One of the great struggles we confront every day as an FM software company is the inevitable challenge of converting to a digital system. Many FM’s operate in the analog, relying on hand-written notes, print-outs of floor plans, and their brains to manage the ongoing upkeep of their facilities. In small teams, sticking with analog media might seem to make sense. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? I’m here to tell you that clinging to this mentality will put you behind the times and the longer you wait, the harder the transition will become. After all, there was a time when even classic tech like email and fax probably seemed superfluous. Today, even the most analog FMs use email and other internet-enable tech to make their work easier and more efficient. So why does this classic technology get a pass, while newer tech that utilizes data gathering and intelligent triggered communication get ignored?
The truth is that adopting new technology is scary. It’s unfamiliar, often-unproven, and most of all, it can be a significant investment that, when taken in conjunction with the aforementioned fear, can seem like an altogether bad idea. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be a make-or-break, all-or-nothing situation. I’m here to make an argument for a staggered digitization – an implementation of digital tech on a function-by-function basis that will make use of technologies only in the places where you need them. It takes a good manager to recognize where their strengths and weaknesses are, but identifying those weaknesses and utilizing tech to mitigate them will make you better at your job and help your team work more effectively.
For example, let’s say you spend too much of your day dispatching emails and phone calls. You’re behind a desk all day solving problems remotely, but you want to be out in the field helping your company stay fully operational, performing maintenance and inspections, and looking for opportunities to improve the facility. Well, there is technology that can help you streamline your communications and deliver mobile business intelligence to you, in the field, and it’s called envVisual!
Unlike many FM systems which are overstuffed with features that you probably won’t ever use and a price tag to match, envVisual solves a few simple challenges, chiefly communication clarification and reporting automation, and won’t eat up your budget to implement. Like envVisual, there are other systems that do one or a few things very effectively. For example, Thoughtful Systems’ Scheduling Manager makes scheduling maintenance and managing your team easy and intuitive. Like envVisual, it won’t cost an arm and a leg to implement, and it won’t force you to abandon all the processes that have worked for you thus far. It will merely help you manage specific processes (like communication or scheduling) more effectively. What’s more, simple technology solutions are easier to implement, so you won’t spend months moving data to a new system or teaching your team how to use it.
The advance of technology has sped from a crawl to a sprint, and the longer you continue to walk, the harder it will become to catch up. That doesn’t have to mean complete digitization of all your processes, but it does mean taking stock of what you could improve upon and leveraging technology to make sure you’re optimizing for success.
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