Tips to finding the best facilities management software for your business
When it comes to choosing facility management software, there is no value in making cursory decisions. You need the best of the best.
Why? Because your business is only as good as the platforms it relies upon, from present-day function. Since facility management covers your most valuable assets – from your real estate to your employees – this is not the time to be imprudent.
We’ve put together a guide to choosing the best facility management software. Use this checklist when you are shopping around to make sure you get what you need to help your business thrive.
10 features to watch for
Most high-end facilities management solutions on the market are going to offer a host of functionalities and a-la-carte offerings to fit your business’s needs. One example is here at Horizant where we offer up to 35 modules and functionalities for workplace management systems.
We’re not going to cover all 35 of those today though, we’ve boiled it down to the top 10 features that can benefit your business and overall portfolio.
Cloud based solutions are everywhere now, and while it may seem like a tech-industry buzzword to make things sound modern and vague, it’s not that complex.
There are several benefits to moving parts of your workplace to the cloud, such as your workplace management system. In most cases, the vendor manages the cloud-based system from their own environment while you have access to an up-to-date version. On top of this, the ability to scale a cloud environment to suit needs without physical servers and other equipment makes it an accessible option for growing businesses.
On the other hand, cloud computing offers a more secure option as it is housed in its own environment. Several surveys and studies have indicated that those who integrated cloud computing see revenue growth and other benefits.
Looking for a cloud based solution should be a top priority when evaluating vendors, as without the need to manage infrastructure, IT capabilities can be shifting to focus on other projects. Automatic upgrades and updates also mean less downtime taking away time from the tasks at hand.
Offers full portfolio visibility
Would you wear glasses with only one lens? Hopefully not, partial coverage leaves out important details that might be the difference maker down the line. Regardless of your portfolio you are going to want a facilities management solution that captures everything.
Full portfolio visibility gives your organization data on everything; all systems, energy use, maintenance requirements, life cycles, etc. With full visibility you have control and clarity over everything that might be required to reach goals such as carbon-neutrality.
Collecting data on all parts of a portfolio means that the relationships between interconnected systems can be displayed and analyzed during any decision. Full portfolio coverage also allows for better long-term planning as data for all areas are available and the changes across all of them can be compared to evolving business decisions as well.
Before you can address where you’re going, understanding what you have will make it an easier journey.
Simplifies space management
How you use your space is up to you. However, getting there is done by understanding the space that is currently occupied and how it is being used. There can be loads of charts, diagrams and other analytical tools to consider and look at when carrying out space management initiatives.
Something that can accurately report and forecast occupancy statistics on top of adding or removing processes for move management will enable your organization to make more efficient use of space and adapt to changing occupancy overtime using data.
Supports strategic space planning
Just like portfolio visibility, space planning and management is knowing what you have before you do something with it. Strategic space planning solutions consider a wide range of occupant, space, and workplace processes for different concepts to integrate and adjust existing space.
Space planning needs a strategy that encompasses stakeholder information as well as information regarding current activities. Things such as forecasting how space might be needed later using simulations and use data can greatly optimize your workplace down the line and help your business prepare for it.
Streamlines asset management and maintenance
Asset management and subsequent maintenance are two guarantees in facilities management and daily life. Eventually, things are going to need to be fixed. Streamlining existing processes to include preventative maintenance on assets and checking in on their lifecycle can drastically lower long-term costs and increase the ROI on the asset.
Downtime and full-scope repairs on assets or systems and facilities in a workplace can oftentimes mean lost revenue or loss of capabilities for periods of time. The right facilities management software is going to streamline these processes, ideally using a platform that gives you easy-to-use data metrics and insights into your assets. Knowing when they need repair, where they need it, and reporting on their maintenance history are what you need to have a successful maintenance management strategy. Nothing fancy.
Ensures a safe, exceptional workplace
A workplace management system would not be a bonafide workplace system if it didn’t also look after the workplace and people within it. Managing facilities and other systems is one thing, but the importance of keeping people safe and happy while they do their jobs is another.
These facilities and workplace management systems guaranteeing safety and exceptional conditions in the workplace give your people a place to work that is secure and free of risks to their health. One example of this is ensuring that there are functioning air quality systems in the office. Air quality has become synonymous with our health now that the pandemic has shown us how important clean air is.
Facilities management systems should cover more than this, including emergency preparedness and risk assessment for areas of concern like fire escapes and have readily available plans for emergency should it arise.
Implements entreprise*-level security
Hacking, digital attacks, enterprise level security should protect you against attacks on your business data. Enterprise level security is characterized by looking after both the internal business secrets but also client and customer data security as well.
Enterprise security is being bumped up to near the top of many corporate priority lists such as Google and Apple to prevent leaks of customer data that have seemed to headline tech news every few months.
But what is enterprise about it? Everything. Enterprise-level security means that everything pertaining to the business and its operations is looked after. Your solution should have this included and if not, find one that does. Data security is only going to become more important and this should not be skimped on.
Bad user interface. Likely there is a software or solution that came to mind when you read those words. A platform can have all the qualities mentioned above but is lacking in user-friendly design and suddenly people won’t want to use it. You won’t see the benefits of the system because using it is more difficult than the previous processes. Things stay the same.
Make sure to invest in the platform that is going to be the most accessible and user-friendly experience possible for your staff so that getting acquainted with and adjusting to it isn’t going to feel like learning to ride a bike for the first time.
Includes robust reporting
All this talk of data, information, and metrics, but how do you present them? Reporting is the part of the process that presents the data to you and any stakeholders. Reports are going to be monthly, weekly, annually, daily, covering time periods of systems to display your data. The right kind of solution is going to present it in a clear-cut, concise manner while reporting on everything you need to know from that specific area or system.
Anything less, and you’re leaving potential decision-making data off the table that could impact your business or facilities operations. Be thorough and make sure you’re getting the reporting you need.
Integrates with existing and emerging technology
Last but not least, the facilities management solution should integrate with your current tech as well as be integration-friendly down the line. With the growing popularity of IoT networks and the prospect of smart buildings, integration with other technologies is going to be a cornerstone down the line of building operations.
Linking your solution with IoT networks means everything talks to one another and can be linked, with data collection remaining across all of them, potentially resulting in an even more efficient network as a result. Increased control and insight into your facilities with connectivity on this level result in analytics that can report on correlations across connected systems based on previous trends and data.
More than facility management software
Facilities management software is about more than managing air conditioning and heating units. The right system will give you control over the workplace and office, and the vendor you select should be in it to help your business take the next step in the areas you outline. Creating a physical environment that responds to the needs of staff and business practices is the product of this decision.
Think of more than your facilities when evaluating a solution, approach it from a wholesale perspective of managing your entire workplace and optimizing things for the betterment of your staff and longevity of the business.