Posted 21st August 2012
A defining factor in the success of any CAFM system is underpinned by the quality and skill set of those involved in the implementation and on-going administration/management of the CAFM system. With a considerable investment required for a CAFM solution, understandably results are needed for CAFM to prove itself as a viable return on investment for Facilities Managers or Service Providers. If implemented correctly, CAFM systems have the strength and functionality to not only support the day-to-day operations of Facilities or Service departments, but also provide the tool to make informed business decisions based on facts. Whether a Facilities Manager or Service Provider, having a robust software application that helps identify cost savings, streamlines processes and enhances customer service is essential. But CAFM a software tool that requires careful consideration, dedication and support from day one.
In the initial phase of securing a CAFM system, it is important to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives. Performing a needs analysis and outlining a system specification is certainly the first step. CAFM vendors and CAFM professionals are ideally placed to help you understand CAFM system capabilities and define your requirements. A system specification/requirements document will help in the selection process of a CAFM system.
Having selected and CAFM solution that is both fit for purpose and within budget, it is advisable to invest in professional implementation/project management. This role can be filled by either an independent CAFM consultant, or a member of the CAFM vendor’s consultancy team, or perhaps employing an internal CAFM Implementation Manager.
Depending on your approach, employing the resources of an experienced and technically able CAFM professional not only helps answer technical queries, but they can facilitate discussions between all those involved in the project (IT, Other Department, CAFM Vendor, End Users), thus ensuring that all views are pulled together to get most out of the CAFM system and form a solid strategy moving forward.
Armed with the needs analysis, goals and objectives, a System Implementation Plan (SIP) can be devised outlining the best practise approach to system implementation, including milestones and timeframes. Aspects such as data collection, data migration, development, installation, workflow/system configuration, test environments, data verification, system training, module/system rollout and user rollout may form part of the overall strategy. Pulling on their experience, a CAFM professional will help build a SIP that lays out the core foundation of the CAFM system, targeted at the end goals. This foundation then requires continued support to start delivering results and achieving those goals.
Once the CAFM system has been implemented and users start using the system, system success is driven by dedicated and centralised support and quality control. This is where CAFM System Managers play a critical role. As time progresses, naturally the system will begin to collect copious amounts of data that can be used for analysis to make informed business decisions (end goal!). It’s important that this data is 100% accurate. With users leaving or joining the organisation, there is a threat of inconsistent data through lack of training or hand over procedures. CAFM System Managers can smooth this transition by managing issues such as user security policies and user training so processes are maintained. Another key role of a CAFM System Manager is the ability to manage data quality. The phrase “rubbish in, rubbish out” is highly relevant here. Quality controlling data upload/input supports better report and system efficiency.
For system upgrades, vendor support and new product rollouts, CAFM System Managers are a vital resource. All three tasks should ideally be trialled (Quality Controlled) in a test environment before deploying against a live system. Thoroughly testing all new features, functions, patches and core processes against any new product or upgrade will help advert from a potential system downtime, inefficiency or user confusion. Workflows, configuration settings and bespoke user guides may need adjusting to support new developments releases. Identifying these before releasing to the masses ensures that data can continue to be collected in the correct method, users are comfortable with the system, reports can continue to be produced and the system can continue to grow and expand to support new areas of the organisation…thus introducing further cost and efficiency savings.