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Facility management is the supervision of personnel, equipment, and assets for both residential and commercial properties. The primary functions of facility management include maintenance management, staff management, building and office space allocation, and inspection management.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
Facility management software is a platform that helps businesses manage the operations and maintenance of their commercial and residential facilities. It is also known as computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software.
The key functions of a facility management solution are:
Manage allocation of commercial and residential properties to residents and staff
Track equipment and assets
Schedule and manage building maintenance tasks and other repair jobs
The first step for selecting the right software is to understand the types of facility management solutions that are available. In this section, we’ve classified facility management solutions into two categories:
Dedicated maintenance management solutions. These solutions automate property and equipment maintenance tasks such as HVAC and plumbing work. Property owners and managers who also have facility management needs such as asset management and facility allocation should look at these solutions.
Combined CAFM suites. Combined suites help users manage multiple aspects of their properties. These suites include maintenance management, asset management, and work order management modules. Property owners who need to completely automate facility management should opt for these solutions.
Facility management systems are available in one of two deployment options: cloud-based and on-premise.
GetApp’s website focuses on cloud-based software options. In general, cloud-based tools come with lower up-front costs, faster implementation time, and automatic updates; they also better support remote use, scale more easily, and minimize the need for IT staff and real estate.
Still, it’s important for buyers to understand both of the most common deployment models. Here are some of the characteristics of each deployment type:
Cloud-based deployment. Cloud-based solutions host data on the vendor’s servers. You access the software on a web browser or mobile app. Here are the most common characteristics of this deployment method:
Incurs per-month or per-year subscription costs
Requires lower effort for deployment and setup
Scales based on your needs
Usually includes a mobile app
On-premise deployment: On-premise systems host data on business-owned servers. Here are the key features of this deployment method:
Incurs one-time per-user license cost
Requires you to maintain servers and other network hardware
Less downtime, as you are not necessarily dependent on an internet connection
Can offer mobile applications through a VPN connection
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product offer Android and iOS mobile apps?
The next step in the purchase process is to understand the key features of a facility management solution. Knowledge of the common features will help you select the solution that best suits your business needs.
Following are the core features of facility management software. These are the most important software features that a facility manager should look out for.
Asset/equipment management: Allows you to allocate and track equipment. Some products also offer barcoding and QR code integration to automate the process of tagging and locating equipment.
List of assets with their asset number, description, quantity, and custody in EZOfficeInventory
Work order management: Lets you create work orders for routine maintenance tasks and requests. You can also assign tasks to staff and view ongoing, pending, and completed maintenance jobs.
List of work orders along with their status, customer details, allocations, appointments, and service locations in mHelpDesk
Maintenance tracking: Allows you to track maintenance activities such as plumbing and HVAC work in a dashboard. Also lets you plan routine and ad hoc inspections of facilities to ensure that property and equipment are up and running at all times.
A maintenance request in Facilities Management eXpress (FMX)
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product include modules for asset management, work order management, and maintenance tracking?
*Note: The applications shown here are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations.
To get the best results from a facility management solution, you’ll need to integrate it with the other apps you currently use. Integrations ensure data sync between the applications, eliminating the need for manual data transfer.
Here are some important integrations you should look for in a facility management solution:
Calendar integration: Syncs maintenance schedules with employee calendars. This way, the staff is able to view their schedules within their calendar applications.
Email integration: Routes email requests to the inbox folder in the facility management software. This way, you’ll be able to manage communication from the facility management software tool itself.
Property management software integration: Lets you manage maintenance requests from building residents.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product integrate with the business apps we use?
We’ve already discussed the common, or core, features of facility management software. However, sometimes, those more common features will not suffice for all your facility management needs. For instance, if you are outsourcing some repair jobs, you’ll need vendor management to track the activities, billing, and status of third-party services. For this reason, we’re also covering some advanced features of facility management software in this section.
Preventive maintenance: Allows you to schedule preventive maintenance tasks such as greasing and oiling of tools. Sends reminders if a preventive maintenance task is past the due date.
Facility scheduling: Lets you manage room allocation in a commercial or residential building.
Incident management: Helps maintenance staff manage incidents, such as complaints, requests, breakdowns, and power outages. Alerts facility managers if an issue needs urgent attention.
Vendor management: Manage work orders and payments associated with third-party vendors. These vendors usually include equipment providers and service contractors.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product offer the advanced features that are relevant to my business needs?
To ensure a successful and long-term deployment of a facility management solution, you need to ensure that the vendor you select is aware of the recent market trends and has plans to build features that incorporate them.
In this section, we’ll discuss the two market trends that are currently disrupting the facility management software space.
Internet of things (IoT) will improve the efficiency of facility management software. IoT sensors can track the location and health of physical assets and equipment. This data enables you to track inventory movement and run equipment diagnostics for defects. With the growth in adoption of IoT, we expect this feature to become a core functionality available in facility management systems from 2023 to 2025.
Facility managers will primarily use mobile apps to track maintenance tasks. Mobile apps enable staff to access schedules and work orders on their smartphones, while helping managers track the location of maintenance staff and the status of their requests. These apps also help businesses implement BYOD, or bring your own device policies, in which maintenance staff can access their tasks on their own smartphones. For these reasons, we expect the complete adoption of mobile apps by 2022.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Do you offer a mobile app for tracking maintenance activities? Are you planning to incorporate IoT functionality in equipment tracking?
We’ve referenced the following documents while creating this guide:
GetApp Facility Management Software catalog (Date accessed: 02/18/2019)
*Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
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