Generally, FM software systems take around 6-12 months to implement, including scoping, configuration, user acceptance testing and training. Many ‘Australian based’ companies are part of a bigger group of companies and offload implementations to overseas project teams because they don’t have sufficient local based resources to do the work. It's not unusual for vendors to quote a minimum of 3 months before they can start work on new projects, so ensure you get an agreed start date as a condition of placing the order.
This is crucial, as dealing with overseas based teams often leads to costly delays, frustration, a minimum 24-hour turn-around on communications (answers to questions etc.), lack of project coordination and even project failure in some cases. Insist on locally based teams as a condition of the contract.
Think about it, your system is down and there’s no help available until the vendor's overseas helpdesk comes online and even then, your support request / email may be buried at the bottom of a pile of others. Even if they offer 24-hour international support, quite often it's someone 'on call' you must wake up in another time zone. Insist on a guaranteed SLA for support tickets and speaking to a 'real person' on a local call, right then and there.
It's a fact, most facilities management software is sold by software focused companies, rather than by facilities management companies who have developed software to manage their own clients, before offering the tried and tested software out to the industry. Make sure the chosen vendor configures the software to suit your business processes, rather than having to change them to suit the software.
Check out the credentials of the guys selling you the software. Are they FM engineers or just ‘sales guns’ with a monthly budget to meet? How long have they been working in the FM industry, and will they still be around if you have any issues and need to remind them of their promises. Sales professionals come and go, and usually after 6-12 months of corporate burn-out.
As the old saying goes… Keep It Simple Stupid. Training will be required (and provided) for the central FM admin system, as that's where the complex day-to-day work is done. Minimal or zero training should be required for the self-service portals, apps and contractor site tools, otherwise people will resist the change of processes and circumnavigate the 'solutions' where possible.
Whilst mobile apps look great in demo's, most vendors charge costs per user per app, which can quickly blow-out the budget when selecting mobile options. As an alternative to installing costly apps, also consider zero-cost smartphone compatible QR Code solutions. The chosen QR Code solution should be free to use and provide functionality such as capturing the contractor’s precise arrival / departure times, completing pre-work in-built JSA's, and real-time onsite compliance reporting.
This question is without doubt, the game-changer. Rolling out an FM solution will optimise the productivity of your FM teams, but only if you have the luxury of a dedicated resource and a financial budget to implement the software. You need to factor in all costs, including on-going SaaS licencing, implementation, user training and real-time support.
Regardless of what vendors recommend, you will need one or more full-time highly-skilled resources to manage your chosen software solution, it simply will not manage itself. If resources are an issue for your organisation, consider selecting a vendor who provide fully managed software services and ensure they have experience using it on their client’s behalf to manage contracts, work orders, invoicing and contractors. This may potentially save your organisation thousands in admin resource costs.