Facility management applications like CAFM or CMMS software are becoming a must have in today’s data-driven digitalized work environment. They often become a cornerstone for companies’ digital transformation and give the landlords and other stakeholders a deep insight together with bird-eye view about property management.
Choosing the solution is a big challenge to the management itself, however choosing the right one is just half of the success. After we choose the application of our preference, define the must-haves and should-haves, agree on the go-live date there is still a bit of sowing to be done to see the fruits of our work. The implementation is when the fun starts or where it ends pretty soon. According to Flipping the odds of Digital Transformation Success – a report from Boston Consulting Group – the odds of digital transformation success is just 30%.
Let's take a look at five common mistakes made while implementing CAFM software, so that you and your business will not fall into the unlucky 70%.
What are the Common Mistakes In Implementing the CAFM/CMMS Software?
1. 0:0 Game – A lot of Running and No Goals
Football, unarguably the most popular sports in today’s world can be very
Exciting, but also very hard to watch at times. Especially when we see the 0:0 games, where no goals are scored. After such a game, the teams can share the points – nobody is really satisfied; or we can go to overtime – with everybody staggering on their feet; or end up with the penalty shootout – which can be a lottery. If we don’t want our integration to be the 0:0 game, we should really focus on scoring those goals.
From sports, let’s jump to the IT-related field. According to one of the seven ITIL guiding principles – “Think and work Holistically”, we should always take into consideration various aspects of our business and drive it towards delivering the valuable outcomes. ITIL have not become the most popular library for IT project management by chance. Thanks to the wide variety of best practices, it is very good knowledge base about the elements and principles that should be followed in IT and IT-related projects. FM software implementation for sure falls under that one.
OK, but enough of the IT Project Management jibber-jabber. What it has to do with your company?
The key to the successful implementation is getting all hands on board and have the goals clearly stated. Starting from the top management ending up with security guards – all of the stakeholders should know why you implement the CAFM or CMMS software. Different users will have their roles to play, and the success is determined by their performance. After all, if the top management wants to aggregate, compare, and analyze the data, they won’t do much when there is no data, or it is of bad quality (see next paragraph). When the goals are clearly stated and stakeholders are engaged in the initial phase, we can also determine most of possible risks that we can address already in the implementation phase (see point 5). Example? – yes please!
If we want to raise our customer’s satisfaction level by keeping them informed of what is happening in our building, be cost-transparent and time-effective we should pass that on and align with other entities cooperating with us. The facility managers would delegate tasks to their employees more effectively, the Property Managers will have a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for reporting any incidents and announcing most significant events, the vendors will have platform for placing their offers and the tenants will have one place where they would see all of that.
2. No Benchmarking Processes
Second most common mistake, especially for medium and large portfolio
implementations, is the lack of benchmarking. As mentioned in previous paragraph, we need to have goals settled to gather the data we need. When there is no data, there is nothing to analyze. When there is no benchmarking, we are not able to compare how our assets are managed. According to McKinsey & Company more than 50% of Facility Management operations are outsourced.
It’s not that uncommon that different companies are responsible for facility management under one portfolio. In addition to that, we have other vendors and third-party companies that are contracted to perform operations on the premises. Having said that, we can easily imagine that each company, each region, will have their own procedures of information exchange, RFQs collection, accepting the offers etc. Implementation of FM software gives us the opportunity to gather those practices, choose the most effective ones and implement it throughout the whole portfolio.
If later we would add a new element of the process (e.g., because of new law regulations) we can easily apply small fix to the whole portfolio and track if the changes were successful. For the data quality itself, benchmarking is the key. When having the same data, we can easily compare third-party performance, cost effectiveness survey’s results, document compliance etc., throughout the whole portfolio. Which leads us to eliminating the weak points and efficient management.
3. All-at-once Approach
Good FM applications nowadays are far from “Helpdesk and PPM” tools. It’s quite robust tool for data analysis and plays a vital role in decision-making processes. As well as having specific goals for the implementation and benchmarking in place, having a well-balanced implementation schedule is equally as important. The last thing we want to do is to discourage the users from the new tool, but we still need to see the effects of the implementation. And here comes another ITIL guiding principle – progress iteratively with feedback. This approach (more known as Agile methodology) helps to split the implementation in smaller parts, have target groups defined and transfer the knowledge about the new application in small doses.
Another common approach is “Train the trainer”, where the solution supplier provides training for small group of users, who then become Superusers, who later will pass the knowledge to the others. With such structure of implementation, we can easily pass all the necessary information to the “internal” group of users, gather feedback from them, adjust the process where needed and let them operate the application until they feel comfortable using it on daily basis. The customers are usually the last group who is trained, which raises their satisfaction level, since people who are around feel already comfortable using the application and can help the customers to navigate.
4. Lack of Change Management
Another part of the implementation that is very often missed is having the change
management process in place. With all the goals, process adjustments, user-trainings comes the inevitable change. Human being is a creature that is rather not very fond of changes, which are considered events of higher stress. To ease those negative effects, we should have a governance of the project set up and follow the above-mentioned steps. With good change management we will be ready to tackle the issues that come along the way. To drive the change in the right direction, there should be a Project Owner, who will have the overview of the project and Superusers who will be gathering feedback from the field and passing it to the Owner. That way, common issues might be found and addressed together.
5. No Promotion of the Implemented Solution
Have you even been to a great concert with very few people? I bet you did. We all
know the power of marketing and promotion. Without it, even the best solution will not be successful. Therefore, last but not least on the list is project promotion. This is a part of implementation that is commonly neglected and with little effort we can achieve wonderful effects. The service provider should be a partner in such a promotion and help to deliver marketing materials. With right communication, we can reach our customers and present them of how the things will be don from now on and how would they benefit from such a change.
All things considered, although implementing real estate technology, in particular CAFM software, might seem like a tedious task, with completing proper steps and checking the right boxes, we can easily make it a project with high success probability.
• To have it done, it is recommended to find a software provider with whom you can work on partnership basis and who will have competent staff to analyze risks, find solutions, provide materials, and create timelines of project implementation.
• It is crucial that the partner will be able to assess your needs and lead the project that will reflect the needs of your organization – no matter if you run few or few hundreds of buildings.
• Keeping in mind that digitalization is everywhere now, another important factor is to use best practices from the IT world, since they are used more and more commonly in other business areas.
• There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but to work alongside with a partner who successfully completed hundreds of projects and will be able to deliver the best results, saving your time and money.