You’re looking to invest in some software but how can you be sure it will bring you a return?

I've been involved with a lot, and I mean a lot, of big software implementation projects, mostly Facility Management/Asset Management projects to Local Authorities. Over the years around 100 LAs invested in the system with data distributed to nearly 10,000 schools. I was responsible for understanding the client's initial problems and proposing our software modules to fit. Once the solution had been selected it was handed over to the Project Team to deliver.

Now here are the problems I discovered when observing these implementations…

  • By the time the software was installed, the users had forgotten what they had bought and why
  • By the time it went live the momentum had been lost and users weren’t engaged
  • By the time it went live the client’s requirements had changed
  • The project team had forgotten that the system was about delivering benefits and instead were focussed too much on implementing modules
  • The system was so big it required too many users to make big changes to the way they worked
  • Because it was modular some users were ‘last in the queue’ and were forgotten
  • The system was rigid so required too much setup and configuration so users waited too long to begin using it
  • Too many consensus decisions were required which extended the implementation time
  • The implementation didn’t focus on outcomes, i.e. time savings and cost savings
  • The implementation didn’t focus on the client’s business requirements, i.e. the software didn’t support the business functions

It wasn’t long before I realised that these big, multi-modular systems are fundamentally flawed in terms of how they were designed, developed and delivered.

I learned so much from those experiences that when it came to Every the fundamental principles and the need to do it differently were already deeply ingrained.

  • The software has to go live very soon after the client has decided to invest. Benefits are realised much sooner
  • We, as a company, have to offer to do as much as possible for the client: they have a day job to be getting on with
  • Avoid a modular system as it’s too complex
  • Avoid too much configuration as it takes too long to implement and there are too many decisions to make with no benefit to the client
  • Do things at the clients pace and support their operations. The client should not be fitting around the software
  • The system should NOT try to force change in the behaviour of clients. It should compliment and promote the good practices and reduce the poor practices
  • Realise that users proceed at a pace they are comfortable with. So offer support at the pace of the user
  • Focus on the benefits that are instantly realised to clients

What are these benefits and how can they be realised?

Ultimately software is a tool and should make life easier. If it does this the benefits (time saving, cost saving, stress saving) will naturally follow. So here’s how Every makes life easier for schools:

  • Hosted and secure so instantly accessible and benefits are realised soon after the investment is made
  • Predefined templates of school activities to choose from – quick to get going
  • Three simple steps to setup so you’re up and running in the same day
  • Alerts so nothing gets missed
  • Automated audit trail so the stress is removed from inspections
  • Reports in minutes not hours giving you a significant time savings each meeting
  • System is very simple to use so everyone uses it increasing the value it brings to your school
  • No opportunity to accidentally delete records so there’s no fear in using it if users are a little put off by technology
  • Daily and weekly backups of the data so nothing is lost and business continuity and records management is improved
  • Everyone is using the same system so management of staff is much easier and less time-consuming
  • Corridor interruptions are significantly reduced freeing up site staff to ‘do’
  • Site staff are automatically alerted to new issues so your responsiveness to issues is improved
  • Inducting new site staff is significantly easier with the simple daily and weekly task list so they are more effective sooner
  • and so on…

It’s an oft used phrase that the simplest of things are often the hardest to get right and it’s so easy to over complicate the simple with no benefit. So I’m very proud of the fact that in under a year Every has around 1,100 school users actively using the system. It’s proof that we’re getting it right.

So if you’re reading this article and you’re a school be it a small primary, secondary, independent, free school or academy then you really need to take a good look at Every as the Facilities Management Software for your school.