By January 22, 2010 6 Comments Read More →

How To Sell a CAFM / CMMS / IWMS system – Focus on Information

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Getting 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).

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.

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6 Comments on "How To Sell a CAFM / CMMS / IWMS system – Focus on Information"

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  1. New initiatives for CAFM / IWMS / CMMS investments require an airtight business case to obtain approval and funding from the senior executive team today.

    TRIRIGA provides an on-demand webinar that will show you in a few straightforward steps how to build a compelling case for funding these systems targeted at senior executives.

    John Clark
    TRIRIGA Inc.

  2. Joe Valeri says:

    Excellent article.  We refer to this value as “data transparency” – the ability for senior management to have a transparent view of the locations/facilities, schedules, budgets and all issues impacting goals.  One of our experts has a BLOG on this subject at: for the great subject!Joe ValeriLucernex

  3. chris kluis says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    You cannot manage what you do not measure. It’s good to see the argument made about CMMS/EAM data’s ability to lower liability risk via timely and accurate reporting capabilities.

    I think its important to note that utilizing handhelds greatly increases the chance of adoption and increases the accuracy of the data via date and time stamping of work.

    Keep up the good work. Your readers may enjoy our blog on asset management and maintenance at

  4. Great article. It always amazes me how many FM’s I talk to who just need some basic info, for example: where are my vacant seats, and how many square feet is X department taking up? Ask 5 people and get 5 different responses, since they do not have up to date and live information readily available. How can you move forward and expect to raise the profile of FM if you don’t even have the basic information when management asks for it. Knowledge is power.David

  5. Dan Davies says:

    I’d like to throw someting into the pot.  Im from a background where I have seen well established FM contracts and departments using CAFM packages and implementing them to add value and efficiency .  However in each case the companies or organizations have been carrying out FM for some time or have a reasonable understanding of FM.  Im currently in an environment of a sizeable organization where there is very little in place.  Work is carried out in a reactive manner and he who is most senior or shouts loudest is attended to.  Whilst a CAFM solution would ideal there are many challenges,  quality and knowledge of the operatives, language bariers, no cost control or budgeting and little knowledge at management level.  What are the advised steps which can lead to the organization beinig ready for CAFM solutions.

    • Dan, it looks like your first challenge isn’t CAFM implementation, it’s a culture change and sales job at the highest levels. Without high level support, it looks like any CAFM or CMMS solution will fail.

      And based on what you’ve said, it looks like you need to educate people in your organization about CAFM/CMMS. Management needs to be given the knowledge about what it is, what it does and the benefits to them. I suspect your staff will also need the same kind of information.

      You need to develop strong information based on facts. Then craft your communications to influence the right people who will support you. Sometimes it’s best to start with the people in charge of the budget – Chief Financial Officer, for instance since they are most likely to make decisions based on data and facts than others may be, particularly if you can show that the current method is inefficient and costly. You may also find others who should be influenced first as part of your support base. Then, once you’ve built your support quietly, you can use them to influence others and you can start to formally propose your changes with the ones who can make the decision, with support from the ones you’ve already convinced.

      Not an easy process and you will really need to nail down your communications plan, business case and strategy before you start. It will be worthwhile, however, in the long run.

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