Facility Management Implementation, the hard way or the easy way?


Why Facility Management Systems can go wrong.

Implementing a new FM or Asset Management System (AMS) can be both high risk and a disappointment if not done well. Statistics from the web state approximately 70% of IT projects are failures.

The Top Mistakes when implementing a Facility Management System.

One in six IT projects has a cost overrun of 200% plus, and IBM cites only 40% of IT projects meet its criteria for success (schedule, budget, and quality). So, why the high failure rate? In our experience dealing with many clients, we see some common mistakes:

Confusing needs vs wants. –If you ask vital stakeholders what they ‘want’ from a new system, you have asked the wrong question. Organisational wants are endless. The question should be ‘what are the needs that this system is to meet?’. The first ‘need’ is the objectives that the system is to deliver? The goals are about outcomes in any FM or AMS, not inputs. For example, ‘Show compliance with statutory maintenance requirements annually.’

Focus on outputs, not inputs. – If you have defined the needs, explain the form or outcomes to satisfy the requirements. This may include determining some sample reports that would address the objectives. Asking stakeholders what reports they ‘want’ is a mistake. It would help to ask what reports they want to read and the frequency to fulfill their management responsibilities. As you reach higher management levels, the level of detail in reports is less frequent and more summarised.

Business process vs system process. – If you know the objectives and the outputs, you can view the steps, tasks, and when needed to fulfill the outcomes. Sometimes this is linked to the current process, and more often, it’s an opportunity to revisit how things happen now. Using both the ‘Lean’ and ‘Six Sigma’ methods can be helpful. The primary approach is to design a process that benefits the objectives. The process should take the least number of steps and only interact with the people who add value to the information chain. Today, most systems are configurable, so if you know the outputs and how to get there, you can assess the system’s suitability to support you.

Assessing Software. – The trick to assessing software is ‘less is better. Some systems have evolved over many years and culminate in addressing clients’ ‘wants’. Fancy tools available in some software can distract you from focusing on the objectives. Ignore the sales pitch, seek a solution for your goals, and don’t get sidetracked.

Example of getting it wrong. – A simple asset system was replaced with a high-end ERP module. The default ERP module contained approx. 24 million data items and over 170 data fields. A review showed 40 areas could be removed due to nonuse. It also showed that the organisation did not have the resources to maintain the 24 million records. Yet, the organisation configured the system to include over 5,000 data fields to address the ‘wants’. The cost to implement the system exceeded the budget by more than 6 times. To complete the data fields would delay them 5 years.

Example of getting it right. – An organisation was seeking a new asset management system. The Engineering team wanted to capture large amounts of asset data to prove they were doing asset management. After a review, the system recommended by engineering was costly and complex and identified the reports needed by each management level. The amount of data required was reduced by selecting only essential data, and a simpler lower-cost system was implemented.

If you are looking at updating or buying a new FM/AMS then contact the team at WebFM, we are experts at converting a complex problem to a simple solution.