2006-11-30

AU2006 Keys to Successful CAFM Implementation

Alright, Brian Haines made a crack at the end of the class, asking if I could have my notes posted before the show tonight, and I don't think he believes that I can, so here I am...

The title of this post is the name of a class/panel discussion I had the honor of attending. There were no handouts, so I took copius notes, as I knew the panel members (and some members of the audience) had VALUABLE information to share... the panelists were:

Denise Cahill from Cahill & Co.
Shaun Bryant from CAD/FM Consultants Ltd
Aaron Bukowitz from Avatech
Matt Davoren from CADD Microsystems
David Jordani from Jordani Consulting Group
and was mediated by Mark Evans from Autodesk BSD

(thanks for humoring my blogging and posing for this photo, panelists!)

Mark introduced the panelists and gave some background for each of them. They are very experienced; ranging from large to small projects.

The audience was a mix of backgrounds (space planners, engineers, in house facilities and software developers/service providers) and experiences (for-profit, institutions/not for profit, educational and government).

The first question was a good one... each panelist was asked to give their top two items, the two things they believe played vital parts in successful implementations. I've got 6 items here instead of 10 because everyone agreed on the same subjects.

1. Buy-in from all players (at least those who could affect things)
2. Breaking down/phasing implementation to manageable bites so you're not overwhelmed
3. Consistency (having trustworthy information)
4. Education and Training
5. Have goals and objectives laid out up front to prevent rework or unneccessary efforts
6. Resources (I believe this meant competent people in-house who could keep things going)

"software, implementation, upkeep" <- key points

I haven't credited the originators of the previous or following answers and I apologize, but, things moved fast enough that would have been difficult to keep up with the conversation, and I had a really small piece of paper on which to take notes.

Some bulletpoints:

First Step is defining your final needs
New technologies are a mental catalyst for employees
You don't know what you don't know (see previous statement)
Manage expectations to avoid unreasonable disappointments
Make the CAFM System central to your processes to avoid forgetting about it or taking it for granted
Add 'Data Management' (upkeep) to someone's job description
The software is only 20% of the success factor, the rest is processes and implementers
Keep up with training
There needs to be someone in-house with the skillset to manage the system and take personal responsibility/ownership once it is set up
Quantify the benefits (roi? continuing justification for participation/compliance?)

CAFM is undergoing a change in awareness these days. People are realizing how important proper management of an operating facility is. Years ago, noone talked about CAD Standards... it wasn't needed, files weren't being shared, consistency/continuity worked differently before.

Some steps to implementation:
Discovery/data gathering/cleanup/a pilot/implementation/training/turnover

How long might discovery take? A couple/few weeks to go onsite and interview/assess resources, hammer down goals/expectations/deliver proposal

Ah, yes... there were two perspectives present at the talk...
the CAFM consultants... referring to the deep and mysterious processes of implementation... and the 'starry-eyed technologist point of view' (Steve Segarra's words, but, I liked them) that sees nothing but good things with the current resources.

The most important thing is to discuss things with your peers... your questions are not going to be unique, don't reinvent the wheel.

This year at AU, there were 11 FM specific courses with a 71% signup increase over last year. More than 500 individuals registered for the various courses (which I'll speak more about when I've got more time to write).

I've heard through the grapevine ~shifty eyes~ that if there are enough good course proposals, that next year there could be a full Facilities Management Track (16 courses). I've got my fingers crossed.

There ya go, Brian, that's what you get for challenging me. ;)

Edit: I have edited this post since I got home, adding the photo the panelists were kind enough to pose for prior to the class session, as well as hyperlinks to assist readers in finding out more about the consultants who shared the preceding information.

I really did enjoy the company of all of the FM people that I met throughout the week. Not only were they experienced and brilliant, but, they were also all really nice. I'm still young, I'm always curious, and I'm sure I ask stupid questions sometimes, but, someone (whether Autodesk employee or fellow FM'ers), was always kind enough to share their thoughts with me. I also note that we just had A LOT of fun throughout the week. We're all excited about what we do and where we see our industry going, and it's fantastic to get a chance to hang out with like-minded individuals.

My public thanks to everyone I met this past week, you made my Autodesk University experience this year SO valuable and personally enjoyable.
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