Top 4 Challenges that Universities face with Facilities Service Requests

Randy Walsh

Randy Walsh

While virtually every organization in every industry that owns and operates facilities has the common need for their facilities management software solutions to provide a work request capability, institutions of higher education have numerous unique  challenges compared to the needs of commercial / private sector entities for their  facilities  maintenance software. I am going to layout 4 key challenges that a college or university faces that require their facilities software solution to take into consideration and address when allowing for the campus to request facilities services. 

Challenge 1: Diverse Population 

A college or university has a diverse population that occupies their buildings, it is not just staff or employees, the largest population is the body of students that it is the university’s mission to train and educate in an environment that facilitates learning.  The impact on the facilities maintenance software is that it needs to provide the ability to allow for intake and collaboration on work requests with both the staff/employee population as well as the students that occupying classrooms as well as potentially residents on campus.   

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Challenge 2: Generational 

At a university the campus student population group is typically composed of 18 to 23 year-old undergraduates as well as much of the staff and educators are recent graduates just a few years older. The challenge is that this group is a heavy user of technology, in particular mobile technology, they grew up with ads from Apple that “There’s An App for That”.  The result is that the best facilities maintenance software is going to have to provide an app for the students and staff to make a request for their classroom or dorm room.  

Challenge 3: Scope

Lest we not forget that the population of many colleges and universities are in the tens of thousands on daily basis and occupy millions of square footages of area, eclipsing many of the world’s largest corporation.  Which means that the facilities management software is going to need to be intuitive, because it will be impossible and impractical to do one-on-one training.  The best facilities maintenance software solutions are going to allow the user to self-guide themselves through the process of making a request, their expectation is that no one taught them how to use Amazon to buy something but today virtually everyone does a significant portion of their online buying with Amazon. 

Challenge 4: Your Workforce 

Most colleges and universities in North America utilize a large in-house workforce of skilled trades employees to fix and maintain the owned building, equipment and furnishings that will be using a facilities maintenance software solution to receive and process work.  This workforce has deal with the intake of request from the campus, which means getting the request assigned to the correct team and team member and done in a timely fashion. All of this this exacerbated by challenge 3 (scope), this isn’t just one building, it is tens to hundreds of buildings that are managed. 

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Solution: Campus Facing Facilities Portal 

The best facilities maintenance software will offer a customer facing portal that will allow the student to make a request from their Apple or Android mobile device just as easily as an staff member or professor can from the laptop/desktop computer, essentially a website that utilizes “responsive design”. This portal will also allow for communication and status updates and the user's requested jobs to keeping them up to date an informed. This customer portal will also allow for workflow of request approval and automate the assignment of the tasks to the facilities organization.

To meet these challenges and provide the best in class solution for meeting the needs of the campus community, AssetWorks offers ReADY Request. With ReADY Request, you can connect the entire campus community to your operation within a single, unified platform that reduces manual data entry, transfer errors, and technology issues associated with custom and third-party applications.

ReADY Request connects the requester, the facilities and services departments, and the technicians in the field for each service request. The solution creates clarity and enables near real-time communication, so everyone remains in the loop as work is planned, scheduled, and executed. Sill unsure if your are "ReADY" to make the move? Here a few resources to help with your decision:

  1. Making the Case for ReADY Request

    A New Age for Facilities Customer Service: Making the Case for ReADY Request

  2. Western Washington University is addressing, head-on, the COVID-19 higher education challenges by leveraging ReADY Requests and AiM Contact Types to create COVID-Related Solutions.  

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