A typical day in the life of a facilities manager is well, anything but typical. From the day-to-day phone calls from employees, to the need for accurate and up-to-date information, to the forecasting of future needs, it’s easy to spend late nights and weekends doing all of the work on your to-do list and then some. Here are just a few ways that utilizing an innovative intranet-based client server or Software as a Service (SaaS) Facilities Management solution can streamline your top 5½ biggest challenges and ultimately give you your weekends back.
1. Access to Accurate Facilities Data
Are you using a “home grown” Access database, Excel spreadsheet, or desktop software solution for your facilities management needs? The trouble with these “solutions” is that the information is scattered and it's very complicated (if at all possible) to import and/or edit data. Thus our mantra: If your system is not easy to update, it's not likely to be up-to-date. The main advantage of a SaaS facilities management solution is that these programs use corporate data-stores by connecting to the data you need such as, personnel data (HR), AutoCAD or IT information (Jack or Asset), or financial lease data to update your system. And updates can be scheduled to run automatically after-hours, enabling you to have the most complete information, first thing in the morning.
2. Efficient Data Processing
Of course your buildings is familiar to you because you’ve been with the organization for years and know where the departments are located, the IT data jacks are configured, and phone closets are racked. But if you go on vacation; all of your knowledge goes with you. When you choose to use a SaaS Facilities Management software solution, anyone can step in at any time to contribute, edit or access the data. You see, Facilities Management software should create a basic process flow, which is a step-wise methodology of how you want to work. This process flow allows you to easily involve and teach other team members.
3. Taking an AutoCAD Refresher course, again!
In our years as consultants, we’ve found that for most users, AutoCAD is a complicated program to use. As well, the drawing aspect is difficult and managing data under the drawing is even more difficult. A lot of facilities management systems were designed as "visual databases". Meaning they require the user to interact in the CAD system for nearly everything they need to update with regards to space. This is what we call the AutoCAD trap. We believe that since the average person is used to inputting and editing data in spreadsheet format (Access or Excel) or form format (i.e. Amazon.com), this is a mistake. Top-notch Facilities Management software solutions present the user with familiar looking queues and forms to update and store only polygons representing space within AutoCAD.
4. Forecasting Growth
Accurate forecasting is one of the greatest challenges to all facilities mangers and one of the most important reports one may deliver to senior-level management. Yet the system of forecasting is usually a scramble between the hours to get the drawings updated and putting benchmarks in place, the e-mails to and from (with spotty responses) your department heads and floor coordinators, and the "guestimates" as to how many people the department will hire next year. With a SaaS Facilities Management solution that builds the forecasting model into the day-to-day process, you can take the guesswork and weekends out of forecasting and provide your executive team with an accurate, actionable forecast.
5. Preparing and Explaining Executive Management Reports
Preparing, understanding and explaining reports are one of the mainstays of a facilities manager’s life. Therefore, any Facilities Management software solution should have canned reports that show industry-standard information in detailed and summary format. A good system will have user-definable reports; a great system will have reports with graphics that don't require downloading to another software program and building yourself. And a truly leading-edge system will have Web-configurable reports that can be delivered with dashboard graphics in either spreadsheet or intranet Web page format at the touch of a button.
5½. The Constant Interruptions
Finally, interruptions for hot/cold calls, building engineers asking which work order is a priority and praying your phone will stop ringing for 15 minutes. These interruptions prevent you from more important strategic thinking. When considering a Facilities Management SaaS solution, we encourage our clients to consider utilizing a call center as part of their overall solution. The call center will free you up for more important work, allow your ‘clients’ to get a better impression of the facilities department and get the process in motion by gathering and organizing incoming data into your Facilities Management software. And surprisingly, it is often times far less expensive in the long run, than having an internal staff fielding these calls.
If you want to take greater control of your day-to-day workflow and provide your company with an efficient, effective facilities management solution, you owe it to yourself and to your company to investigate a SaaS Facilities Management software providers. With features such as, forecasting capabilities, automated report building, and simplified data input; these robust, Web-configurable solutions can streamline your facilities management processes. Your alternative? Another weekend spent at the office!
Are you a facility manage looking to make it easy?
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