Space management software has become a norm for hybrid workplaces. If you are a facility manager looking to get your employees back to the office, you need a space management solution. This blog highlights the five things you need to check before buying one.
If spreadsheets are your answer to the question “What space management software do you use?” you would be surprised what post-COVID times have in store for you. With hybrid working models becoming the norm, space management will be a whole lot more complicated. And the spreadsheet will no longer cut it.
If a facility manager calls its employees back to the office, you need space management software. You must already be looking for one. With this checklist, we will try and make it easy for you.
Like all things in demand, the market is filled with more solutions than you can check and compare. All options come with features – some of which you may find usable and others awesome. However, you will not want the nice-to-have features coming at the cost of essentials. More so, if the ROI on them is close to zilch.
Even if you are satisfied with the features, you would not want a product without adequate vendor support. Likewise, other things can make or break the deal. Here are five things that space management software is incomplete without. Make sure to check these before you sign the cheque.
Also Read: What is a Space Management Software?
If you are investing a significant amount of money in a solution, it must be up and running in the shortest time. You most certainly would not say, “let us wait for a couple of years to see the benefits.” Ridiculous as it may sound, it is a possibility that you cannot overlook.
The reasons could be many, but your capital will be stuck without any result to show.
Implementation includes customization of the solution and its integration capabilities with your existing tools. While the chinks could be in the existing tools, your vendor should be able to address them within a reasonable time.
Admittedly, it depends on various factors, including the number of systems to be configured, implementation scale, and so on. Nonetheless, an experienced solution provider will be able to provide an estimated timeline. If your vendor is not ready to do the same, it is a red flag you cannot ignore.
Bonus Read: 5 RTO Tools for Facility Managers
You will need service support for both cloud-based and on-premise products. A quick check on the client-to-support personnel ratio, the number of clients, and a reference check will help you cover your bases. Beyond the product fit, you also need to look at the credentials of the vendor. If your vendor develops cold feet when you ask for the details, look away and find another.
Specifically, understand what level of support you would receive and until when. Further, evaluate service components on offer. While technical support forms the base, continued training, product updates, and resources for enhancing product utility are things that make a difference in the long run.
You also need to check if certain services are chargeable. For example, you may be required to pay a fee for adding more members or new locations. So, it is advisable to seek clarity on the terms of support at the beginning.
If you are a growing business, you must check whether the space management platform is scalable. If you are operating out of one location with 50 employees and plan to add two more, the tool must support it.
It must let you manage the data, including financials, space utilization, efficiency, and more. Asking for precedents and challenges involved would give you a fair idea if it is the right tool.
A good proxy to check if the software is scalable is its design. A modular design lets you add more facility management tools as your real estate portfolio changes. Also, if a solution provider has more than one office management tool, the chances are the solution is modular.
While speaking of scalability, you would do well to consider the costs involved. How much more would you have to shell out for additional seats or locations?
If space management software does not provide data and analytics capabilities, it would not be easy to justify your purchase. Hence, rents, maintenance costs, occupancy level, and overall efficiency would be difficult to track without robust reporting capabilities.
The ideal solution will provide real-time data, insights on space utilization, and optimization to help reduce costs.
Without a data-driven tool, you would not know if your investment is yielding returns. So, before making the purchase, ensure the solution has strong analytics capabilities.
To be more specific, check if the solution lets you track the metrics relevant to your business. You would not want a tool that tracks merchandise sales in a legal consultant’s office. So, the metrics you choose must relate to your definition of ROI.
Recommended Reading: How to Optimize Real-Estate
Your space management software will carry, store, and use data that is confidential and sensitive. You need to approach the purchase with the same degree of caution as you would for a financial tool.
A few basic questions that can help answer if space management software is secure are:
1. Does it offer role-based permissions/access?
2. Does it provide audit trail capabilities?
3. Do any of your existing tools make the solution vulnerable?
Most importantly, if a solution does not mention security as its strength, steer clear of it.
Space management software solves different problems for different companies. While the five things listed here help address the fundamental aspects, you must ideally have a list specific to your needs.
A few other things that you would want to include in your list are contact tracing, space planning, meeting room reservation, and a mobile app interface.
A good space management platform will help with floor plans and space allocation and ensure a healthy work environment in your office space.
Not investing time in due diligence initially will cost you money, time, and effort later on. Although you will have space management software, it may not deliver the impact you expect. It could also get more expensive to maintain. You could soon find yourself shopping again.
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