Is it possible to efficiently implement CAFM software remotely? The rapid transition to work-from-home mode was sudden and unfamiliar for many. We had to rapidly adjust our existing software deployment practices to the new reality. The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to adapt how we implement and how we work to communicate smoothly with clients in a remote mode.
What was the outcome of such a shift? Has this new reality changed the way we work and revealed increased value as regards remote implementation? Does remote software implementation work well?
These, and other questions, will be addressed in this article. It summarizes the various aspects of software implementation before the pandemic and what it looks like today. We will focus mainly on:
- Meetings and Software Training
- Project Management
- Communication with the Client
- Materials and Support
I. How Real Estate Software Implementation Changed
1. Meetings and Software Training Before
Prior to Covid-19, starting a project involved a kick-off meeting with the client. These meetings were typically held on-site at the client's premises.
Moreover, the training sessions that are part of the implementation process were held at the customer's headquarters. It was necessary to arrange for proper training space and the required tools and equipment to be available on site.
This meant that the team on the client side did not have to spend much time traveling from different locations. Therefore, it was often a more convenient form of training.
In other projects, communication was mainly by phone and e-mail. In the case of foreign projects, teleconferences were already a standard. However, the same format had not been used by local clients yet due to their hesitations. At the time, local customers were often skeptical of using remote communication.
Meetings and Software Training Now
In the aftermath of Covid-19, implementation meetings are held remotely. In light of that, it is possible to conduct more meetings in one day with customers from various parts of the world. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of regular teleconferences with our customers, where the current status of the project is discussed, and the next steps are decided. This allows for shorter and also more frequent meetings.
With the aid of dedicated teleconference tools, the client's demo and production environment are shared during the meeting. In real-time, the client can follow the project’s progress, see which system functions are available, or track any introduced configuration. In addition, internal Kanban boards are used to visualize the status and development stages of the project.
Training sessions are conducted remotely, and the duration is the same as ones carried out on-site. Unsurprisingly, customer involvement is higher, which fosters openness and a stronger company culture. Agility and free-flowing feedback have emerged.
2. Project Management Before
Based on regular email and phone contact, the implementation schedule was the main source of information regarding the current stage of the project. This document was being updated and sent to the client.
A complete set of implementation templates, guidelines, and work progress in the form of screenshots showing the status of system configuration were sent and received via email during the implementation process.
The client was also able to log in to the system, to oversee the current status of the introduced data.
Project Management Now
When a new project is opened, the implementation schedule is also created. It clearly illustrates the various stages of the project and is helpful in the agile project management approach.
The project is divided into individual stages, which are transferred to Kanban boards. Dividing tasks according to their status, such as "to do," "in progress," or "done," allows all parties to track the current progress of the project and mutually delegate tasks to each other.
While planning the next steps, the customer is familiarized with the processes being configured in the CAFM demo environment. This helps visualize the functions and processes in the system and decide on the final configuration. The tasks that have been configured are available to the customer in the production environment. Once they are presented, there is shared feedback.
During weekly meetings, the implementation dashboard is regularly viewed along with the production and demonstration environment. The customer can follow the process in real-time and learn about the software.
3. Communication with the Client Before
Relationship with the client was based upon regular communication via phone or email as well as face-to-face meetings. Contact with the client varied depending on client engagement.
Communication with the Client Now
The client relationship is built through regular meetings, usually weekly, and by remote training sessions. By arranging short, weekly meetings with the client, it is possible to facilitate a deeper relationship, build trust, and establish a partnership.
With the aid of multimedia devices, cameras, and online tools, communications can be improved over phone calls, which have some limitations. At the client's request, kick-off meetings may also be held on-site.
4. Materials and Support Before
Customers were provided with various training materials during implementation, such as multimedia presentations, or software manuals in digital format. After the implementation was completed, communication was conducted primarily through the company's support system.
Materials and Support Now
Together with organizing remote implementation projects, it was necessary to quickly extend the available support materials. A database of informative, instructional videos was created to showcase the additional modules available in the Singu FM platform.
Furthermore, a number of instructional videos were created, demonstrating the necessary steps to perform or configure the CAFM system. These videos serve to provide additional information after remote training. The client also has electronic versions of the manuals.
We also created an online Knowledge Base, available for our customers. With these resources, customers can obtain information related to the configuration of individual modules, system operation or download instructions, and watch instructional videos anytime they want. It is a place that allows both access to knowledge about the implemented software and contact with the internal department for support and maintenance of the application.
II. Can Remote Implementations Be More Effective Than Onsite Ones?
Many companies have had to face the sudden shift to remote working. With software system vendors, like CAFM, implementing the system with the customer is possible remotely.
This change involved adapting the tools used and the methods of conducting the project in the new (virtual) reality.
In the beginning, it was not easy, some customers were unenthusiastic about remote meetings and training sessions. But with time, more and more clients became used to the new working conditions and began to accept the remote collaboration form. This changing trend allowed the right tools to be identified that enabled remote collaboration and empowerment of the project process.
Based on our experience:
- The remote implementations have not contributed to any loss of customer relationships. In fact, we have observed a higher frequency of meetings has increased customer engagement.
- Teleconferences are excellent for a regular exchange of feedback, common functionality analysis, expanding customer knowledge, and building stronger relationships.
- Time saved on business trips allows additional analysis or implementation work to be done, ensuring the highest possible level of deployment.
- Handling projects has changed, due to the agile approach, utilizing Kanban boards, process visualization and cyclic meetings.
- Remote deployments have increased customer interaction and, consequently, the delivery of a system that better meets customer needs
- The organization of training in remote format, led to the development of a database of instructional materials. This system supports the customer during the implementation process and is an ideal source of self-training. With these changes, customers can contact our always ready-to-help Support Department and gain value from the resources describing the implemented modules of the application.
Comparing the on-site versus online software implementation process, we can see that adapting to remote implementation mode has many benefits. Velis has improved software implementation for the better as it has adapted to the new reality:
- Improved agility when running projects.
- Internal tools created to visualize deployment stages.
- A new knowledge base with additional instructional materials created for our customers.
- Regular meetings serve to strengthen the customer relationship.
We have noticed that the current method of implementation contributes to better feedback and, most importantly, to the customer’s ultimate satisfaction. The situation we found ourselves in was not easy, but it led us to deeper analysis and improvements that were extremely valuable and revealing. Through this, we identified the need to always work on process improvements.
Are you looking for a facility and maintenance management software? Want to enhance tenant satisfaction? Would you like to streamline asset management, conduct digital surveys and audits, or increase real estate safety and security with touchless technology?
Contact our team with solid experience in the software implementation.