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Value added

FMJ talks to Kevin Shipp and Dorette Van den Ende from FSI about four essential services that must be considered when choosing a CAFM provider, and what each should deliver to help FMs reap the full benefits from this software

In this age of agility, having the right CAFM software is more crucial than ever. From small maintenance teams to global organisations, CAFM is now a mission-critical system for all businesses, supplying the data and frameworks required to maximise efficiency, enhance decision-making and create safe, comfortable work environments.

But it can’t work alone. You could have the most advanced, comprehensive solution on the market – yet without exceptional operational services surrounding it, your FM teams will not unlock the true potential of this technology.

The four essential services to consider are:

  • Consultancy
  • Project Management
  • Training
  • Support

CONSULTANCY
First, the foundation of any successful FM solution is how it is planned and implemented. Effective consultancy is at the heart of this, so your provider at this stage should seek to gain total understanding of the pain points and nuances in your organisation. Then, using their knowledge of both their solutions and the wider FM landscape, they use this to forge a unique roadmap for the project, based on your needs.

This is why an informed provider is vital – they should know their technology inside-out, as well as the trends impacting your industry and craft the architecture of your system (via a scoping study) so that it meets your exact requirements. This ensures your pain points are resolved and the system is tailored to you as a business.

Furthermore, collaboration is at the core of good consultancy. Your provider should place a focus on forging a strong relationship between their team and your company’s stakeholders. This guarantees all information is communicated to build and enhance your system over time, leading to a beneficial client experience.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project management (PM) is the driving force behind an FM system’s successful implementation. This is actioning the concepts of the consultancy phase, going step-by-step to ensure that the actual solution fulfils its objectives.

What should good project management give you?

Strong communication – like the consultancy stage, a provider’s PM team should be clear and consistent in updating you on the progress of the system, as well as reaching out to relevant specialists in their internal team.

Punctuality – missed deadlines can quickly cause costs to escalate, so it’s important to research a provider’s tendency to overrun.

Expertise – the PM team should know the solutions they are implementing thoroughly, so it is implemented as anticipated to meet the needs of your business.

Process – ask your provider to demonstrate their project cycle, as this should robustly cover all aspects of bringing a system to life, as well as all quality assurance efforts involved.

Continued development – the best FM providers will always strive for perfecting, evaluating every project to identify areas of improvement for the future.

TRAINING
Once your system is implemented, it’s vital your team knows how to use it to its fullest. That is where seasoned training is so crucial. The quality of a provider’s training service dictates not only how effectively you harness an FM solution, but also how widely it’s understood and adopted across your team. Even if the system is implemented successfully, team-wide backing is key to it delivering a return.

Naturally, this requires trainers with an A-Z knowledge of their technology. But the best providers go further to understand your system. If your FM solution is unique for your needs, training should similarly be tailored with a complete knowledge of your requirements.

With this in mind, a provider should practise what they preach internally. How they train their own staff should be a reflection of the work they do for your team, so everyone understands the intricacies of the system and can explain/operate it with total confidence.

Finally, particularly fitting for the current landscape, your providers’ training should be adaptable, and just as effective delivered virtually as it would be in-person.

SUPPORT
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about support. Should anything go wrong with your FM system, you will want reassurance that you have a dependable, dedicated support network behind it to resolve this swiftly and efficiently.

It is beneficial for there to be a strong relationship between the team responsible for the professional services noted above and the support team. This ensures that those responsible for monitoring and managing the system for the long term are completely aware of its unique features and the client’s specific requirements.

This makes for a smooth transition and handover between the teams, so support can pick up right where the prior team left off, with no impact on the quality of service you (the client) receives.

This is critical to the ongoing performance of your solution, and you should ensure you have access to a support service that:

  • Is always available – modern buildings are always active, so it’s important to have a support network that can assist 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Has established escalation procedures – different issues will have a variety of touchpoints, so checking your provider has a clear structure for escalating issues is valuable to ensure yours will be handled in due time.
  • Is reinforced by SLAs – just like FMs are subject to PFI contracts, your system provider should trust their quality of service enough to be subject to SLAs, and the penalties they incur if not met.
  • Has a human voice – rather than rely on chatbots or outsourced call centres, it is reassuring to speak to a real expert when you reach out to support.
  • Treats you as important – the continued success of your solution shouldn’t be solely reliant on juniors with little-to-no experience; your issue should be handled by someone with the necessary expertise to provide the most timely, effective solution.

A successful FM system is far more than the technology inside of it. Your relationship with a provider should be more than “supplier/customer”.

We hope this insight into the range of services that drive these solutions towards maximum performance has demonstrated this and will encourage you to think deeper about who you work with on your next project.

About Sarah OBeirne

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