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.


A different type of FM

I left my previous facility last fall and began my new job. Switching roles from an Engineering CAD Manager at a 100 year old medical facility to an Archibus System Administrator for the Facilities department at a financial services company has been a *slight* change.

I do not have to deal with the ineffectual process of design data exchange at the beginning and end of construction projects, BUT, I do have to deal with keeping important people up and running in their day to day roles.

I am not on call 24 hours a day anymore, but, my users do have project and report deadlines that my software enables them to meet.

My users include a specialist who organizes the moves of every employee, from office staff to executive financiers... and lease specialists who manage the details of over 500 branches... to the VP who ensures all growing departments have the space they need to function... a maintenance manager whose staff deals with the facilities issues that could stop work for entire divisions... and the security staff who keeps us both locked down and connected. 

Administrative staff enter work orders for the divisions around them, and, let's face it, they are the only ones who know everything that is going on around them.

I have had some great coworkers take the time to explain to me the company's (and industry's) processes and procedures. And I am dedicated to the ideal of making my software (CAFM/CMMS for space, lease and work order management) as transparent to my 140+ users as possible. 
They have many better things to do than figure out how to navigate and manipulate such a data-intensive environment.


I miss Engineering

I do miss Engineering.

I passed by my old medical campus today, taking my oldest son to get some stitches removed (it was icy runoff in the road, he's fine). He was asking me about the demolition taking place, and the buildings on the campus. I spun "fascinating" tales about the systems and equipment and buildings and realize how much I miss the trouble-shooting and intricacy of the systems we worked with at the hospital. I do also miss my mentor, Jim. He was the mechanical engineer with whom I worked most closely. 
He'd throw out relevant information and I'd flip (or click) through all of the applicable plans rapidly, until I detected the information he was seeking.

The combinations of buildings and their subsequent renovation projects means that a lot of research goes into any fix for an MEPFP problem.

I had to be adept at organizing and drawing information from hundreds of CAD projects and dozens of BIM submittals (don't get me started on the paper archives dating back over 100 years). 
I had many internal users to supply information to (see article, What Do Owners Want With BIM?), and countless architects, engineers, contractors and subs to supply existing conditions documentation to.

Archiving projects, then migrating the pertinent comments to a set of "working" or "existing conditions" documents was always a challenge, especially when the project management team (for new construction and renovations) does not pay attention to the electronic submittal/close out portion of their projects. They have many demands upon their attention, which is why the responsible party on the Facilities side *must* be a vocal advocate for mindfulness in this area.

The takeaway? Always talk to ALL stakeholders and ask why they need what they're asking for... don't make assumptions and blow off stated or implied expectations.