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Essential advice for a successful CAFM procurement

Whether you’re making the move to computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) for the first time or thinking about changing vendors, careful consideration is required when selecting a system that’s best for you. Paul Djuric, head of Techniche EMEA, highlights the essential factors involved in a successful CAFM procurement.



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Paul Djuric
Paul Djuric

One of the first mistakes people often make when embarking on CAFM procurement is rushing to make a wish list of features and functions. This approach is doomed to fail as other factors such as user buy-in, training and vendor chemistry are often overlooked. How a system works (not just what it does) and who you will be working with are both critical factors in your final decision.

First steps – prioritise your needs

It’s important at the outset to clearly define what you want to achieve and which maintenance problems you’re looking to solve. A strong starting point is to state the reasons for investing in CAFM, including: the goals or KPIs you need to measure and achieve; the main sources of complaint from customers or employees and what you would improve in maintenance if you could. Feel free to challenge your existing working practices as this is an opportunity to change things for the better.

To help narrow down your vendor shortlist some requirements gathering is invaluable at this stage. Establishing some common goals across your business is key – to do this successfully you’ll need to consider:

  • Identifying and engaging with all stakeholders
  • Using workshops to drill down and understand different user’s needs
  • Evaluating and analysing the results

CAFM in action

Once you understand what you want a CAFM system to achieve, you’ll need to take a closer look at how they work, the user experience and ask questions of the vendors. The best method is to arrange a demo – CAFM is too complex to have a free trial. Not only will you learn about the system but you’ll be able to get an understanding of whether the vendor is a strong fit. Don’t underestimate the value of chemistry. You’re likely to have a long partnership so it’s worth making sure they have a team you can trust.

Key questions to cover in the demo include: will it give you the insight and visibility you need to manage maintenance better? Is it flexible enough to easily map on to your business? How quick and easy is it to use?

CAFM platforms should also integrate easily with other systems, such as Finance, HR or BIM, so you’ll want a modern web-based platform with an open API (Application Programming Interface). This makes it easier to integrate with such systems today and in the future. They should also work across all mobile devices.

Implementation best practice

CAFM vendors should be able to inform you of their implementation best practices and highlight which measures ensure a smooth roll-out and acceptance from staff. This will include how to set-up a project management team, appointing ‘CAFM champions’ for each department and creating a communications plan to launch your new system.

You also need to consider what type of ongoing relationship you want with your CAFM vendor. An engaging, ongoing partnership can help drive a successful implementation, by assisting in change management and system adoption and proficiency, long after the software has first been installed. A wide range of training courses from your CAFM supplier is essential too. Don’t look to save budget when it comes to training, it’s a false economy. The more familiar your people are with the system, the more value you’ll get out of it.

Investing for the future

CAFM systems are not simply ‘plug and play’ so be prepared to invest time and resources to achieve a successful procurement. It’s a strategic move which will improve the efficiency of your business so you need to get the decision right. You’re effectively appointing the vendor as a long-term partner – it’s not just simply about buying software. So look beyond the technology and consider if the company has sufficient knowledge, experience and resource you can call upon over the next 5-10 years or more. While it’s important that the CAFM solution can cover all bases, it’s other vendor competencies such as professional services, future innovation and helping you drive maximum value from the system which all need to be carefully considered too.

 

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By Paul Djuric, head of Techniche EMEA.

Gained over many years, the Techniche team has in-depth experience of rolling-out CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) projects for fuel retailers, from single sites to complex multinational brands including BP, Q8 and AECOM. Urgent is a facilities management software platform currently used in 30,000 sites across 34 countries.

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