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Should I Change CAFM Provider? Considerations, Challenges & How To Find The Right Solution

Table of Contents
  1. What Makes A Good CAFM?
  2. Common Mistakes When Choosing A New CAFM And How To Avoid Them
  3. How To Get Buy-In From Your Team For A New CAFM
  4. How To Find The Best CAFM For You And Your Team

Without a doubt, Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) can be an exceptionally useful software platform for any facility management team. However, not all solutions are the same, and since you’re here, you and your team are likely considering moving to another CAFM platform.  

For over 30 years, SFG20 has been the recognised standard for building maintenance specification and continues to provide support to businesses across a multitude of sectors. Our technical experts know what makes a top-quality CAFM system and have made this guide to run you through everything you need to evaluate before changing CAFM providers.  

Throughout this article, we’ll go over all the best features to look out for in CAFM, the most common mistakes during implementation and how to address them, how to find the best CAFM for you, and more.  


What Makes A Good CAFM? 

As mentioned earlier, no two types of CAFM are identical, with some offering more extensive features than others.  

Below, you’ll find all the top features found in high-quality CAFM software solutions to consider.

Or, it may be the case that you want to check if your current CAFM already offers these features.  


Good UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface)  

The best CAFM systems on the market are easy for team members to use, navigate around and learn.   

UX relates to the ease and user-friendliness of a platform, while UI is interested in how easily a user can navigate around the platform.   

A good CAFM should also have the flexibility to accommodate your organisation’s growth and changing requirements and should come with thorough training and ongoing support from the vendor. 


Robust Security Measures Man-using-tablet-looking-at-data

As CAFM software houses a lot of sensitive information, you’ll want to ensure that it has strong security measures in place including data encryption, secure coding practices and regular penetration testing. All of these features will help to protect your organisation's data from any cybersecurity threats. 

It’s also important to find out whether your chosen new CAFM software is GDPR compliant and whether the hosting organisation has an ISO 27001 (Information Security Management System) certification.  

Additionally, how the platform is hosted (either cloud-based or on-site) will determine the level of responsibility for cyber security.

Cloud-based (also known as web-based) CAFM software operates by hosting your database on the vendor’s servers and can be accessed via the internet, while on-premise CAFM solutions can be installed and run on your company’s server via your internal network.  


Integration Capabilities  

CAFM software that can be integrated with your existing and possible future systems such as IoT devices, Energy Management Systems, Building Management Systems (BMS) and SFG20 for maintenance task guidance can save you a lot of time, effort and money.

It’ll also likely reduce the need to replace your current systems and encourage your team to use your chosen new CAFM.  

The ability to gain actionable insights, analyse trends, and make data-driven decisions are all signs of great integration. After all, with the right data integration capability, you’ll be able to efficiently unify, govern and share data. 


Reporting And Analytics Features  

Another CAFM feature you’ll want to consider is its capabilities for reporting and analytics. 

In recent years, inflation has put considerable pressure on property and facilities organisations to demonstrate and justify cost increases to executive management. 

As a result, easy access to performance data and associated costs has become essential for teams in making data-informed decisions, assuring the board that value for money is being met and determining a system’s ROI (return on investment).   


Industry Experience 

While not essential, choosing a vendor that has specific experience within your industry or at least a good track record across varying sectors can give you any further reassurance you need in terms of your ROI. 

You’ll often find this industry experience being reflected in the UI (User Interface), as the software developer will truly understand the activities that will be managed by the platform. 

By choosing a vendor with experience within your industry, you’ll also benefit from efficient information movement and workflows. 

It’ll also likely prevent instances of workaround and compromises which can often be the result of using platforms that have been designed to support more generic activities.  


Common Mistakes When Choosing A New CAFM And How To Avoid Them 


Mistake 1: Unclear Requirements 

When considering a new CAFM, you’ll want to draw up a list of requirements with relevant stakeholders and system users that are specific to your organisation’s needs.  

Ask yourself and your team the question: what would you like your new CAFM software to solve?  

Otherwise, you may end up with a CAFM solution that’s simply not fit for purpose, leading to misaligned expectations and a failed implementation. 

Here are a few other questions that you and your team may want to consider: 

  • Do you already have an ISO 41001 accredited FM Management System or your own bespoke operating model with clearly articulated processes?  
  • If you already follow an ISO 9001 approach to continuous improvement, have you maintained a learning account? Does it already contain lessons identified from your existing processes and procedures that a new system can rectify?   
  • Do you have a strategic asset management plan underpinned by a clear maintenance strategy?  
  • Do you have existing Service Levels agreed with tenants, clients and end-users?  
  • What is your approach to customer service, self-service or centralised helpdesks?   
  • Do you have set performance targets including KPIs? 
  • Do you have APIs in place with other FM systems that you use for effective collaboration?  


Mistake 2: Not Testing The SystemMan-using-laptop-looking-at-data

Request a demonstration from the vendor to see how well the CAFM will fit within your organisation. If possible, check with the vendor to see if you can use your own data during the demo to get a realistic sense of the system.  

During the roll-out/implementation phase, it’s worth asking the vendor to create a “sandbox” where staff can practice using the new system before it goes live. This will help your team identify any issues with workflows or data. 

Where resources allow, parallel running is also useful to help build confidence in the system and maintain service delivery levels while user maturity levels grow.


Mistake 3: Poor Data Keeping 

A CAFM system is only as good as the data that you put into it. Another key mistake to avoid when moving or considering changing CAFM providers is not keeping all your data clean and up to date. 


Mistake 4: Failure To Explore Whole Life Costs 

Some organisations often make the mistake of focusing on the initial software price only without considering the long-term financial implications which can lead to further costs later down the line.  

One of the biggest expenses that is frequently underestimated is the customisation of CAFM software, for example for integrations with existing systems or for unique reporting needs. There’s often also the oversight of ongoing support and maintenance costs which are required to keep the system running effectively.  

Moreover, choosing Computer-Aided Facility Management software based solely on its cost without considering specific features and capabilities can lead to the software costing you more money in the long term. 


Mistake 5: Lack Of Employee Involvement 

Implementing any new software platform requires a well-organised transformational change programme, and getting stakeholders and end-users involved from the beginning is crucial for successful implementation

Failure to engage others about the implementation of new software platforms may be met with resistance and low adoption rates for your chosen new software - we address this in more detail below.  


How To Get Buy-in From Your Team For A New CAFM 

Time constraints, the fear of change and cost considerations are all factors that can make it difficult to convince decision-makers to switch to a new CAFM. In fact, a recent SFG20 survey revealed that 40% of people find the complexity of change to be one of the biggest barriers to introducing new software.  

To win your team over, you’ll need to consider the needs of key stakeholders in your organisation, and how your chosen CAFM will link into the wider strategy of your business.  

Here are a few further tips on how to get buy-in from your team when looking to change CAFM systems.  


Involve Employees From The Start

Remember, a lack of employee involvement can lead to resistance later on. Building-workers-talking-holding-tablet

You can engage stakeholders and end users at the start of the process by gathering their input on requirements which will help to determine if the new software will be right for their needs.  

You may even want to organise workshops to configure workflows, roles and reporting to each of your employee’s needs, or appoint people in each department to advocate for the system, address concerns and drive forward adoption.


Communicate The Benefits 

It’s important to communicate the objectives and benefits of the CAFM systems to employees to help them understand how it will help them in their roles, for example reducing manual tasks and improving productivity.  

You’ll also need to be clear about which old processes, procedures and technology are going to be left behind.  

Remember to keep employees informed throughout the whole implementation process with regular updates and opportunities to provide feedback. 


Invest In Training 

To maximise the value of your chosen new CAFM software system and ensure successful implementation, in-depth training and ongoing support both internally and from the vendor is a must.  

Inadequate staff training for your CAFM can lead to the underutilisation of the system’s capabilities, inaccurate data entry and even hinder your team’s adoption of the new platform.  

To help your team adapt to your new CAFM, ensure to provide them with all the support they need such as through induction training sessions from the vendor and written support documents. It’s also a good idea to clearly define responsibilities and accountabilities within your team in line with your chosen CAFM software’s features. 


How To Find The Best CAFM Software For You And Your Team 


  1. Prioritise Security and Privacy

    Ensure that your chosen Computer-Aided Facility Management solution has robust security measures in place to protect sensitive data and verify that it meets your organisation’s privacy requirements.   


  2. Compare Offerings

    Compare offerings from other vendors in terms of features, support quality and pricing. That way, you’ll be able to make a well-informed choice that suits your industry, budget and specific needs.


  3. Check Integration Capabilities

    Assess how well your chosen CAFM will integrate with other applications that your organisation uses and relies on such as HR, finance, BIM or SFG20.


  4. Assess Your Requirements

    Remember, take the time to thoroughly understand your organisation’s current and future needs and goals. Consider if the system can adapt to the growth and evolution of your company, and clearly define your must-have features or any unique requirements.  


Is CAFM Software The Right Choice For You?  

CAFM software can be a valuable time-saving tool, however, depending on the size of your organisation and your needs, it may be the case that you need a smaller solution such as a or CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) instead.  

At SFG20 we have just one mission: Driving Facilities Excellence, which is why we want understanding and choosing the best facility management software to be as easy for you as possible.

That's why we've created a handy CMMS vs CAFM guide which breaks down the pros and cons of each option in just a couple of minutes. If that's something that sounds of interest to you, click the button below to be taken to our guide. 


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