Initial configuration costs may vary from £100s to £10,000s
Complex installations can take months to complete
But they may offer little in the way of flexibility for your individual needs
- System setup
- Data migration
- What are the integration costs for 3rd party systems
- Is this a fixed fee?
- Will this include a discovery to ensure all requirements are explored and covered?
- How many training sessions will this include?
- How long will you have access to the vendors project / mobilisation team?
Basic entry level packages start at £100 per month but can rise to £1000s
Costs can quickly increase if you add new team members, sites or new suppliers
- Access for all your users
- Standard support package
- Platform updates and bug fixes
- Does this cover you for new platform releases and support?
- How often are releases?
- Are you limited to the number of users, properties or contractors you can create?
- Are there hidden charges or access to modules not included?
- Does this include reporting tools?
- What are the costs for additional licenses? Is this a tiered pricing model?
- Does this include data storage? If so, how much?
Free account management support may be restricted to a number of hours per month
‘DIY platforms’ may offer little or no AM support
- 24/7 critical support •
- X amount of hours per month •
- Used for general support, consultancy, guidance and training
- Do hours roll over?
- Are there additional charges when support is exceeded?
- What are the service level agreements for requests?
- Does the support include phone as well as email support?
- How long is the support contract?
- Are there additional tiers or levels of support to consider?
Extra support beyond initial configuration and standard AM is likely to cost you
Check a supplier can offer help with bespoke configuration tasks
- Bespoke arrangement, driven by the client •
- Examples include bespoke reporting, data management and integration support
- What’s the minimum term or commitment for these services?
- How long are you locked in for?
- Are the day rates cheaper for longer term commitment?
Costs are often advertised as a monthly or annual license fee, which usually include a certain number of ‘seats’. But most operators will charge a set up cost to configure the system before you can start using it.
After that, as with most SaaS, hidden charges can often make reasonable sounding deals escalate quickly in price. Understanding the cost structure up front and what level of support ‘comes as standard’ will prevent any misunderstandings.
We recommend you choose a partner who can flex with you during times of need. In order to realise the true ROI of the platform, reap the full benefit and keep up momentum - choose a partner with not only a great product, but people you can work with and act as an extension to your team.
Find the right cultural fit
Above all, you need to know how the partner you choose will cluster around you to solve the challenges that you are facing now - and those you’ll need to address in the future.
Some companies may want to choose a more heavy weight supplier with a mature product because it feels like you’re buying the ‘best in breed’, or, at least, a stable and tested solution.
However, there is a danger that these vendors won’t be able to offer you the flexibility you need as you address your specific challenges - and you’ll simply ‘get lost’ among their client list.
If you’re looking to work closely with a supplier to optimise your approach, you may wish to select an agile partner who can be more consultative and collaborative as your needs evolve.
Understand their road map
Whichever way you go, you should be looking for a reliable and experienced guide to take you on your journey.
• Can you see evidence that the vendor is committed to a programme of continuous improvement and innovation?
• Will advances in AI and its potential for delivering better, more predictive FM be in the mix?
• Do you have the confidence that as your demands increase, the system can change and scale up with you? Will your partner take into account your feedback and feature requests?
What are the vendor’s credentials?
A brief internet search will tell you there are over 200 FM software solutions of all shapes and sizes being sold on the market today.
What makes one vendor more credible than another?
Look at the composition of the team. Has the solution been created by FM professionals?
Do they have specific experience of working in the FM world as well as excellent software development credentials?
How many years’ experience does the company have in the business? How many customers do they have and what’s their retention rate?
What’s their story and their beliefs about the market that makes them unique and drives their development road map.
Who are their customers?
It’s important to see how their software is currently being used in the real world. Who are the existing customers and what sectors are they in?
Are they dealing with the same challenges as you and achieving proven success with the software? What are the lessons of their implementation that you can learn from them?
Testimonials should be available. If you can, try and arrange to actually talk to their clients about their experience of working with them.