4 min read

How to Determine the Best FM Software | FlowPath

Alex Cummings
December 13, 2023

Choosing the right facilities management software can either make or break your company’s processes. Not to mention, the plethora of different facility management software available can get unnecessarily overwhelming and confusing, especially with all the different terminology like CAFM, CMMS, IWMS, etc.  

We’re entering the age of facility management where it is time to look beyond the label and see all these available software for what they truly can offer your company and go with the one that meets your unique needs, regardless of the solution’s acronym. When looking to optimize or upgrade the systems in place to manage your facility, keeping in mind these considerations will be key as you look to make your company more efficient and profitable!

Now, let’s dive into what CAFM software is and why considering its functionality is important when optimizing your facility’s way of running. 

What is CAFM Software and Why is it Important?

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) Software broadly applies to software solutions that help facilities and operations professionals manage all aspects of the built environment. Robust in scope and functionality, CAFM Software allows for organizations to centralize often disparate systems, data sets, and tools into one operating platform to help management monitor and achieve strategic business goals. 

What is the Difference Between CAFM and CMMS?

CAFM Software and Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) are often interchangeable, broadly applying names for software that help organizations manage their facilities. Functionally, traditional CMMS systems tend to be more focused in their applicability and vary across organizations for how useful they can be due to a variety of factors. Needs for light-touch or robust systems vary by industry and organizational complexity, making identifying your objectives and goals critical to finding the right software. 

Historically, CMMS-focused systems tend to be a portion of a CAFM Software package, however, as technology progresses, more functionality can be offered in a single platform. And, with all of this technological progress, facility managers should never settle for less than what they need out of their facility management platform.

What Should Be Considered When Choosing a CAFM Software? 

When researching new software to integrate into your organization, making a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ will make the selection process all the easier. And, identifying your objectives and how you need to accomplish them within your operation is critical to understanding what is a must-have and what is a nice-to-have within your next software. 

As you are conducting your due diligence, attending demos, and building a business case for bringing on a software system, comparing this software need to a vitamin or medicine for your current systems can help put it into perspective. Vitamins help deficiencies but rarely cure any systemic problems you face. Medicine, on the other hand, brings everything needed to the table to alleviate all symptoms of trouble. 

Facility management software ‘must-have’ checklist for 2022 and beyond:

  1. A connected system that allows for easy reporting, communication, and automation of processes. This allows for data to be easily aggregated in one place. 
  2. Workflow automation. As the volume of work a system can handle expands with company growth, the need for easy, effective, and efficient workflow automation is vital to success. 
  3. Multi-channel notifications to communicate via phone, text, email, or within the application platform. This is becoming a critical aspect to widespread adoption of the new system within your organization. 
  4. Easy onboarding. This includes a customized onboarding process, ability to easy accept data from your previous system in bulk, and account setup support
  5. Space and event management and invoicing
  6. Project management design and functionality
  7. Preventative maintenance and multi-format data storage (.pdf manuals, video tutorials, photos of completed maintenance, etc)
  8. Smart lists for multi-step processes for one or multiple tasks

What are Facility Management Software ‘nice-to-haves’ for 2022 and beyond?

A nice-to-have, or “vitamin”, typically seen in CAFM software for small and medium-size operations, include added functionality past core work function, like reporting capabilities or advanced event planning functionalities. But, if businesses don’t have these extra abilities, it wouldn’t jeopardize the core CAFM operation. However, like vitamins, when used in small doses every day it can make a world of difference in the long run . 

In Facilities Management, operators are often dealing with multiple internal departments that are unique to the size and nature of the company.. The other departments, such as accounting, procurement, or HR, will typically have their own software system. Oftentimes, there is usually a need to send data from the CAFM system into the other. As the need begins to arise,  the communications between the CAFM system and other business systems might be an infrequent, manual process, or a task that creates a slight amount of redundancy with data entry. These processes can continue with only minor inconvenience but after they begin to build up as the business continues to grow, a more impeding need arises. This is when automation comes into play to improve workflows and make communications between different systems more streamlined.  

As organizations adapt and grow, the needs for vitamins shift. The flexibility of a CAFM software to adjust accordingly over time to continue to provide value across the organization is imperative. And, as company’s needs evolve, having a central facility management system that houses all maintenance needs is necessary to  future-proof your technology stack.

Biggest Setbacks When adopting a (new) CAFM software and How to Avoid Them

1. Disjointed software: Overly-complicated software is typically the most troublesome aspect of antiquated CAFM softwares. Often, facility managers have modular systems that are pieced together to solve a gap in business processes. Yet, this quick fix still does not fully integrate, sometimes even if the modules are native to the same CAFM provider.

- Fix: Integrate a holistic software that can accommodate all aspects of your facility’s management needs. 

2. Inadequate onboarding support: Oftentimes, onboarding and support do not go far enough when integrating new software into your facility’s current system, leaving the adoption rate low within the organization (if the software is even able to be fully rolled-out). In addition, not identifying the needs of the organization properly has left the client with more technical debt than they need.

- Fix: ensure your new software partner has a thorough understanding of your team’s needs and has a clear support process in place 

The All-in-One Software Solution to Make Your Life Easier 

Enter: FlowPath, the all-encompassing facilities management software. With work-order solutions, inventory management, maintenance management, procurement, project planning, and more, this system is set to make facility management the best it can be. 

At FlowPath, our customers understand the benefit of switching to software that provides ease and isn’t fragmented. We designed the system with intentional simplicity and wide-functionality in mind across all users, solving the biggest problems faced by Facilities Managers when using an antiquated CAFM Software. 

See how this system could work for your company by signing up with a free trial today. Or, learn more about other initiates facility managers are taking by listening to our podcast here

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