FM Implementation, the hard way or the easy way?
Implementing a new FM or Asset Management System (AMS) can be both a high risk and a disappointment if not done well. Statistics from the web indicate approximately 70% of IT projects are deemed failures.
One in six IT projects has a cost overrun of 200% plus and IBM cites only 40% of IT projects meets its criteria for success (schedule, budget, and quality).
So, why the high failure rate? In our experience dealing with many clients, we see some common mistakes:
Confusing needs vs wants – if you ask key stakeholders what they ‘want’ from a new system you have asked the wrong question. Organisational wants are endless. The question should be ‘what are the needs that this system is to satisfy?’. The first ‘need’ is what are the objectives that the system is to deliver? In any FM or AMS the objectives are about outcomes, not inputs. By example, ‘Demonstrate compliance with statutory maintenance requirements on an annual basis’.
Focus on outputs not inputs – if you have defined the needs then it naturally leads to defining the form or outputs that would satisfy the needs. This may include defining some sample reports that would address the objectives. Asking stakeholders what reports they ‘want’ is a mistake. You need to ask what reports they are prepared to read and the frequency to fulfil their management responsibilities. The level of detail, in particular in exception reporting, becomes less frequent and more summarised, as you reach higher management levels
Business process vs system process – if you now know the objectives and the outputs then you can take a view of what steps, tasks, who and when it’s needed to fulfil the outputs. Sometimes this is a linked to current process and more often it’s an opportunity to re-visit how things happen now. The use of both the ‘Lean’ and ‘Six Sigma’ methods can be useful. The basic approach is to design a process that takes the least number of steps and only interacts with the people who will add value to the chain of information that benefits the objectives.
The key point here is avoid looking at how the system does stuff. Most systems today are highly configurable, so if you know what is needed and how to get there you can assess the suitability of the system to support you.
Assessing Software – the key trick in assessing software is ‘less is better’. Some systems have evolved over many years and are the culmination of attempting to address clients’ ‘wants’. Just because some software can do other things you need to focus on the objectives. Ignore the sales pitch, you are seeking a solution for your objectives not their sales targets.
Example of getting it wrong – A fairly simple asset system was replaced with a high end ERP module. While the original system contained approx. 24m data items over 170 data fields. A review showed 40 could be removed due to non use. It also showed that the organisation did not have the resources to maintain the 24m records in the first place. However the organisation updated the system to now include over 5,000 data fields to address the ‘wants’. The original cost to implement was exceeded by more than 6 times the original budget and over time by 5 years.
Example of getting it right – An organisation was seeking a new asset system. Engineering wanted to capture large amounts of asset data in order to demonstrate they were doing asset management. The system identified by engineering was very expensive and complex. After a review and obtaining the reports that each level of management was actually prepared to read and use, the amount of data was reduced and a simple low cost system was implemented.
If you are looking at updating or buying a new FM/AMS then contact the team at WebFM, we are experts at converting a complex problem to a simple solution.