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Tips for Selecting Facility Software
Upper management in many businesses is beginning to understand the importance of life-cycle cost. No longer are buildings viewed merely as places that house assets, but rather as assets themselves. But selection of facility software has to mirror the needs and desires of an organization.
- Know what you don’t need. “Figure out what you want to achieve,” says Susan Hensey, studio principal for FM strategies at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. “Each software has its own characteristics, so you need to pick one that suits what you’ll do with it.”
- Consider payback. “The systems range in cost, so don’t pay more for software than what you’ll get in payback,” Hensey says.
- Consider ease of use. Many users find new facility software more intuitive than previous versions. Part of the reason is the efforts of vendors to make software able to share with popular applications, such as Microsoft Office. Part of it is due to the familiarity most management team members already have with Web-based interfaces. And part is due to the increased collaboration of departments and information-sharing within various organizations. But be wary of choosing something too simple. “Those are the ones that are the most limited, oftentimes,” says Hensey.
Facility executives should also take into account the “team needs” within a building — IT, human resources, engineering, accounting, and other — when selecting software.
- Tap the knowledge of experts. Although only an organization’s internal teams can determine what they need from facility software, Andrew Bartolini, vice president of research for the Aberdeen Group, recommends relying on analysts and consultants to help choose the final software vendor.
Loren Snyder, a contributing editor for Building Operating Management, is a writer who specializes in facility issues. He was formerly managing editor of Building Operating Management.