Why IT Ticketing Systems Aren't the Right Tool for FM Requests
An IT ticketing system takes request information from a user, and turns it into a ticket that's assigned to an agent, who resolves the ticket when the request is complete. At a glance, an IT ticketing system seems like a great tool for facility managers to use in their own request systems. But while some IT request management practices can help facility managers refine their own processes, facility requests differ greatly from IT requests.
Understanding the following key differences between the two will help clarify why an IT system may not be the best option for handling FM requests.
Facilities management predominantly deals with physical changes in space—restructured office layouts for different work needs, equipment that may need to be moved to different areas, as well as adjustments in lighting and HVAC systems.
Handling facility requests involves tracking inventory, locating request agents and considering a request's impact on your facility's space.
But IT systems don't account for these nuances; they occasionally monitor physical assets, but only with regards to computer hardware. Facility managers will need a sophisticated tool that considers overall spatial requirements and a diverse set of assets.
Understanding a facility request will often require visual information like floor plans or HVAC blueprints. IT systems use graphs and charts for reports and workflow management, but they don't account for the type of visual data needed to fulfill facility-specific requests. FM tools for request management should provide configurable features that visualize your facility's space, allowing you to work with more clarity.
A portion of facility requests might require the involvement of external contractors. This could be the case for major moves, upgrades to facility infrastructure or specific equipment purchases.
IT systems are designed with internal agents in mind, who are usually directly in control of fulfilling requests and finding solutions. Facility managers often have to fulfill these requests by separate communication to external firms and groups.
Too many unnecessary features
IT can require several different software programs to fulfill a request, such as diagnostic tools, remote desktops and integrations with online apps or features that allow dev teams to work more efficiently with IT teams. It also might involve intensive work like setting up firewalls or servers, and these tasks will be matched by integrations that are relevant to IT departments but unnecessary for facility managers. What you're left with is a ticketing system that comes with features that are of no value, creating bloat in your software.
Differences in priorities
While IT managers and facility managers both rely heavily on technology to solve their problems, they each have different priorities. IT managers deal with requests surrounding network infrastructure as well as software and computer hardware assets. As a result, IT systems are designed to accommodate these needs.
For facility managers, their priorities concern the entirety of the building such as fire safety and security systems. These types of requests require constant attention because a single request impacts the entire workplace.
Though IT ticketing systems will provide you with the basic function of gathering requests from users, they won't be optimized for the specific problems and requests that facility managers handle on a daily basis.
When considering a request management system, facility managers should take note that IT ticketing systems are optimized for one specific industry, which means facility needs like physical space and external contractor relationships will be overlooked. FMs should turn to a specialized request management system that carries a lean but relevant set of features built specifically for office concerns.