By: Alexandra Bonanno
Professionals across a range of different industries have benefited from the progression of technology, and facilities management (FM) is no exception. Thanks to advancements in cloud computing, machine learning and beyond, facilities managers are more equipped now than ever to accomplish everything from processing work orders to managing assets and scheduling preventive maintenance. Modern software solutions not only help to organize and streamline FM operations, they have the power to transform the ways in which facilities professionals effect change within their organizations.
For years, FM was stuck in manual mode. This meant that to be efficient, facilities managers devoted precious time and resources to tedious administrative tasks that ultimately detracted from their ability to do the actual work of managing projects, engaging service providers and directing teams.
Today’s FM professional, however, relies less on manual measures and more on digital ones. Keeping track of work orders and vendors on Post-It notes is a practice of the past, and multi-site facilities managers need to upgrade their processes if they want to compete.
For many, it’s not a question of what but when: When is the right time to invest in a facilities management solution? How many facilities and how many vendors necessitate the leap from pen and paper to digital platform?
Before diving in and exploring the FM software market, it can be helpful to take a step back and assess your needs first. By asking the following questions of your facilities management operations, you’ll be better able to make informed decisions about platforms and strategic partners.
Do I have access to advanced reporting capabilities?
Having the ability to quickly and accurately report on different metrics or predetermined criteria is crucial to the success of any FM program. Reporting offers key insights into overall progress, individual project goals, total spend and more. If you can’t easily create or customize reports, it might be time to invest in a platform that offers this feature.
Can I run analytics using my current system?
Much like reporting, access to analytics is becoming increasingly important when it comes to tracking progress. Manual systems or outdated software restrict your ability to measure results at scale, preventing you from generating reports that provide both day-to-day and big picture insights into facilities operations and costs.
Do I understand the trends impacting my team?
With increased visibility into the status of open items, or the number of emergency repairs your team routinely tackles, for example, you’ll be better able to gauge your facilities’ future needs. Understanding the projects or tasks that have the biggest impact on your team’s productivity can help you determine and respond to maintenance trends and provide clarity around the type and frequency of your work orders, allowing you to more accurately forecast and manage workflows.
Trends, by their very nature, are constantly changing. And in order to navigate these changes, it’s beneficial to partner with an FM solutions provider who understands the need to be flexible, and to be nimble. A platform provider who takes the Agile approach to product development, for instance, can offer users access to product features as they’re developed. This means you and your organization get to reap the benefits of new features as they’re rolled out rather than waiting for larger, time-consuming upgrades that can slow things down and inhibit progress.
Although there are nuances to every industry and organization, these qualifying questions can help you decide when it’s time to upgrade your system to a holistic FM platform. If you can’t run reports or analytics, and you don’t have the proper insight into workflows and project activity rates, you’re missing out on a wealth of information that could end up boosting productivity, improving communication and reducing FM spend.