More U.K. facilities managers seeing benefits of using FM software

by Shane Henson — April 3, 2013—While many facilities managers still rely on spreadsheets to stay on top of their projects and facilities’ needs, more are beginning to see the value in using specialized software to better manage their buildings, according to the results of the U.K.’s second FM Software Survey by Service Works Group (SWG), in association with the U.K.’s Facilities Management Association (FMA) and i-FM.

The results identify year-on-year changes in how FM software is used and reveal emerging trends such as the use of mobile technology in the workplace, says SWG. Almost three-quarters of respondents to the survey are end users (71%), just over a quarter are service providers (27%), and consultants account for around 1%. Respondents come from a broad range of organizations, including government (14%); information technology (10%); finance, insurance and law (9%); property (7%); and training, education, professional body (7%).

According to SWG, responses indicated a positive increase in those claiming that their FM software provides significant benefits, particularly cost savings, auditability and efficiency.

In regard to software choice, when asked which software provider/application they use, just under a fifth of respondents said QFM Software (from Service Works Group). Other software with significant presence included Concept (from FSI) at 15%; Maximo (from IBM) at 12% and CAFM Explorer (from FMx) at 9%. Reasons for selecting software included the reputation of the provider; the cost of the system; flexibility and ease of use; and compatibility and reliability.

In regard to the purpose and benefits of FM software, almost two thirds of respondents said they use their FM software for three main tasks: planned maintenance (73%), reactive maintenance (71%), and asset management (65%).

The survey also identifies how the budget for FM has changed within the past year, and the key reasons behind these changes. A third of survey participants said that their FM budget had fallen since the previous year (36%), with just 18% reporting an increase. Budget increases were largely accounted for by business growth (51%) and the “strategic direction” of the organization. Strategy accounted for 30% of those reporting lower budgets, and just under 40% said it was down to a straight budget cut, reports SWG.