Considering new CAFM software? Five questions to ask yourself first
Moving from an existing CAFM system or implementing a system for the first time can be a major step for most organizations.
Your existing system – whilst no longer matching your exact current or future business needs – may still hold a comfortable place within your organization. You may even consider it to be far from perfect, but it’s the system you know.
However, don’t underestimate the pace of change in technology and the speed at which your system will be superseded. This comes around much soon than expected.
To put confidence into the decision-making process and to build a business case for swapping old systems for new – or implementing a system for the first time – there are several factors you should first consider:
What are the needs of your organization today?
1. Define precisely what it is you are looking to manage and control:
- Reactive maintenance?
- Scheduled maintenance?
- Asset inventories?
- Financial reporting?
- Business intelligence?
- Supplier and asset performance?
- Health and safety auditing?
2. Rank these requirements in priority of financial impact, employee efficiency, process efficiency and business process benefits
3. Define the type, profiles and number of users required. Define users both inside and outside your organization.
What are your business needs over the next five years?
- Consider not only where you are now, but what your needs may be in terms of managing your business in five years’ time.
- Be aspirational in your thinking. Don’t just think about where you are likely to be in five years, but rather where you would like to be.
Who will take ownership of the system?
- Establish a core team, select a project owner, and identify the wider stakeholder map of those who will be impacted by any system changes or implementation.
- Ensure there is full engagement with the key user groups: FM management teams, service contractors, site or store system users. They may have further ideas that could deliver savings and efficiencies you might not have considered.
- Once the system is adopted, appoint an internal manager of the application and the ‘go to’ person within the business for any development requests.
What about your old data?
- Consider the data you currently hold: reactive call history, audits, reports, asset and equipment details, financial information etc.
- Do you need to migrate old data into the new system? What are the costs and benefits to doing this?
- Should you archive your old data? With time, it will become less relevant as the new system builds historical data.
How will change affect your organization?
- Consider how flexible, adaptable, and willing your organization is to accept system and process change.
- What functionality is core to the success criteria associated with the system change?
- The easier a system is to implement and use, the faster and more effectively it can be deployed, and fewer mistakes made in data entry.
- Can the FM application be integrated with other systems you have within your organization or supply chain to make it more effective? Are you deploying a system that will force people to use multiple systems to complete one end-to-end process? If so, stop and reconsider.
Explore the market
- Compared with ten years ago, the choice of FM systems has increased exponentially. Evaluate those suppliers that match the criteria and considerations you have mapped out.
- Investigate which other organizations are using these systems. Do not be concerned about the size of your organization. If companies much larger than yours are using them, you can be assured that investment will be going into application development that your organization will also benefit from.
- Just like a recruiting a new employee, look for references and talk to organizations who have gone through this journey before you. Without doubt, they will have come across issues that you can avoid.
- Always think of this as the start of a long-term relationship. You are looking to install a system that will develop as you refine your business processes.
- Do not let your aspirations be limited by what is on offer. Good providers are always looking to develop their systems and should be open to suggestions for new functionality. You may have the ideas they are looking for.
- Once you have chosen your provider, make sure there is a forum for engagement and a channel for dialogue for system change and development. Your business will change with time and your new system should grow with you.