Over the last two decades, Computer-Aided Facility Management, also known as CAFM, technology has certainly seen many changes. Despite its evolution, its primary function remains to help plan the operations and management of buildings and facilities.
CAFM is also referred to as ‘facility management software,’ ‘facilities management systems’ or more recently ‘integrated workplace management.’ Either way, the purpose of the tool hasn’t changed. What has developed over the years is the responsibility of the facility management profession. Buildings grow, sites grow and with that, there is a rising cost of assets, maintenance and time. Twenty years ago, tasks were allocated by paper, asset management was a paper-based checklist and filing cabinets grew bigger. However, emerging technologies began to allow some of these processes transfer to computer-based systems.
The history of CAFM
CAFM systems can be traced back to the 1960s when space forecasting applications began being run on computers. As computers became more advanced in the 70s and 80s, the system started to incorporate more functionality such as asset and maintenance management.
Now CAFM systems can include an array of modules including task management, document management, facility assessments and compliance.
Although it started as web-based, CAFM applications are now becoming either a mix of being web-based and cloud-based or fully cloud-based. CAFM software itself has become an ever-growing technology.
The growth of facilities management
The technology has had to grow and adapt to meet the growing responsibilities of facilities operations. Facilities managers require access to more information to make better-informed decisions. These decisions then impact on the costs of reactive maintenance as they can become more proactive in extending the lifecycle of assets.
As a profession, facilities management has gone from performing and managing maintenance on one or two buildings, to overseeing the operations of large building portfolios. A prime example being that of the NHS, whereby you would just have the one hospital, you now have Hospitals merging to create Trusts. This provides a share of resources and in these circumstances, the CAFM software needs to meet the requirements of each site.
Facilities managers now oversee reception desks, catering, cleaning, security, heating, grounds maintenance, repairs and more. Their role is to ensure the environments of their employers is safe, secure and operates smoothly and efficiently. One challenge they face though is being aware of, and ensuring their process are up to date with, legislative changes to the job well. Compliance is also a growing priority.
How to choose a CAFM system
There are many different CAFM systems out there, what once was a niche community of suppliers has certainly grown. This is due to providers recognising that they need to expand and develop their portfolio to meet the needs of facilities managers in today’s environment.
Each progression in CAFM software brings flexibility and a more customer-orientated approach towards service delivery. And although the CAFM market is growing, choosing the right provider comes down to the needs of your business.
Now comes the sales pitch!
Since 1995, Asckey has been supporting and developing CAFM systems. From supporting and upgrading the WIMS task management system within the NHS to developing our own fmfirst® Estates CAFM software. We’ve been there growing our software to support the growing responsibilities of facilities managers.
Now, most facilities managers will already be using some form of CAFM software. However, it may not be supporting your business needs as much as it could do.
Information is the heart of CAFM. Asckey’s internally developed CAFM software solution, fmfirst® Estates, has a data-centric approach helping facilities managers with data-driven decision-making. The feedback from our clients is that this approach helps to improve each element of their business.
fmfirst® Estates’ intuitive system design and functionality simplify user operation. The core of the application is the Task Management module strongly supported by the Asset Management module.
The Task Management module responds to the Help Desk / Service Portal and is used by trade staff and managers in the day-to-day management of task activity. The Asset Management module has powerful, user-friendly functionality. It closely monitors all relevant technical administrative and financial information including location and maintenance details for all site assets. These are just two of the various modules within fmfirst® Estates. Further details about our software can be found on the datasheet.
Asckey appreciates that moving to a new CAFM system can be a complex and tiring process. We are passionate about helping our clients make that transition as swift and as easy as possible. This is why we also provide a Free of Charge system review to help you assess your existing and future requirements.
fmfirst® Estates could be the CAFM system you never knew you needed. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more.