simplify workflow and interdepartmental communications
6. Energy management and sustainability practices
What should I look for in an FM Software?
Communication and transparency are essential to running a successful enterprise regardless of the industry. Technology should not disrupt these essentials, but ENHANCE them. An FM Software is beneficial when it can improve communication and increase transparency for all departments and outside suppliers.
1. Consider the "Sizzle vs. the Steak"
Software systems can offer a superficial or perceived view of detail and value on their surface. The advent of "big data" has opened the door for these companies to provide large volumes of data. But, it's not the amount of data that is important. What matters is the quality of the data and how an organization analyzes and uses it. For data to truly to bring value it must be ACTIONABLE. That means the data isn't simply telling you something that happened in the past, it's providing you with information to make a decision NOW and avert FUTURE adversity.
What you should consider:
a. How valuable to my organization is the data that is being provided?
b. How and who will analyze this data?
c. What ACTIONABLE decisions can I make with this data?
d. How much time and effort does it take to receive and analyze the data?
2. Consider User Interface and Adoption
At the core of every organization is people. We are inundated with technology every minute and organizations are constantly implementing new systems, processes and technologies to improve efficiency. When people see a technology as "clunky" or antiquated, they will immediately revolt and resist from utilizing the tools set forth. FM software touches many people in an organization. Ensuring that the system you choose is simple and makes sense to use will set you up for success.
The future of all things technology is mobile. But, mobility is more of a mindset than it is a technology. According to Bob O'Donnell, Founder and Chief Analyst at Technalysis Research, "The confluence of smartphones, tablets and cloud-based computing services, along with a growing percentage of millennial and Gen Y employees, is leading to a fundamental shift in how businesses are contemplating all things mobile." Facility Management is an "always on the go" and "always on" profession. Emergencies happen, and you need to have access to information quickly and efficiently.
The effective mobility of the software you choose must be considered not just for you, but the entire organization and how it coincides with your processes.
Contact Ecotrak Facility Management today to experience the Next Revolution in Asset and Facility Management Software Innovation.
Erich Munzner is a Co-Founder of The Ecolution Group, LLC which consists of multiple companies that provide services and technology to commercial properties and businesses.