How to Select a Space Management Software Provider
A good Space Management software provider can have a significant positive impact on your company. The effective use of your workplaces is an important contributor to success. Reviewing software functionality ( ‘the demo’) is an important part of your selection process but there are a number of other considerations that will help you, not only get your project up and running but also provide a foundation for the best possible long term results. Here are 10 things to think about/questions to ask that will hopefully help you.
- Establish what will work for your IT team before you start talking to potential suppliers. If you have strict security protocols at your organization your IT group may not allow cloud or SaaS based solutions, you may have to work with a provider that will provide an installation within your infrastructure. Many suppliers do not offer this option.
- Ask yourself and your colleagues about the availability of drawings, employee location data and any other information you may want to track in a floor plan based application e.g equipment, meeting rooms. Your potential suppliers should ask you about this when they are working on a proposal for your project.
- Discuss with your HR team about working with you to provide basic employee data (space management software only really needs basic employee information to function e.g. name, department, email). Are they open to an interface with their system or will they just provide a regular file.
- Ask your senior management team what they would like a new workplace management system to do for them, understand if the priorities are more tactical e.g. improve move planning and process, enable employees to find people, places and things. Or if they are more strategic e.g improve space use, reduce cost of real estate, improve the work place experience, identify barriers to company growth. This will help you build a business case that has a good chance of approval.
- Ask your preferred supplier to help you quantify some of the components of your business case and if they have examples of other clients achieving this that you could use.
- Discuss internally the process for approving a project of this type. There will likely be initial year one costs and ongoing software use or support fees. Understanding how these types of projects are funded will make your life much easier once you have found your preferred software provider.
- Discuss with the supplier their approach to the key components of the implementation process e.g. drawing load, data capture, training, system configuration and also ask for examples of how long this usually takes them for portfolios the same size and scope as yours.
- Understand the impact of the suppliers pricing model on your recurring SaaS fees or licenses if your requirements change and / or your space expands. Work on understanding the likely 3 & 5 year cost of using the software.
- Ask the suppliers if they can load some of your floor drawings so you can see the application working with examples of your drawings and data. Enquire if they will give you access to a trial environment for a short period of time.
- Once you have a shortlist of potential suppliers see if they will come to your facility. Understand if they are interested in your workplace and how their system can help. You are planning a long term relationship with the individuals at your supplier, and you may rely on them and their software to help enhance your job performance and maybe your career. Meeting them in person can help you sense if they understand this and are the team to help.