A month ago, we shared an article with the first key to a successful IWMS integration: having an internal champion.  This month we are thrilled to share with you part two of this 10-part series, appropriate IT collaboration.

Different Worlds Are Involved In an Integration

When an IWMS is being installed and integrated, several departments are involved within the company that is being integrated. The departments that are usually most closely associated with this are either Corporate Real Estate (CRE) and/or the Facilities Management Department (FM). Appropriate IT Collaboration requires that these internal departments communicate effectively with the IT Department.  When both departments
work together and understand one another, the IWMS runs optimally.

Ever since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which directs reporting accuracy,  IWMS integration has become an area of more importance than before.  This shift in importance on a corporate level has made IWMS a tier one software within many companies.  When a system becomes a tier 2 or tier one within a company, IT controls where it is installed and who has access to it.  In this case, IT will also control the tailoring and customization of the IWMS.

Challenges In Communication Between the IT World and the IWMS World

One of the most common scenarios that can create miscommunication within an IWMS implementation is the differing vocabulary that is used between departments. The vocabulary between the IT world and the IWMS world can cause confusion because they each have their own acronyms, vocabulary, and jargon. At times, this can feel like people from different countries using their respective native tongues to speak to each other; neither person will understand the other because of the language barrier. There must be at least one person that can speak both languages in order to facilitate the conversation and accomplish what both parties desire to accomplish. In this same way, communication between IT and IWMS worlds can be facilitated by someone who is familiar with both worlds and their respective jargon.

Aside from any “language” barriers, IT also has a rigid upgrade and tailoring process.  This process can often be viewed as slowing down an implementation, which is not the case.  IT’s attention to detail minimizes risk and protects the costs of IT support, unnecessary downtime, and the software.

While the process is time consuming, the protection it provides is irreplaceable and necessary. The best way to have a completely successful integration is to communicate effectively between all worlds so everyone can feel comfortable about the implementation.

Another common scenario is the conflict that can occur between departments’ goals. Many IT departments have their own “road map” in order to determine what types of technology they will and
will not support.  As with any business decision, they have a direction on which they will focus and methods with which they intend to support
their decision. IT’s goal in this is not to be difficult or make an
integration more complicated.  They are simply trying to protect their
road map and provide a cost effective IT environment, just as any good
Cost Center would. From the moment the roadmap is created and onwards, someone must ensure the IWMS fits into and can be supported by IT’s road map, or that the IWMS is supported by the 3rd party vendor.

What Does Appropriate IT Collaboration Look Like?

In order to communicate effectively between different worlds, or departments, we suggest having an internal staff member work as a middle man. This person can be your assigned Internal Champion, a business analyst, or anyone who is able to breach the gap in communication between the two worlds. Putting a team member in place that can do this is one of the essential steps to ensuring that your IWMS is integrated smoothly and can accomplish everything that it was put in place to accomplish. In addition to this, communication will be more effective and completing tasks will be more efficient.

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