2014-02-19

Stepping into the new FM role

Coming in to a new facility, there were a few major adjustments for me to make, but still plenty of parallels to my prior experience.

Hardware and IT
When working in Facilities Engineering, I was in charge of all of the large-scale reprographics equipment (plotters, copiers and scanners), as well as a handful of workstations. My current company does not do full scale plans and doesn't have a plotter. FINALLY! The paperless office I have always dreamed of! 
I will miss the hardware maintenance, though...  those were the rare times I got to work with my hands.
And, the locked down approach of our IT department (due to the nature of the company's work) is a bit of a challenge. My access was initially strict at the hospital, until IT saw I had no access to medical data and acknowledged that they could not support my software (AutoCAD MEP, Revit MEP, scanning plug-ins, etc), and was granted more control of my machines.
Of course, as my new system, Archibus, is hosted by a third party, I remote into an external machine and have as much access as I need to in order to complete my work.

Getting to know you
Our CAFM consultant, Talisen Technologies, had conducted interviews with the facilities staff in the past, giving me a quick understanding of my users and how they interact with and utilize Archibus. I have since spent time observing them and expanding those notes. 
I have a great respect for the challenging work that this staff does and am happy to get them past any software roadblocks that crop up.
The facilities staff is located together, so we can talk over the walls or peek at screens as needed. The other users of the system are split a bit further. We have a handful of buildings using work orders, maintenance, security features right now, but, soon, we'll also have hundreds of branch offices added as well (I'll post about that separately later).

In the hospital, we had to know our new or ancient structures and their systems intimately and perform analysis of them. My current company leases most of its space, with the long-term details being neither as vital nor complex. 

I have long been a proponent of BIM in FM, but, I am realistic enough to acknowledge that it is not necessary for my current situation.

System Upgrade
The tech support I have done in the past really comes in really handy. One has to be respectfully responsive (and occasionally thick-skinned) when a system upgrade goes through, especially if it experiences a couple of hiccups. Some people just don't like change. As mentioned in my last post, those who input work orders into our CMMS are the most important folks in the company, because they keep all of the cogs in the machine moving, so, when I inhibit their work, I have to get it fixed fast.

We upgraded recently from Archibus 18 to 21. Once they got used to the new look the users are appreciating the improvements (though they're still resisting the idea of having to clear a filter in a field ~shrugs~).

Unlike my forays into FMDesktop and Maximo, there is not really any standards definition or classification that needs to be done on a large scale. All of the employee and space standards have been set up and operating smoothly for many years (very vital first step in any CAFM/CMMS implementation).

So why do they need me?
If my company has a great consultant, power users and an established adoption, why do they need an in-house system admin?

The VP of Facilities explained to me that she knows all facilities, even her own, do not make full use of the potential of Archibus. My experience speaking with so many other FM folks over the years has been the same. They get up and running but stall before rolling out all of their potential expansions.

Also, the power users within the company have very important jobs to do. The AEC industry recognizes that pairing CAD/BIM Managment roles with production poses many challenges and it is better to have a single person completely focused on support... same thing here.

I can be constantly present to gain inspiration for streamlining processes or improving features because I sit with my (heaviest) users every day.
I can also handle any random support issues that crop up, from password resets and training to reporting tweaks.
I can also drive forward and support the change our leadership team wants. Without splitting my focus onto other facilities tasks, I can hone my expertise and ensure our system is modern, functional and applicable to our business needs.

It is fantastic that the owner of my company, and his leadership team, give a lot of thought to their facilities. We've got backing to move forward, and that is priceless. (We're also highly visible and not stuck in a basement somewhere. ~coff~)

Want to talk more FM?

There is an "FM Community" on AUGI, with a discussion forum, so, feel free to visit, suggest additional resources for the links pages or talk about the software you use for your business type. This user group is about us sharing with, and helping, each other.

http:www.augi.com/communities/facility-management-community


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