Facility & Maintenance Management

A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing and Successfully Implementing a CAFM Solution

January 30, 2021

Choosing and successfully implementing a multi-faceted solution such as CAFM software does not come easy. It seeks to re-engineer your entire operations, but you have a service delivery standard and consistent experience to maintain across multiple facilities.

No doubt, adopting the right technology solution can help straighten the inefficiencies in the business process. McKinsey and Company research, however, reports that less than one-third of such organizations’ digital transformation results in sustainable performance gains.

So, how do you ensure dollars spent, is well spent? Hint: It is not by just picking up ‘the best’ solution off a vendor’s shelf. You need to do your homework first. In this short article, we have distilled into actionable bits the seemingly complex process involved in the successful selection and implementation of a CAFM solution.

How To Choose Ideal CAFM System Software

Fitting your business model to a digital solution is crucial for the success of an organizational redesign such as a facility management software implementation. You cannot do this without getting answers to questions as to why you need the technology; what you need it to do exactly and how you need it to do it.

To get answers to these important questions, here’s a two-step discovery process to guide you:

Audit Your Existing Facility Management Process

Before you define your objectives and requirements to guide your selection, you need to first do a tear-down of your day-to-day facility management process. This is important to help you identify what areas of your process needs overhauling and the challenges to be solved.

Here are a few tips to quickly review your facility management process and identify issues:

· Map out your process end-to-end and identify what can be automated to reduce human intervention and increase efficiency.

· Take a look at the swiftness in data reporting and information communication between in-house personnel, external vendors, and all stakeholders.

· Consider the SLA, contracts and legislation compliance tracking process.

While scrutinizing these major facility management processes, consider things such as working infrastructures and practices; employee and running costs; I.T requirements and overall service delivery efficiency.

Define Success and Business Requirements

After reviewing your business process and identifying its challenges, define what you will consider a success in solving those challenges. To do this, define your objectives and Key Performance Indicators KPIs.

Your objectives will answer the questions as to why you need a CAFM and what exactly the issues you need it to address. Your objectives could revolve around enhanced operational efficiency and service delivery to end-users.

Finally, on mapping out your ideal solution, define your business requirements. This gives you a clear understanding of what form your facility maintenance app should be, in order for it to be of optimal use to your team, vendors, and partners.

Here are a few key requirements you might want to consider:

· The sizes of facilities being managed

· The number of CMMS system users and their technical proficiency

· Possible integrations with existing solutions

· Functionality modules key to achieving your objectives

· Hardware that needs to be in place to use a mobile system

Making Your Facility Management Software Choice

Having mapped out your ideal CAFM software next is to determine the best-fit system from vendors. To do this, you must be able to identify which vendor’s solution addresses your identified needs and business requirements. This is easily achievable by assessing features and suite of facility management process modules of vendors’ solutions.

Also important in this decision is the vendor’s profile, as the right level of support is crucial to successful implementation.

In general, good CAFM system software will support:

· Accurate and real-time data capture and tracking

· Holistic data analysis and simplified reporting for management decision-making

· Real-time and easy collaboration with in-house personnel, vendors, field technicians, and other partners

· Efficiency enhancement of end-users in service delivery

· Integration with your process and existing systems.

· Paperless operations and mobile connectivity

These features should be reflected across all modules of your prioritized facility management process. Typically, good computer-aided facilities management software and CMMS should include modules for:

- Reactive maintenance

- Service and schedule management

- Asset and property management

- Contract and SLA Management

- Compliance management

- Geolocation

- Resource Management

To assess your CAFM solution provider, consider the following:

· The level of onboarding and on-going maintenance support available

· Vendor’s Industry knowledge and references from existing users of their solutions

· Vendor’s commitment to continuous innovation of their platform

· Vendor’s solution delivery options; on-premise or cloud-based. Make a choice best suited for your business requirements.

How To Implement CAFM System

Plan Project Implementation Schedule

After choosing your CAFM solution and the vendor, it is important to agree on the timeline for project implementation with the vendor. This project timeline should be scheduled into milestones for effectiveness, from the set-up phase to the project close. You should ensure all needed resources and infrastructures are in place for a successful implementation.

Prepare for Change

Successful implementation of a solution such as a facility management software is not dependent on its technical superiority alone. It involves a shift in culture. It is best to take the marketing approach to technology implementation to garner users' and stakeholders' acceptance. This approach simply means you take your CAFM solution implementation as a form of internal marketing.

The marketing approach to implementation starts right from the first step of mapping out your ideal solution.

Some of the key features of this approach include:

· Active involvement of end-users and key stakeholders in the mapping out of the ideal solution to create a sense of 'ownership'.

· Selection of a Project Manager and then an advocacy team. The team should include representatives from all teams and partners, to foster general acceptance of the new technology.

· Effective communication of the benefits of the new system.

Tips: To effectively communicate your CAFM solution, create a change story to translate organizational benefits of the CAFM system into individual benefits for your in-house personnel, external vendors and partners.

Organize and Migrate Your Data

A cloud-based maintenance management system is heavily dependent on data, hence the need to ensure robust data gathering with a high degree of accuracy. Inaccurate and incomplete data

can cause the CAFM system software implementation to fail. The active involvement of the system provider is also crucial to successful data migration.

Let the vendor guide you on the type of data needed with a data template. This is one of the reasons it is crucial to get a vendor that will provide the right level of support you need.

It is best to collect all the needed data, from your legacy system and newly collected ones, into a unified system for cleaning before migration into the new system. A well-organized and complete data will prove invaluable to the success of your CAFM system in the long-run.

Roll-Out Your CAFM System

The roll-out of the system should come in phases; a pilot should come first before user training and then the full-scale roll-out.

A pilot in the form of a demonstration will provide a platform to engage end-users and get feedback on which improvements will be made. This will further entrench the "ownership" culture among end-users. The demonstration pilot will also be a way to prove the technical feasibility of the CAFM solution to top management.

Tips: To increase users’ adoption during full-scale roll-out, a gamification approach can be adopted to create incentives for use. An example of such an approach is scoring asset managers based on the frequency of use of the system such as in creating notes or tickets. The manager with the highest score gets a prize. The gamification approach such as this can be innovatively created for different user groups.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, the successful implementation of a Computer Aided Facilities Management System hinges on three main factors. The first is on the degree of the system’s alignment to your operating model. To achieve this, you need a configurable and adjustable CAFM software system with robust facilities and maintenance management modules.

Secondly, the extent of end-user adoption of the facility maintenance software is critical to a successful implementation. The final and most important factor is: the CAFM system software provider. We are in an era of fierce competition where many a time technical promise by vendors rarely matches their delivery. You need a reliable vendor that provides a professional pre- and post-sales support during all stages of the project.

A leading CAFM solution vendor that provides such level of support and commitment you need is Velis Real Estate Tech, the provider of Singu FM; cloud-based software specifically built for facility, property, and asset management of the commercial and industrial real estate.

Written by:
Adam Penkala
PropTech Expert

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