When It Comes to Facilities Management, a Shared Strategy is the Best Option

November 04, 2016  •  Jamie Gregory


In just the last few years, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have come to play a vital role in an organization’s ability to track work orders, gather data on the condition and repair of equipment, maintain equipment maintenance schedules, and monitor energy efficiency. The ability of the CMMS to integrate with other business software and share its data throughout an organization has emerged as one of the highest priorities. There are several reasons why shared data has become so important:

  • There are commonalities among departments so there are overlaps. All data rolls up to the budget, for example. Shared data makes it easier to run reports and track budget usage, as well as determine future budgetary needs based on past performance.
  • Many employees need to interact with more than one department. If you have a computer problem you need to inform IT; for an equipment repair you need maintenance.
  • Enhanced data sharing helps already overworked departments eliminate the need to enter essential data more than once.

Why it's best to have one system

Many companies, however, have come to realize it is more cost-effective to have only one system throughout the organization, rather than a separate system for every department. But trying to apply a common system throughout an organization can be challenging.

In the early days of FMX, our software was set up so that every employee could see everything; every maintenance and IT request, all the work details and maintenance schedules. We quickly found that we needed to move away from that. A maintenance worker doesn’t care whether an employee’s computer is down; he just wants to know if a light bulb needs changing or a piece of equipment needs to be repaired. We adopted a ‘need to know’ approach and developed a modular system so that each department could have access to the data – and only the data – essential to their jobs.

At the same time, we realized that each department within an organization has its own unique requirements. Thus, our modules can be customized with special functions tailored to the needs of each department. So even though different modules with different views and preferences are established, they are all still part of the same CMMS system.

Think of it like this: You have a car with automatic seats that employs a different setting for each driver. When you get in, you push a button and the seat adjusts to accommodate you. When other drivers use the car, the settings change to suit them. You are using the same car, only the settings are different. That’s how a modular system works.

How to maintain security with shared data

With shared data, the question of security is, of course, important. Many organizations are concerned about the problems that might occur if sensitive data ends up in the wrong hands. A CMMS system that is web-based, like FMX, may cause particular concern because information is gathered, stored and accessed in the cloud.

The first thing we do with a new client is determine who is going to be accessing the system and what their responsibilities are. We then use our ‘user type editor’ to define what actions are allowed by users of each type. Next, we establish roles for each user, which determines the information he/she can access. For example, you may want an “FMX Administrator” to read every maintenance request that has been created, but you may want an office worker to only be able to read the maintenance requests that he/she has created. By defining user types and roles, we make sure that data is accessed and used responsibly.

Increasingly, the CMMS of today must be able to efficiently and effectively gather, sort, store and report data. While some organizations select a system that can be used in conjunction with the software they have in place in the individual departments, we think that one CMMS system, employed company-wide, is the best option. A system like FMX, with its customizable modules and assigned user types and roles, ensures that employees have access to the data they need to do their jobs, yet does not overload them with information they don’t need. It also eases the burden of often over-worked managers, giving them the tools they need to handle resources and equipment easily and cost effectively.


FMX team member Brian Gregory bio picture 1

Brian Gregory 
FMX, President & Founder

Source: Dan Hounsell, FacilitiesNet website, “Software That Shares” http://www.facilitiesnet.com/software/article/Software-That-Shares--1878#

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