FM industry widely opened its eyes to innovation and IT technology long time back but it’s over the past 10 years that the computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) softwares have taken the market by storm all over the world. Speaking strictly in the Middle East context, the concept is rather new and much talked about subject. We got in touch with the leading IT software companies to share their experiences, challenges and products in the gulf region.
Farooq Ali Khan, Director of
Professional Services, Dubai and
Professional Services, Dubai and
Northern Emirates, eSolutions Maximo
What is FM software and its scope?
To start with facility management is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology. And technologies have well recognized FM requirements with different scales and many of IT leading companies are providing end-to-end solutions addressing FM needs and challenges. Farooq Ali Khan, Director of Professional Services, Dubai and Northern Emirates from the leading IT software provider eSolutions Maximo, throws some light on this subject. He says, “Managing assets is a critical component to the operations of any facility or property.”
Maintenance software provides the ability to identify, track, locate and analyze all of your corporate assets. The asset explorer provides a user-definable ‘tree’ view of assets, making it easy to locate by the location, type, system or any other hierarchical setting you choose. Keeping track of assets and their changing locations is a challenge. Maintenance software gives you the ability to track asset locations so you know where it is, where it’s going and where it’s been.”
Moreover, it’s not just the maintenance and the asset management part of FM that needs the support of these softwares. These IT driven applications have a wider reach and other key areas to address as well. Khan further adds, “There is so much these powerful softwares can do and simplify the process. Maintenance management software allows organizations to create and track preventive, predictive and reactive maintenance records and related activities, asset management one tracks and manages an organization’s assets. Resource software helps to prioritize and schedule the activities to optimize the resource utilization, and capital project and program application manages capital construction projects. Indeed there’s a technology for every aspect of FM be it lease administration or environmental sustainability and energy performance analysis, you need to use these programs according to the company’s needs and requirements.”
Gabriel Uribe, Manager,
Middle East, Rosmiman Software
Relevance in the Middle East
Now, FM in the region is showing a dramatic growth due by the construction boom and big events coming like the 2020 Expo Dubai. All those new projects are increasingly incorporating smart technologies, providing real-time actionable data and enabling automated building control. Gabriel Uribe, Manager, Middle East from Rosmiman Software Corporation, says, “The region’s management markets are likely to follow the pattern established in Europe and we can take an advantage of that applying all those experiences in our current field. The training, organization, methodology and quality will be fundamental to make the FM sector consolidate itself and get the satisfaction of all of the involved actors like clients, companies service providers, institutions and public sector organizations. Nowadays we have seen greater interest in mobility solutions from our customers, we have recently been asked to incorporate mobility technologies to existing customers and new customers have come to us asking for mobility solutions to manage their FM Services. We have seen a notorious evolution in this regards and a very positive acceptance of new technologies, not only for mobility solutions but also for having the CAFM system in Cloud Computing, something we were pioneers to offer in the Middle East some years ago. We expect that current FM companies will soon realize the benefits of using mobility solutions and how they will lose market share and stay behind if they don’t adapt to changes and new technologies. They must make use of it if they want to be at the cutting edge of technology and to be relevant in the market.”
Ramesh Kulkarni, Project Manager,
Synergy Software Systems
Benefits and challenges alongside
IT applications and softwares for any industry is a must which goes hand-in-hand with the business operations, so does applies to the FM industry to be on par with the competitions. Ramesh Kulkarni, Project Manager, Synergy Software Systems, says, “Yes, there are FM companies adapting to the latest IT trends. There are so many advantages of these softwares that the FM companies can’t ignore their presence in the market. They provide easy access to the data/information. Escalation of any maintenance activities in real time is quicker with web-based software. We can obtain online approval of the work orders/job orders through web/browser based FM Software. Team managers can receive alerts and notifications on re-active critical maintenances. Another important thing to keep in mind is that FM Software provides clear visibility on resource availability.”
In short, most of the benefits are related to less time spending, less transportation needs (users don’t need to go to the office to retrieve the data back to the system), less paper, security of the information, the possibility to attach any document of picture is very helpful and shows in real images that the task has been correctly done.
The cost of softwares that directly supports the FM customers is easy for FM managers to justify like room reservation system, drawing viewing tools and service request systems. What really is a daunting task for managers is to justify the expensive cost of the softwares that directly supports the facility management tasks and provides value to the organization but indirectly. So this is something managers have to work upon by narrating the benefits of the tools they wish to use such as space management, project collaboration, energy management, telecom infrastructure management, etc.
Widely used softwares
There’s so much happening in this field and there are some applications that are widely used for various purposes. Here are some known softwares used in the FM industry: IBM Maximo is world’s leader in asset and facilities management software since a decade and consider as best in its class. Leverage easy-to-use, integrated capabilities for integration with other systems for enterprise resource planning, operational systems, financial management, reporting and analysis to support better quality decision making and continuous improvement through industry focused R&D make it world Leader in its class. Then, Oracle EAM is a leading ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), provides a solution to plan, manage and maintain smooth operation of your facilities. SAP- One of leading ERP also has modules to address the maintenance and facilities management needs. Since it comes in suite will be useful for large enterprises to have a uniformed and integrated solution across the organization. Concept Evolution is a web-enabled, complete CAFM solution. It can be used to manage a single facility and service line or a diverse property portfolio and multiple facilities.
Maintenance Connection is a web-based system that spans across a plethora of industries. Some features include cost tracking, predictive analytics, and scheduling and overall project management. MPulse maintenance software is a flexible FM solution that is broken into four editions, each one designed to fit the needs of your business as it grows.
End user training and support
So what happens once the software is installed, actually the real work starts from there. Softwares needs continuous update and the service providers must keep this in mind. It’s very important to transfer knowledge to the customers/end-users on new features. After sales service is highly recommended, resolving the issues and addressing the queries as on when they are raised is a must. Training should be imparted to the new users,” adds Kulkarni. The training process is one that should not be overlooked. The ideal training should have the equal mix of software and implemented business processes. The training duration must allow the participants to have the good hands on practice. Customized training manuals as per the role of trainee should be provided to each participant that can be used as a reference guide as well. Area champions need to be assigned and trained to provide day-to-day support to their departments or sections that will ensure successful rollout of software across the organization.
Check list before the final purchase
- FM software should be purchased because it is the right package to meet your Organizational long term objectives.
- Forcing all functionality into a single solution is typically not the best deciding factor to procure a CAFM. While most enterprise software packages can perform most tasks, rarely do they perform all of them well.
- Buying a software package that is more than your organization needs likely means that the software is more complicated and more costly than necessary. Do not sacrifice ease-of-use and the opportunity to have a best in bread solution to save a small amount of cost.
- You need to choose software packages that are right-sized for your organization. For small organizational needs Software as a Service (SaaS) may be the best option for your organization
- Implementation, support and annual maintenance are the key factors, which make your investment and efforts profitable to your organization. Company profile and post rollout support setup must be considered on priority, while selecting a software implementation services and it must not be compromised for low cost.
- With much of today’s workforce operating in cross-device, cross-platform environments, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of mobility. Mobility solution should be considered for implementation in such hybrid work environment.