How To Get a CAFM / CMMS / IWMS system by Michel Theriault

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

CMMS IWMS CAFM SystemGetting your senior management to approve implementing a system is tough, whether it’s Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) or a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), stand-alone or as an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)

To start, they may not understand the Facilities Management function and it’s importance, so they may not recognize the benefits of having a system. Rather than trying to focus on the facility related details, I suggest you focus on information as a key selling point.

With information about your business responsibilities and about one of your company’s largest assets and expenses, you will get information that you can use to made decisions that improve efficiency and reduce costs. Information is one of the things most execs understand well, in addition to revenue and expense.

Focus on each one of the functions your (future) system will do for you and identify specific and relevant information you will get and what you can do with it that results in $ saved. Then highlight the woefully inadequate information you currently have along with the risks of not having the info (risks are another thing execs understand). Keep it high level and results oriented – Most execs don’t care much about Facilities details as long as the core business is operational.

Here are some simple examples of how you can approach it. You need to fully understand your organization and what they think is important and adapt your approach.

CMMS system (for those who are responsible for maintenance):

  • Provides evidence that you have performed your legislative compliance responsibilities. You can produce a report at any time easily without doubting the information. It is auditable and defendable in the case of a lawsuit or audit by the authorities.
  • Tracking repair activity and costs by asset provides data you can use to make better capital replacement decisions as well as decisions about maintenance practices, all of which can save $ (i.e. lifecycle, energy, etc.)

Help Desk/Work Order system

  • Tracks the work orders (i.e. costs) by type and department. You can pinpoint departments who are accessing costly services more than others and take action to reduce.
  • You can spot trends such as departments who have high Move/Add/Change requirements and implement alternate accommodation / workstation / technology approaches that save move and reconfiguration costs as well as reducing the staff’s downtime (inefficiency=cost) that result from MACs.

CAFM (i.e. space)

  • Tracks all vacant and underused space efficiently and up-to-date and help you manage down the total requirements by giving you visibility into an expensive commodity – real-estate.
  • Time you and your client department spends on reconfigs, shuffling, etc. will be reduced because you have the info.
  • Reports on department use of space will help put pressure on reduction or justify tighter standards. Information is used for benchmarking, which can prove your business cases.

If necessary, compare it with other parts of your company. Highlight the fact that they have systems (if they do) which provide them the information they need to run their responsibilities. You have the same needs. Ask how they justified them, if possible, to see what sells in your company.

When you start going down the path, be sure you understand what information you want, how it will fit in your work processes and staffing, what you will do with it and what you really need (your business requirements) before you even think about the process of selecting or procuring a system.

Michel Theriault, FMP, RPA, LEED AP, Principal, Strategic Advisor


Principal, Strategic Advisor FM Insight Consulting,
Michel is a thought leader in FM, promoting it as an important profession through articles, books, seminars and training.

He has over 26 years’ experience in Facility Management delivering facility services in-house and with an FM outsourcing provider as well as 9 years providing consulting and training services to help facilities departments solve problems, improve services and implement best practices.

He has has deep practical experience managing facilities from high-profile office towers to critical facilities. He has earned awards for the buildings he managed, including several BOMA Certificate of Excellence awards and the Pinnacle Award for customer service.

He is also activity involved in the industry, with 24 years as an IFMA member, participation in FM associations and currently as the Academic Coordinator for Ryerson University’s Facility Management Certificate Program in Toronto, Canada.

Michel has been recognized for his contribution to FM with a Distinguished Author award from IFMA for his book “Managing Facilities & Real Estate”. He contributes FM articles to leading magazines around the world, delivered seminars at national and international FM Conferences and delivers Facilities Management training, including as an accredited instructor for IFMA’s FMP designation program, in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh, Muscat, Atyrau (Kazakhstan), Doha, Kuwait City, Singapore, Abuja (Nigeria), Kuala Lumpur, Bermuda and Toronto.

Michel’s experience, knowledge and approach to FM comes across in his consulting and training, with practical, real-world solutions that help Facility Managers develop and implement strategic initiatives.

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One response to “How To Get a CAFM / CMMS / IWMS system by Michel Theriault

  1. David Reynolds says:

    Beginning with practical and specific focus, “…each one of the functions your (future) system will do for you and identify specific and relevant information you will get and what you can do with it that results in $ saved” bodes well for presentation at the organization executive level. You will probably need example cash flows (or NPVs, if you foresee a capital project), so you will have some sort of product or service in mind. Knowing the organizational ways of thinking about IT can be helpful. With organizations now computing with hybrids of public cloud, private cloud, and internally hosted, you may have a host (sorry) of choices to obtain the results described in your executive briefing. Suggestion: have coffee with IT as your exploration proceeds. You can become to them more than just the means of keeping their electrical power on and their premises secure. A management level colleague there can be a big help in your thinking, and your executives’ decisions, as you go forward.

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