Spreadsheets are undoubtedly a low cost way to manage a facility, as well as familiar programme for many and widely available in offices.
However, maintaining an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds or thousands of entries becomes increasingly unmanageable as an organisation’s assets and services grow and evolve. In many organisations, facilities management is a fast-paced and challenging environment, making it logistically difficult to keep information up to date in a spreadsheet and in particular to produce comprehensive reports from it for informed decision making. CAFM (Computer Aided Facilities Management) software is a fast-growing answer to this problem, and with some planning the successful transition from spreadsheets to software is a straightforward one.
Once a decision has been made to invest in a CAFM system, the information stored on the spreadsheets should be reviewed to ensure it makes a vital contribution to the FM operation. Anything that doesn’t should be archived to ensure that the new system uses quality information and is free of non-essential data. Any legal requirements such as The Data Retention Regulations must be adhered to.
Developing the implementation plan
Creating a formal project plan is a crucial stage to the successful implementation of the software. With this in place, all stakeholders will be working towards agreed project milestones and understand the resources required to achieve this. The project plan also ensures the right people are involved to ensure the timely delivery of the new software that meets the needs of the business and delivers a return on investment.
Decide whether the supplier will be leading the implementation project, or whether an internal person would be more appropriate. If the supplier will be the driving force, ensure that their proposal reflects this – for example it should include management and ongoing support as well as the software provision itself. If the project is to be managed internally, ensure that this responsibility has been allocated to someone who will have the time to dedicate to driving the implementation of the system forward, in addition to their existing workload.
The success of a new FM software system relies on a strong communications programme. There should be a project champion who will drive the benefits through the organisation, establishing the system as a strategic business tool, and not just a simple administrative resource. It is important to identify a multi-disciplinary project team who specifically have time set aside to:
- Collect, validate, transfer and clean up the required data to populate the software system. This can either be carried out in-house or by the vendor. Whatever the method, the vendor must give proactive support as fragmented data is difficult to work with and the preparation of timely, quality data is crucial to the success of the project
- Run the pre-installation checks and install the FM software
- Manage data migration and any software interfaces that may be required
- Undertake system testing, commissioning and sign-off / acceptance
- Train system users and administrators
- Go live with FM software
For a more detailed guide on managing the switch from spreadsheets to FM software, request our complimentary white paper, Excel to FM Software – Making the Transition.
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