Whether facilities teams are responsible for managing ten locations or thousands, they sometimes can face issues with getting their entire organization onboard and fully engaged with their new service automation software platform.
Like any new technology, to take full advantage of all the benefits available can require some amount of process and/or behavior change. Even if existing processes are highly inefficient and current behavior often proves costly, the simple fact of having to change can lead to pushback, whether intended or not.
What are some of the problems we’ve seen customers struggle with to get everyone fully engaged with a facilities software rollout?
It obviously varies from organization to organization, but there are certainly commonalities we’ve seen. For example, sometimes location-based staff that haven’t learned yet of all the benefits available to them from a new technology-based facilities program can require special attention so they get up to speed regarding how it can help them.
When everyone in an organization’s not fully educated, trained and on board, this can lead to:
- Service providers and contractors not being clear on expectations and thus not meeting new procedures or required SLA metrics
- Service requests not being dispatched properly (or even too many ‘simple’ requests being dispatched to costly external providers)
- Invoices going in multiple directions (i.e., sent improperly or to the wrong recipients, causing delay and wasted time in processing and payment)
- Incomplete operational visibility and data
- Negative impact on customer experience
As we’ve occasionally seen issues like this occur the last couple of years with supermarket/grocery and restaurant customers, as well as those in other sectors, we thought it’d be beneficial for the ServiceChannel Implementation Services team, based on our experience, to share the advice we offer to our customers we work with when either this happens or there’s the risk of it happening.
What to Do Once You ‘Go Live’
Here are a 13 best practices and tips we give to customers to ensure success in their first 30-60 days once the software’s been deployed and it’s “live."
While our focus is on facilities management software, these ideas could prove useful when deploying any new system or technology that requires ‘buy in’ across an organization.
- Try to get ahead of a new deployment by setting the tone early that use of the new platform is a non-negotiable expectation. It’s much easier to enforce usage if any potential pushback is brought to light before going live. But if that ship has sailed, see below...
- Find out the reason for any non-compliance. Give the on-site managers a voice. Sometimes they raise legitimate concerns, and addressing them will not only increase usage, but will make the program more effective for everyone.
- Speak to on-site managers individually. If they all get in a room together, sometimes an unproductive ‘group think’ can start to emerge and/or focus can migrate to other unrelated issues/problems.
- Be clear that the new technology platform is here to stay. If colleagues pick up on the scent of hesitation, then they may try to wait it out rather than adopt.
- Look for trends. Is the non-engagement typically focused on a particular geography? (Maybe a Regional or District Manager did not communicate properly) Particular trade? (Maybe the Issue List needs refinement).
- Get a pulse on the contractors and service providers. Sometimes, negative attitudes are transmitted in conversations, especially for long-standing relationships. If the contractors push to stick with their prior old, familiar methods, managers might feel pressure to appease them.
- Assess corporate expectations regarding time allocation. If managers are already crunched for time and now have a learning curve for something new, they are going to lean toward "just getting the job done" - even if that is outside the system. It could be they need some leeway in other areas (e.g., for the next two months, invoices may be reviewed in 30 days instead of 20).
- Watch. Actually visit a few stores/locations, and see where pain points or challenges, if any, are encountered as managers go through new processes.
- Learn from your organization’s early adopters. Speak with people who are using the system, and ask what helped them get on board, any tips they have, any trouble they encountered and how they overcame it, etc.
- Highlight early adopters. Quote them in company newsletters, have them speak at meetings, and do anything else you can to show others that their peers are being successful with the new technology.
- Demonstrate how the program did (or is expected to) benefit the location managers and staff. They need to buy into the idea that the new system will really help them and their own (and their team’s) performance, and that it's not just a favor they're doing for corporate. (How, specifically, can managers see more efficiency and effectiveness? There could be a report that provides specific data identifying issues they can get ahead of; managers may now have more authority than previously; or there’s likely a positive change that was made based on review of data collected.)
- See what’s actually happening. Use the age old mantra of "inspect what you expect" to use user login reports from Analytics and see who’s actually using the system regularly and who’s not, so management can hold the field accountable for accessing the new system, especially in the beginning. This helps ensure that everyone’s building the habit to use the software platform for their daily operations.
- Ensure that the Facilities team partners with Operations and Accounting and receives backing from them in the following ways:
- Operations: This group plays such a big part in GM's lives, sometimes even more than Facilities. So if Operations is a positive force, and they are repeating the need for everyone to use the new system, you’re likely to get more engagement.
- Accounting: Everyone knows, it always go back to the money! If Accounting speaks with Operations and says, "if the invoice does not come from the new system, we are not processing it…” - rest assured, everyone will get on the new system!
With any new technology, even once deployed, it sometimes can take some ‘people skills’ and a little extra hand-holding to get everyone fully involved and fully invested in its success. We’ve never seen a case where it’s not worth it! The key is to demonstrate the value that everyone gets and how the new functionality helps them directly, particularly in the critical early days to build momentum and ensure a successful rollout.
Learn more about implementing facilities management software and training your team successfully.