By Facilities Expert Corey Losinski
Organizations across the globe have long struggled with cross-functional alignment, with the relationship between Facilities and IT teams among the most common cases of internal silos. Yet as businesses increasingly introduce digital technology innovations and look to replace homegrown legacy systems with cloud-based cross-functional platforms, it’s critical that these teams finally break the long-standing structural and behavioral barriers that separate them.
As our client Jeff MacKay, Senior Director of Corporate Real Estate, Vertex (and ServiceNow IT Service Management user) recently shared, “You don’t want to bring a broken process into a brand new system.”
There are a number of business critical functions that rely heavily on both IT and Facilities teams. These include:
1. Onboarding and Offboarding: When onboarding new employees, IT will activate network jacks, setup and deliver computers, and issue mobile phones and ID badges while Facilities will make sure the physical desk space is setup, clean and ready. When offboarding employees, IT deactivates network jacks and collects computers, mobile phones and ID badges. Facilities delivers boxes for the person leaving and cleans the space once they’re gone.
2. Relocations and New Buildings: Successfully relocating staff and opening new company buildings is a heavy lift for both IT and Facilities teams. Facilities will manage the relocation of the physical assets—phones, computers, mobile phones, desk chairs—while IT will typically activate and deactivate network jacks and setup computers.
3. Asset Management and Event Tracking: Both Facilities and IT teams are responsible for managing and tracking the critical assets that keep a company up-and-running, including telecom, mobile devices, network jacks, computers, printers and IoT assets (any piece of equipment that has a sensor on it with an IP address). More often than not, there’s overlap among these assets. For example, a bathroom door has hardware that belongs to Lock + Key, a door and frame that belongs to Carpentry and an IoT sensor with an IP address that belongs to IT.
4. Data Management: In order to make smart, strategic decisions for their respective functions, IT and Facilities teams track and manage much of the same data—from space usage toincidence reports.
5. Account Provisioning: Both IT and Facilities teams are responsible for creating accounts for enterprise-wide applications including Active Directory, HR, time keeping and more.
6. Call Centers and Dispatch: While Facilities and IT teams tend to operate separate call centers and dispatch, the issues employees are looking to resolve often include the support of both teams—from broken bathrooms to computer malfunctions.
In addition to function overlaps, Facilities and IT also share vendors and internal resources, from mobile phone companies and network providers to jack and moving teams.
With so much shared ground, where does the disconnect between IT and Facilities stem from?
1. IT and Facilities tend to speak different languages. Because of each function’s focus on their own customers and priorities, IT teams don’t always have a full understanding of what Facilities Managers do on a day-to-day basis—and vice versa. Because of this, there’s often a disconnect in IT ticketing systems and Facilities work order processes—even in instances when both teams need to work together to solve the customer issue.
2. They’ve created separate customer experiences (CX). Facilities has traditionally been underserved with technology, and IT has traditionally been overwhelmed with the number of functions they need to support from a technology perspective. Because of this, both functions have created distinct customer experiences and workflows, only widening the gap between functions.
3. There hasn’t been an easy solution to streamline their workflows. The bottom line is: If there isn’t an easy, intuitive way to streamline their distinct workflows, no one is going to invest time or resources into doing it.
In Part Two of our Tearing Down the Walls Between Facilities and IT series, we’ll share five tips to break down the silos between Facilities and IT, as well as offer a solution to streamlining—and simplifying—those workflows.
In the meantime, check out our recent video with Jeff MacKay, Senior Director of Corporate Real Estate, Vertex. In it, he talks about his organization’s struggle with “silo-mentality” and how transitioning from a homegrown CMMS platform to Nuvolo created a more transparent work environment, a greater understanding of how resources were being allocated and improved workflow between teams here.