Six Tips for Evaluating Facility Management Software
Most facilities have a CMMS, IWMS or other software solution, and while they may not be the most convenient or intuitive to use, they are useful for asset management and other critically important facility management functions.
More importantly, these types of facility management solutions don’t help technicians in the field when they need an O&M to maintain an air handler or to identify which one of several thousand electrical panels relates to the equipment they are repairing.
Instant access to a wide range of building documentation, emergency plans, emergency equipment, as-builts, shut-offs, construction documentation and healthcare compliance documentation is not built into the DNA of most types of facility management software.
With a plethora of different technologies available in the facilities management space today, it is vital to identify a few things when making a buying decision.
- Clearly identify what you are looking to accomplish (specific use cases). Rank each use case by level of importance and identify systems that check off as many boxes as possible.
- Is the solution mobile first? Facilities teams are in the field and not tied to a desk. If your team is required to write something down in a notepad and then transfer it to a computer at the end of the day, things will get forgotten. Notes should be made real-time in the field. Similarly, having to print information at a computer before starting a task is certain to lead to missing information and multiple trips before the job is done.
- Where does the solution store its information? Is it accessible off-site? What about during a power outage, network failure, or ransomware attack?
- Realize that there is no all-encompassing software that does everything needed in a facility. And, there shouldn’t be. Buildings and businesses are complex and have different needs. A single solution is unlikely to serve the needs of all those who need information equally. Identify what each solution does well and create an internal standard operating procedure (SOP) identifying what is to be done in each system. Choose systems for tasks based on productivity, and do not implement systems or modules that require duplication of work.
- Does the solution have offline access? Not all areas of a building have Wi-Fi.
- ABOVE ALL - If it's not easy, your teams will not use it. Be sure the solutions you are choosing are simple, and don’t require extensive training or customization.
Many facility teams are understaffed and responsible for covering large campuses or buildings. Experienced team members may be on the verge of retirement, so fears of losing institutional knowledge are very real. Having facility information handy vs. having to search through plan rooms or hard drives, makes perfect sense these days.
Many facilities are taking advantage of mobile-first platforms for their on-the-go technicians who need building documentation to be easily accessible, not located miles away in a plan room or on a hard drive on a desktop computer.
To get a clear picture of facility software options, download our Guide to Facility Management Software