Implementing a new CAFM System . . .
Implementing a new Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software solution can seem like both a daunting and exciting challenge. Major changes are expected as users transfer to a new system and a new way of working. Such changes have a ripple effect throughout an organisation, affecting end-users, colleagues, managers and IT departments. To help facilitate implementation CAFM vendors assign Project Managers to oversee and ‘handhold’ through this vital transitional period.
Organisations that have installed CAFM systems have received great benefits from an integrated solution. By offering a professional window into Estates and Facilities Management departments, CAFM systems such as Tabs FM Software, have helped to raise the profile of departments/services and improve efficiencies. Thanks to intelligent system design and flexibility, solutions such as Tabs FM help to streamline processes and improve response times. Modular system structures have also helped to support many clients through the years, by offering a solution which can continue to grow and adapt to meet the ever changing demands placed on Estates and Facilities departments. With optional extensions such as Mobile solutions, engineers/surveyors can be provided with a constant communication method with the database for instant results. The flexibility and scope of CAFM Systems has become a realised benefit for many organisations or departments.
Before a new CAFM system can be installed, there are plenty of pre-installation considerations to consider. Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
• What would you like to achieve from the new CAFM system? i.e. Clearly define your end goals and targets and make these known to the vendor.
• Who will be using the system and what level of authorisation/access should they have?
• Are there requirements to link to other systems? Such as accounting packages or Active Directory etc.
• Clarify the processes the new system is intended to achieve/improve! Will the new system comfortably meet these objectives?
• Will you require data be extracted from other systems and imported into the new system? If so, can the data be presented for incorporation and tested before going live?
Experience has proven that the best approach to deploying a new software system is by phasing the implementation. This is to reduce the learning load of users as they move towards new processes. After all, you can’t run before you can walk! To achieve the phased implementation, often the full application can be installed, and through the clever use of configuration settings, certain modules/functionalities can be disabled from view. These features can easily be enabled by an administrator at a later date and a more suitable time. The intention of a phased implementation is to achieve a full understanding of the functionality and capability before moving on. This will ensure that you get the best out of the product. This approach is recommended when taking on the project of employing on a new CAFM system. Those adopting this process have improved chances of success!
Remember, installing a new software system will not return overnight results. A lot of resources are consumed in the early stages to get it right. Resources include IT Support, Project Management, Consultancy, Data Population/Configuration and User Training. Through each stage a dedicated Project Manager should be or will be on hand to assist and guide you through the process via regular review meetings and constant communication, ensuring the CAFM vendor delivers a solution that’s right you; and you deliver effective solutions which are right for your clients.
How long does it take to implement a CAFM system?
As with any major software solution, the implementation timeframe depends on the size and scale of the CAFM solution being deployed. Various factors such as number of users, modules & platforms, implementation plan, bespoke development or integration, data migration and geographical location all contribute towards the implementation timeframe. In a recent UK Annual CAFM Survey 2012*, the time taken to implement a CAFM system is a follows:
* UK Annual CAFM Survey Results 2012, by FMA, SWG and iFM