What Facility Managers Can Learn About Request Management from IT
The worlds of IT and facilities management share an emphasis on effective processes, use of technology and handling numerous requests. Although the two fields differ in the services they provide, many aspects of IT can help facility managers better handle and manage the requests that come their way. Here are five IT practices that facility managers can learn to improve their own request management systems.
Specialized tools simplify the process
There are many popular IT ticketing systems like JIRA and Freshdesk. Using software that is designed to handle requests is a staple of IT, which facility managers can incorporate to decrease the amount of manual work and reduce the risk of human error. These tools allow you to base your request system on a more technical foundation and can help keep a sense of consistency for both your team and those who've submitted requests.
A single gatekeeper maintains consistency
Having a single channel for all facility requests may seem like a daunting task, but it comes with many benefits. A single point of contact allows teams to get a better sense of all pending requests and to prioritize them accordingly. IT gatekeepers typically assess an incoming request and then link them to a specific technician or service based on the type of issue and the internal resources available. This can help reduce strain on limited resources and lower the number of potential conflicts between different service providers.
Integrated teams keep requests organized
A key issue in request management is the need to coherently organize and integrate multiple services. Teams that provide different services within an organization may share crucial resources but lack an established communication system—and this can lead to a sense of chaos when trying to coordinate a service for a request.
Facility managers can avoid chaos by establishing a standard communication protocol with different teams who handle different requests, such as room requests, equipment requests and facility-specific suggestions.
Teams who have a clear understanding of how their services interact with each other and keep each other up-to date will find their work becoming a clearer process overall.
Feedback improves the process
IT systems often employ automated emails that are linked to the completion of a specific task completed by a technician. This works best when there's a clear workflow that outlines events like the creation and resolution of a ticket as well as transfers to different service teams.
Facility managers can develop their systems to match key points in their office's request process, which allows requesters to provide feedback as well.
Requesters will also learn to make more effective requests and avoid conflicts between your team and them.
Relevant metrics show what areas need improvement
IT management software often tracks performance information and other important metrics. Tracking this data can help you find areas in your request management system that need improvement. Before monitoring metrics, determine which ones are relevant to your needs, such as number of new tickets, what times of the month are requests normally submitted and how many requests are fulfilled in a week.
Analyzing relevant data will help you see, for example, if you're receiving more requests than you're able to address.
IT request management is an established field with heavy research and industry insights built into it. Not all IT practices can be applied to facilities management, but many principals like user feedback and emphasis on technical processes can help facility managers shape more effective request management systems for their own offices.