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A Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Facilities Management Software (CAFM)

Buyer's guide

For owners of corporate offices, housing estates, schools, hospitals, and retailers, maintaining a facility and keeping it in tip-top shape can be an overwhelming task. But, that’s where Facilities Management Software can help.

With the right tools, facility managers and landlords are able to streamline a building’s maintenance and management processes. Resulting in maximized efficiency, improved workflow, and happy occupants throughout the property.

What is Facilities Management Software?

What Is Facilities Management Software?

Defined by the IFMA as the “practice of coordinating the physical workspace with the people and work of the organisation”, Facilities Management Software (FM Software) is a tool used to organise and plan the management and maintenance tasks within a facility.

Referred to as Computer-aided Facilities Management (CAFM), an effective CAFM tool will incorporate features that aim to improve the efficiency of a facility’s processes. Enabling landlords and facility managers to deliver the best possible workplace experience for their occupants.

Some vendors may portray facilities management in the same light as a Computerised maintenance management system (CMMS). Or even an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWNS). But, it’s important to know, that FM Software is so much more than that. For instance, it offers the maintenance management capabilities of a CMMS as well as the workplace management of IWNS. Overall delivering a variety of valuable building management functions.

Typical features of a facilities management system include maintenance planning, asset management, work order management, and space management. With these features, facility managers are able to:

  • Manage and track assets as they move between buildings
  • Reduce downtime of essential workplace equipment with preventive maintenance
  • Reduce reactive maintenance costs with effective planning and scheduling
  • Streamline work order processes such as repairs and maintenance
  • Ensure the health, safety, and well-being of a building’s occupants
  • Integrate with systems such as Computer-aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Provide effective workplace management through space and move management tools

Facility Management Software is a tool commonly used by enterprises and owners of multiple facility sites. But, with the rise in affordable SaaS and cloud-based options, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are beginning to take advantage of CAFM solutions.

What Are the Processes of a Facilities Manager?

The role of both a facility manager and property owner is to ensure efficiency and safety throughout the premises. This is achievable through asset management, preventive maintenance, and work order management processes.

What are your processes as a facilities manager or property owner?

But, keeping on top of a building’s endless tasks and requirements can be challenging. Especially if jobs are being managed via time-consuming and error-prone methods such as pen-and-paper or spreadsheets. In fact, 44% of facilities in 2018 used only paper to organise their property processes.

To understand how you can benefit from a facilities management tool, you need to identify your current processes. A great way to do this is to question how you operate within the building. Such as:

  1. How Do You Ensure the Maintenance of Equipment?

    Whether reactive or preventive, identify how you plan for building maintenance. This can include planning for mechanical, electrical, or structural maintenance. For example, how do you plan for the maintenance of your HVAC systems and elevators?
  2. How Is Equipment Made Available to Occupants?

    Supplying equipment doesn’t just mean making sure water coolers and kitchen kettles are available. It requires you to know the location of each piece of equipment as they’re moved between spaces and buildings.
  3. Do You Collect Occupant and Space Management Data?

    Throughout the years, you may have collected data about your occupants and spaces within the property. This data could be an occupant’s name, length of residency, and any financial details. But, where do you store this data? Is it in a spreadsheet?
  4. How Do You Communicate Work Orders Between Maintenance Personnel, Occupants, Contractors, and Management?

    When organising facility processes, it’s important that you keep in touch with all levels of workers. Whether that be by email, phone, or two-way radio. This includes relaying information to maintenance personnel, technicians, and occupants. In some cases, you'll need to provide updates to the executive management team as well.
  5. Are You Responsible for Outsourcing Facility Processes?

    This includes being in contact with various facility management companies. Including cleaning, catering, waste management, security, and maintenance teams. As well as collecting and managing data regarding each external contractors and their work orders.
  6. How Do You Recognise and Implement the Latest Facilities Management Trends?

    You may be expected to scan and analyse the market for new trends that can enhance your building’s processes. For instance, a recent trend is the use of drones and aerial imagery. With this, facility managers can identify any required maintenance needed to roofs and the exterior of high-rise buildings.

The Typical Challenges Faced When Maintaining a Building

Being responsible for tasks such as building maintenance, cleaning, and asset procurement can take its toll on a facility manager. With so many processes to oversee, gaps may start to appear in a building’s workflow. For instance, a facility manager is expected to manage aspects such as:

  • Health & safety
  • Finance
  • Environment
  • Energy usage
  • Work orders
  • Leases
  • Service charges

That’s not to mention critical activities such as maintenance and equipment management.

But, when problems do appear, it's important to take note of each one. By doing so, managers can identify the exact features needed from a CAFM tool to help close these gaps. When it comes to identifying gaps, it's beneficial to separate them into two groups. These are hard facilities management services (Hard FM) and soft facilities management services (Soft FM).

What’s the Difference Between Hard and Soft FM Services?

Knowing the difference between hard and soft facilities management services is crucial. Especially when it comes to identifying the functions required from a software solution. Keep in mind that the right CAFM tool should be able to deliver on improving both hard and soft services.

Each service is unique to a property and can depend on the business type, building size, and location. It’s also important to remember that most services, whether hard or soft, are required by law.

What Are Hard FM Services?

Hard FM services are physical parts of the property that cannot be removed for the sake of the safety and welfare of the building’s occupants. These include:

  • The maintenance of air conditioning units, heating systems, elevators, lighting, and plumbing
  • The structural maintenance of the building and its grounds
  • Ensuring fire safety systems are regularly tested and in working condition
  • Responding to occupant requests and improvements
  • Implementing preventive maintenance to avoid costly downtime of essential equipment

What Are Soft FM Services?

As opposed to hard services, soft FM services impact the workplace and make the working environment more pleasant and secure for occupants. Soft services are more comprehensive and complex when compared to hard services. These include:

  • Project management and having a clear dialogue between departments
  • Ensuring office spaces, common rooms, toilets, and windows are cleaned
  • Calculating ROI values for workplace assets
  • Providing security throughout the premises in the form of CCTV and RFID entrances
  • Ensuring proper waste management and recycling practices
  • Providing an efficient catering service
  • Providing easy move management and workspace management

Top Tip: If you can't pinpoint challenges within your workflow, it’s a good idea to seek external input. Don’t be afraid to ask your team if there is anything they can see that needs improving. You could also contact other facility managers in your industry and ask what challenges they have faced in the past.

Key CAFM Features Needed to Meet Maintenance and Management Goals

Having a solid understanding of what you require from a CAFM tool can benefit your choice of software in two ways:

  1. You’re able to generate milestones and KPIs to measure the success of using a CAFM tool
  2. You're able to easily outline and communicate your expectations with the business’s decision-makers

Depending on a building’s processes, the primary functions of a facility management system will vary. For instance, with equipment downtime costing facilities between 5% and 20% of their productive capacity, a goal may be to decrease downtime. In this case, you’ll want a facilities management solution that focuses on preventive maintenance.

It’s important to note that all CAFM solutions will provide similar features and capabilities. But, some will focus on the aspect of one task more than another. Common features include:

  • Maintenance planning & management
  • Move management
  • Work order management
  • Asset management & tracking
  • Workspace management
  • Workplace safety & compliance
  • Environment and energy management

After mapping out facility tasks and identifying the challenges of maintaining a building, you’re able to highlight the specific features you need. For instance, you may require a tool to:

  1. Improve the Workflow of Maintenance Processes

    The improvement of workflow management can enhance the dialogue between maintenance personnel, teams, and departments. As well as enabling processes to run smoother. You're able to see what equipment is scheduled for maintenance and what maintenance is overdue or in progress.
  2. Reduce Ongoing Facility Costs

    With the right facilities management tool, you can track and record all facility and maintenance spending. With this, you can produce reports to identify the resources that are having the biggest impact on the budget. Building expenses include energy bills, the cost of ground maintenance, and the outsourcing of personnel. For instance, in 2018 energy expenses averaged $0.06 per square foot (PSF) for industrial buildings. With ground and landscape maintenance expenses averaging $0.02 PSF.
  3. Track Equipment and Facility Assets in Real-Time

    The right CAFM tool lets managers connect and sync tracking technologies to provide real-time data. Tracking technology includes IoT devices such as RFID tags, GPS trackers, and Bluetooth receivers. With this, a facility management system can collect real-time data such as energy usage and equipment failure. As of 2018, 47% of manufactures are placing a greater emphasis on the use of IoT devices in their properties.
  4. Store Occupant, Office Space, Reservation, and Maintenance Data

    Instead of collecting data in spreadsheets, you may require an easier solution. A CAFM system will provide you with a central archive for all of your data, which can be accessed through a centralized dashboard.
  5. Assist With the Procurement of Equipment and Inventory

    As well as managing inventory levels in real-time, managers can record each stage of the procurement journey to plan future budgets. An automated ordering system can also be built-in to the system to enhance the restocking process.
  6. Improve Maintenance Scheduling to Prolong Equipment Use

    With Facilities Management Software, you have the ability to track the life cycle of building assets. This helps to build effective preventive maintenance schedules. As well as letting maintenance teams know when to repair or replace an asset to avoid extended periods of downtime.
  7. Enhance the Health and Well-Being of Occupants

    Health and well-being are essential for increasing work efficiency in a building. By monitoring processes and collecting data, you’re able to understand the effect your management has on an occupant’s well-being. This includes air quality, temperature comfort, and lighting levels. As well as factors such as access to nature and having an outside view from an office.

Top Tip: To ensure a tool is best suited to you, separate your requirements into two lists; ‘I need’ and ‘I want’. Using this method allows you to prioritize certain aspects over others. For example, "I need the system to be cloud-based to access data on mobile devices". Or, "I want to upload our company logo into the system".

How to Find and Compare the Best Facilities Management Software

Whilst most software for facilities management can look the same, there are variations that can make a significant difference.

For instance, you may come across one application that is focused more on providing mobile access for departments. Whereas another tool may put all of its attention into maintenance management, much like a CMMS.

The slight differences in a vendor’s product make it important for you to have an idea of what you require from a CAFM tool. Once you have these desirables in place, you’re in good shape to search the marketplace. Here’re four steps we recommend taking while searching for the right vendor:

  1. Have a definitive list of the features, requirements, and KPIs
  2. Shortlist at least five vendors that match your list of requirements
  3. Screenshot, write down, or print out the functions that each vendor can supply
  4. Make a list of noteworthy points from each vendor such as free trials, training support, and prices

At the end of the comparison and evaluation stage, you should be left with the ideal tool that is going to meet your requirements. While also improving the efficiency of your management and maintenance processes, and helping to achieve your goals.

Here’re a few points to keep in mind when it comes to comparing Facilities Management Software vendors against one another:

Actively Seek Out a Free Trial or Live Demonstration

Access to a vendor’s product, via a free trial or live demonstration, can make the difference between choosing vendor ‘A’ over vendor ‘B’. Usually, an online demo will be the first interaction you have with the product. It may also be accompanied by a salesperson who will walk you through the product, giving you a chance to ask any questions. This is then followed by a free trial, where you can test the product yourself and understand the system’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to your maintenance and management requirements.

Top Tip: If you can’t find a free trial on the vendor’s site, get in touch with them directly. Most providers are more than willing to give prospects in the purchasing stage access to their system. Be wary of vendors that refuse to offer a demo or free trial of their product.

Consider All Key Areas of the Product

Leave no stone unturned when it comes to understanding a vendor’s CAFM tool. Consider this:

  • Does it have a clear user interface that is easy to navigate?
  • Are you able to identify the right maintenance and management features that you require when using the free trial?
  • Were you able to find and contact the vendor’s support team? If so, were you satisfied with their reply and response time?
  • Did they offer training, video tutorials, or web-based classes on how to use their product?
  • Have they had any prior experience providing software to other facility management businesses that are similar to yours, or in the same industry?
  • Do they meet the correct legal requirements to comply with GDPR law regarding the collection of occupant and personnel data?

Cross-Check Each Product With Your Requirements

Make sure the chosen tool can meet each of your identified requirements by cross-checking your needs and asking questions, such as:

  • Can the product provide the right features to improve the workflow and communication of facility processes throughout the organisation?
  • Does it offer the right reporting and analysis tools to accurately track and help reduce ongoing facilities, maintenance, and equipment costs?
  • Will it provide a notification-style system that alerts you when a maintenance work order has been started, completed, or is overdue?
  • Can the system migrate occupant, equipment, and maintenance data and store it all into one accessible centralized database repository?
  • Can it be aligned with an asset management tool that works with IoT-enabled devices, such as GPS trackers and smart heating systems, to provide real-time data and prolong the usability of equipment?
  • Is it a web-based/cloud-based solution that allows all maintenance personnel to access specific data from anywhere, at any time, via a mobile device?

Enquire About Prices, Plans, and Hidden Costs

Lastly, ask each vendor about the price of their product. You’ll want to know their pricing plans and if there are extra fees for storage limits or implementation. Knowing the price is crucial for understanding the ROI of the product in relation to your KPIs and milestones; “is it worth it?”.

Best Ways to Deploy a New Facilities Management Tool

Once you’ve found the best Facilities Management Software solution for managing your building, then comes the fun part; deploying it. But, before this can happen, you’ll need to have all decision-makers and stakeholders on board. This is particularly important if you’re operating as a facilities manager, landlord, or site owner.

You’ll also have to consider the needs of the employees who are expected to use the tool, such as maintenance teams and outsourced cleaning personnel. Ask yourself:

  • Is the software easy-to-use?
  • Will employees need to be trained in the new system and how long will it take?
  • If training is required, will it be provided or are employees expected to study independently?
  • Should employees be familiar with hardware and equipment that is included with the system, such as barcode scanners?
  • Will there be specific functions for each department, such as scheduling cleaning and ground maintenance?

It’s then time to get approval from the decision-makers. Here’re some key points to keep in mind when making your case to an executive management team:

  • Refer to how this tool will aim to serve the company’s best interest
  • Include plenty of numbers and figures in your presentation, such as ROI calculations and KPIs
  • Detail how, and if, existing tools can be utilised and integrated with the product
  • Present a detailed plan and timescale for deployment and full integration
  • Highlight any risks that may appear during integration

When the time comes to develop a detailed integration plan for your new facilities management tool, there are a few things that need to be considered. Such as:

What Is the Timescale for Deployment?

Once you’ve purchased the tool, you may have a rough idea of the time it takes to meet your goals. But, deploying the tool can be a lengthy process. So make sure to leave time for any challenges you may face.

Do Staff Need to Be Trained?

Don’t expect your CAFM tool to instantly improve your facility processes without the right training. This requires time and money, so be sure to factor this into your plan.

Can It Be Integrated With Other Systems?

Consider the challenges when integrating the product with other tools such as email, calendars, data storage, and file-hosting. It may take even longer to integrate other applications as well, such as BIM and CAD systems.

Can Existing Data be Uploaded and How Long Will It Take?

You may have collected a large amount of data regarding building space, maintenance work orders, and occupants. This data will need to be transferred into your new system, which can be a lengthy process. Whether you do it yourself, or your vendor offers help at an extra cost, you’ll need to consider the time it takes to complete this transition.

Top Tip: It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t expect to see results straight away. You may only start to reap the benefits of Facilities Management Software once you’ve put in the work. Make sure the system is working in every aspect and its features are set up to your every need. The more time and work you put into using the system, the quicker you can start achieving your goals.

Knowledge Guides for Using Facilities Management Software and Tools

What Is Facilities Management, When to Use It and Why
25th Mar 2021

A complete guide to understanding what is facilities management & how to manage your building in the most efficient & cost-effective manner.

The Functions of a Facilities Manager, and Why Every Building Needs One
11th Aug 2020

Discover how the role and responsibilities of a Facilities Manager (FM) can help drive workplace productivity and increase efficiency within your property.

The Benefits of Facilities Management in Schools and Education
2nd Sep 2020

Learn how school facilities management can enhance teaching environments, improve school culture and support pupil’s educational outcomes.

How Small Businesses Can Benefit from using a Facility Management Tool
8th Sep 2020

Learn the many advantages that facility management tools can offer SMBs & small businesses and why FM software isn’t just for enterprises.

How to Reduce Building Maintenance Costs With a Reactive Maintenance Approach
26th May 2020

Discover how a CAFM system coupled with preventive maintenance can help reduce the building maintenance costs that are impacting your bottom line.

5 Ways to Enhance Your Workspace Management with a CAFM Tool
26th May 2020

See the 5 most effective ways to improving your building’s workspace management with the use of a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) solution.

5 Ways CAFM Enhances Work Order Management
30th Jul 2020

Discover the importance of a work order management system and how it can increase efficiency around the premises and streamline your facilities processes.

Why Companies Tap Into Facility Tools to be Successful
11th Oct 2018

Discover why enterprises, small businesses and other organisations choose to use facilities management systems to enhance their operations.

Why Property Asset Management Software Is Not Just About Managing Your Property
13th Dec 2018

Find out how effective facility management in real estate and property businesses can benefit your overall property asset management.

Hard and Soft FM Services: What's the Difference?
2nd Sep 2020

Learn the difference between Hard and Soft Facilities Management services & how to manage each one with facilities management software.

A Complete Guide to Property Asset Management and Its Many Benefits
6th Dec 2019

Read our complete guide on property asset management and discover why the maintenance and upkeep of your buildings and facilities is crucial.

Faq’s

Facilities Management FAQs

Q A

What Is CAFM software?

Computer-aided Facilities Management Software (CAFM Software), also referred to as FM software, enables facility managers and landlords to effectively manage their building maintenance from one centralised system. A typical FM solution will provide the tools necessary to reduce property costs and improve efficiency throughout the built environment. With CAFM software, you’re able to:

  • Track and manage building assets

  • Store and sort occupant data

  • Build preventative maintenance schedules

  • Monitor spare parts inventory

  • Organise and store outsourcing personnel data

  • Digitalise payments and invoices

Q A

What Is the Best CAFM Software?

Choosing the best CAFM software is subjective and depends on what features you require from a facility management tool. It’s also important to remember that what may be the best CAFM system for one organisation, may not be the best choice for your facility processes. Factors to consider when finding the best CAFM software for your building include:

  • Size of the property

  • Maintenance requirements

  • Spending budget

  • Outsourced tasks

  • Stakeholder input

  • Workplace personnel (cleaners, electricians, plumbers, technicians, etc.)

Q A

What Is the Difference Between CAFM and CMMS?

Although there are similarities between Computer-aided Facilities Management software and a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), there are also critical differences between the two when deploying them in the facility management industry.

A CAFM system is implemented to assist facility managers with automating various facility management tasks. This includes:

  • Perform cost control audits

  • Manage and organise a real-time asset register

  • Hire contractors

  • Outsource facility processes

  • Track the status of work orders

  • Collect and digitalise occupant data

A CMMS, on the other hand, has a more narrow focus on providing tools for the management of maintenance within a building. Tools include:

  • Work order management

  • Build preventative maintenance schedules

  • Provide maintenance reports for technicians

  • Track machine and equipment matinee history

Q A

Can the Right Facilities Management Tool Help to Utilise Space Management and Planning?

Whatever your industry, type or size, effective space management and planning is key for a successful facilities management solution. As a facilities manager, not only are you expected to utilise the space within your built environment, but you also need to manage each physical space’s inventory. Including tracking, maintaining and carrying out maintenance when necessary.

Space management and planning should be a vital part of your facilities management software. It will allow you to attract and retain occupants, improve space efficiency, reduce vacant space, and save on operational costs.

Traditionally, there are three main components of space management planning. Of which, all three are most effectively achieved with a facilities management software tool. These are:

  1. Recording Insightful Space Management Data

    By recording space management data, with the help of IoT devices such as energy trackers, you’re able to have an overview of how space is utilised in each property. Two main sources of essential data are the usage of space and the operational costs for each physical space.

  2. Accessing and Collecting Real-Time Data

    By implementing a facility system that incorporates the usage of real-time data, you’re able to record accurate data of each of your physical spaces as it happens. This allows for quicker and more efficient move management, as well as accurate tracking to enhance space utilisation.

  3. Planning for Effective Space Utilisation

    Most crucially, through the real-time and space management data your system has collected, you’re then able to efficiently utilise the space within your facility. Not only does this aim to reduce your operational costs, but by choosing to utilise the space you already have, it can also help to reduce the need for further capital investment.

Q A

How Can Facility Management Tools Help Improve Property and Building Maintenance?

An essential aim for the successful management of a facility is to ensure that businesses are creating a safe and comfortable environment for their occupants. This is achieved through effective property and building maintenance techniques.

With an effective building maintenance plan in place, businesses can:

  • Improve the safety of occupants

  • Save money on urgent repair and replacement costs

  • Reduce energy consumption

  • Extend equipment and infrastructure lifespan

Typical building maintenance processes range from conducting M&E surveys and cleaning bathrooms to waste management and landscaping. Whether deploying a facilities management tool for offices, hospitals, universities, or residential properties, the building maintenance tasks remain the same.

To succeed with a building maintenance plan, it’s important that businesses have access to the necessary tools and features. Most of which can be found in modern cloud-based facilities management solutions, including:

  • Planned preventive maintenance (PPM)

  • Asset management

  • Energy performance analysis

  • Safety protocols

  • Work order management

  • Space management

Q A

What Market Sectors Can Benefit From Implementing a CAFM Platform?

The implementation of a facilities management tool can benefit a number of different industries, particularly the hospitality and real taste market sector. Whether you’re looking to prolong equipment usage through better asset management, utilise your space management and planning, or improve building and ground maintenance; CAFM can be an effective tool.

For example, here’re four sectors (schools, healthcare, parks and recreation, and churches) that can benefit from the use of a facilities management platform:

  1. Implementing Facilities Management Software in Schools

    Being budget conscious and having to meet the continuous demands of Ofsted, schools will benefit from using some form of a facilities management tool. Not only can a facilities solution maintain and manage the upkeep of school properties, but also the ground too. It’s a great way to identify minor concerns that can be rectified as well before they escalate into costly repairs and sufficient downtime of essential equipment. Other benefits include:

    • Adhering to building safety compliances and fire safety regulations and practices

    • Keeping external and internal buildings and grounds clean with outsourced cleaning services (either supplied by the school, district, or MAT)

    • Providing maintenance for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

    • Planning for maintenance outside of school hours to avoid disruption to staff and students

    • Providing useful and accurate reports to help with planning and budgeting for future maintenance expenditures

  2. Implementing Facilities Management Software in Hospitals and Healthcare

    The role of a facilities manager and their team within the healthcare industry is to keep non-clinical services running smoothly in order to help staff focus on delivering exceptional patient care. As well as ensuring hospitals meet standard requirements, a large part of facilities management in healthcare is cleaning. This is either from an outsourced group or a dedicated team of cleaning staff. Other important areas of facilities management in healthcare include:

    • Infection prevention through sterilised cleaning

    • Catering

    • Building maintenance

    • Security

    • Reception hosting

    • Car park management

    • Laundry management

    • Waste management (including chemical and medical waste)

  3. Implementing Facilities Management Software in Parks and Recreation

    Typically employed by councils and private investors in the UK, facility management tools are essentially required to provide ongoing maintenance to meet health and safety regulations. This provides facility managers to conduct maintenance plans, produce cost estimates, and maintain natural resources. All in a bid to enhance the lives of residents in the town, city, or community. Indoor and outdoor parks and recreation facilities can include:

    • Recreation areas

    • Sports fields and courts

    • Playgrounds

    • Dog parks

    • Communal swimming pools

    • Parking grounds

    • Local restrooms

    • Amphitheatres

  4. Implementing Facilities Management Software in Churches

    In churches and other religious facilities, keeping maintenance costs to a minimum is vital. It’s also important to keep in mind that any management, maintenance or facilities team will be volunteers who are looking to give back to the ministry. There are a number of reasons why churches would need a facility management tool, including:

    • Effective cleaning volunteers to prepare churches for events such as weddings and Sunday service

    • Team and project management to align volunteers with the correct jobs

    • All-year-round landscape and ground maintenance

Q A

I Am a Small Business Owner - Is a Facilities Management Tool Necessary?

Although a facilities management software solution may seem more inclined to enterprises and larger companies, implementing CAFM in a small business should not be overlooked. It may seem like an unnecessary expenditure at first, but it can help save your business money in the long term. Some crucial benefits include:

  • Delegating Duties to Focus on Business Operations

    Whether you’re a small business of under 20 employees or under 5 employees, there’s a lot of work that needs to go into effectively managing and maintaining facilities. And, most of the time, all of these responsibilities fall to one or two people. But, with a CAFM tool, managers are able to delegate duties to other staff or outsourced teams. This produces an organised structure within the workplace and promotes a more coordinated effort to help the business grow.

  • Reducing Downtime of Business-Critical Assets

    Some facilities management solutions are coupled with an asset management tool, which is valuable for keeping business-critical assets working at an optimal level and avoiding unplanned downtime.

  • Storing Data Regarding Outsourced Facilities Management Teams

    As most small businesses employ only a handful of staff, the need to outsource certain maintenance and management tasks is unavoidable. This can include anything from cleaning services and building maintenance, to waste management and catering. By having a facilities management tool, you’re able to store all data regarding tasks that have been outsourced. These include outsourced personnel details, maintenance schedules, and support channels.

Top Tip: As you begin your search for a facilities management tool, look out for specific cloud-based or web based Software-as-a-Service pricing plans. These usually consist of monthly payments and are favourable for a small business with a minimal budget and with room to scale.

Q A

Can My Facility Processes Be Tracked and Managed on a Mobile Device With a Cloud-Based Solution?

When using a cloud-based or web-based facilities management solution, you’re able to access all facility data via a mobile device. This could be your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other specific hardware. The ability to do so grants you and other teams members access to data when on the move and in the field. This is particularly handy if you need instant access to the system but are not within a distance of your work desktop.

With a mobile solution, you can access data such as maintenance schedules, contact numbers of outsourced personnel, space utilisation, and energy-use statistics. Effectively giving you the ability to analyse information and make decisions straight from your pocket.

As well as being accessible from anywhere with a service signal, cloud-based facility solutions can have many other benefits, too. Including:

  • Setting Restricted Permissions

    As not all staff and personnel need access to the same data, cloud-based mobile solutions allow you to set what is accessible and what isn’t. For example, maintenance workers may need access to the building’s floor plans but not the financial documents that are intended for your accountant.

  • Disaster-Proof Security

    With an on-premise system, the possibility of a server crash or natural disasters such as flood or fire can severely damage your data. But, with a cloud-based option, your data is routinely backed-up in real-time. This means when a technical issue does occur you have peace of mind knowing that your data is safe and accessible on all devices.

  • Accessible at All Times

    The great thing about a cloud-based system is that it is accessible all the time. By being always-on, it means data is cached and updated immediately. For example, if you make a change to a specific file but accidentally close the application, that change will be automatically saved and you can pick up where you left off.

Q A

Can a CAFM System Make It Easier to Outsource Processes and Improve Outsourced FM?

By choosing to outsource facilities management processes (outsourced FM), you’re transferring the decision-making to third-party outsiders. When outsourced effectively, this can lead to better efficiency around the workplace and a general improvement of skills within the organisation.

Historically, facility processes have been kept in-house with many businesses choosing to hire their own staff for specific jobs. But, as technology has improved, the ease and efficiency of outsourced FM has become a beneficial option. Especially with the use of a computer-aided facilities management software (CAFM).

Outsourcing FM processes with a CAFM can benefit businesses in a number of different ways. Including:

  • Saving Time and Money

    Taking staff training and operating costs into consideration, in-house facility management can be an expensive outgoing. Although outsourcing would require payments, these would be considerably lower in comparison.

  • Staying Flexible With Staff

    Particular facility management processes are only required on a seasonal or cyclical basis, such as building and ground maintenance. So, instead of hiring staff and keeping them around just-in-case, processes such a these can be outsourced.

  • Providing an Increase in Service Quality

    Outsourcing your processes and jobs to an experienced facilities management service provider will guarantee that the job gets done as intended. This experience proves crucial to making sure only the best maintenance staff and engineers are kept on the premises.

Q A

Facilities Management and Asset Management Software Have Similar Capabilities - Which Is Best for My Business?

As technology and tools continue to develop, the functional gaps between asset management and facilities management software have narrowed. But, though similar in a few aspects, there are still many differences that set the two apart when it comes to day-to-day operations.

Core Functions of Asset Management Software

The main function of an asset management system is to track, measure and analyse the complete value that is provided by all assets throughout the company - both tangible and intangible. The typical functions of an asset manager, include:

  • Maximising ROI of assets

  • Improving maintenance efficiency

  • Tracking asset lifecycle from acquisition to disposal

  • To achieve profitability objectives by minimising expenditure

Core Functions of Facilities Management Software

Although a focus on assets in crucial for a facility manager, their priority is to improve productivity and efficiency within the workplace. While also handling workplace needs and demands. Typical functions of a facility manager, include:

  • Optimising the work environment

  • To utilise all assets that support the business’s operations

  • Focusing on end-user needs throughout the workplace

  • To effectively manage corporate social responsibility initiatives

Q A

What Computer-Aided Facilities Management Functions Can Help Control Churn Expenses?

What Is Churn?

Most facility managers will have experienced and dealt with the relocation of occupants within the workplace; also knows as churn. But, without the use of an effective computer-aided facilities management tool, many FMs are unaware of their exact churn rate and the expenses that come with it.

A building’s churn rate is presented as a percentage to indicate the total amount of employees or occupants that have been moved workspace. For example, if 300 occupants move workstations in an office building that has a total of 1000 people, that building’s churn rate is 30%.

Although businesses may strive for a lower churn rate resulting in fewer bottom-line expenses, there can be some benefits to having a higher churn rate. One advantage is being able to implement the latest workspace trends, such as effective move management through hot-desking.

Currently, the median churn rate for Corporate America organisations is 45%. But some facilities tend to experience percentage rates much higher than this, such as 100% to 200%. On the other hand, there are many facilities that experience low churn rates. Although this may seem ideal, it usually means there are moves taking place that aren’t tracked or FMs aren’t aware of.

Depending on your focus as either a dynamic workplace setting or a more stable business with long-term goals, poor management of your facility’s churn rate can be costly. For instance:

  • You’re unaware if you have a high or low churn rate percentage

  • You are damaging your chances of implementing positive and progressive changes in the workplace

  • You’re unaware of the huge expenses associated with occupants moving from one location to another

What Are the Costs of Churn In a Facility?

Whether an employee has relocated due to a companywide restructuring or because of business downsizing, the costs incurred can be huge.

These types of costs can also depend on the different elements and types of churn. For example, box moves (occupants moving to existing workstations in the facility) average a cost of $160 per move. Whereas furniture moves (reconfiguration of existing furniture or the addition of new fixings) average a cost of $729 per move.

One ‘soft cost’ that can damage a business’s bottom-line as a result of churn is downtime. This occurs when an employee has relocated in the premises but is without the necessary tools to continues working. Such as waiting for the right data and network cabling to be operational.

As well as ‘soft costs’, the relocating process will incur expensive ‘hard costs’. Such as:

  • Labour rates

  • Extra materials needed

  • Wall constructions

  • Technician support for cabling

How Can CAFM Reduce Churn Expenses?

A computer-aided facilities management tool is packed full of features and functionality to help FMs and executives gain a greater understanding regarding their expenses. This includes identifying how much re-locating employees is costing and understanding the business’s total churn rate percentage.

With the right FM solution, you’ll be able to:

  • Gain a holistic view of all spaces and amenities such as workstations and data cabling outputs

  • Manage and track assets to reduce wait time and easily locate equipment or furniture as they move between workstations

  • Schedule and plan for moves in the building

  • Outsource maintenance tasks to reliable technicians

  • Increase efficiency of move management and space planning through applications such as CAD and BIM

Q A

Can Services Such as BIM and CAD Be Integrated With CAFM Software?

Moden CAFM software offers many benefits to an FM manager, including allowing the integration of multiple third-party applications. These can be email programs, data storage, fleet management tools, Building Information Modeling (BIM) services and Computer-aided Design (CAD) applications.

Having the option to use third-party tools with a newly installed FM solution can be beneficial in a number of ways, including:

  • Offering more tools for accurate data collection and analytics

  • Saving costs by not disregarding previous tool purchases

  • Being able to keep using tools that are already familiar with employees

  • Keeping a familiar workflow of orders and processes

Two applications that are beneficial to an FM manager are CAD and BIM services. These tools are used frequently throughout the facilities industry and provide greater efficiency for data and maintenance management when used with a CAFM solution.

How Do CAD and 3D Modelling Tools Benefit FM Managers

Computer-aided Design and 3D modelling tools are used to assist architects and other professionals in the design of buildings and space. These applications provide a variety of imagery and simulations, allowing a large amount of a building’s technical data to be stored.

As well as architects, a CAD system can be a useful tool for an FM manager as well. With access, they’re able to:

  • View premises layout plans

  • Produce scenario modelling

  • See blueprints for occupation designs

  • Track cabling control

  • View floor plans

  • See building and property information for better maintenance control

How Do BIM Services Benefit FM Managers?

Contrary to popular belief, knowledge of CAD or other 3D modelling tools isn’t required in order to use BIM. Now a mandatory requirement for public sector projects, Business Information Modelling is a process of using computer models to help design, construct and maintain a building.

By integrating a BIM system with your CAFM tool, FM managers are able to reap benefits such as:

  • Reducing costs at the delivery and operational stages of a building

  • Improving efficiency in communications and work orders throughout departments

  • Accessing asset profiles for each modelling object to gain greater maintenance insight

  • Gain awareness of asset and equipment location

  • Improve the health and safety of occupants with predicted scenarios

  • Being involved in the early stages of space planning