Let’s Talk About Maintenance Technology: A Rant

Here’s a disclaimer. We are super opinionated when it comes to technology. Envoy is a technology first company because we believe great technology frees people to be people. This post may say some things that rub people in the industry the wrong way, and we believe they need to be said. Our industry is being held back by old school, reactive thinking. Let’s do this.

Do you remember the first time you saw an Excel spreadsheet and truly understood it’s potential. With just a few equations, you could take a huge set of data and turn it into metrics that made sense. A few more clicks and you had charts and graphs for the visual people. And even if you didn’t need Excel for number crunching, you had a brand new tool for organizing information. It was magic.

Then came email, swooping in to rid the world of the dreaded facsimile and the printed memo. Information could instantly move across the world and back with the click of your keyboard and mouse.

What about the internet coupled with Google. Are you kidding me? You have access to a world of information. “I don’t know” was replaced with “I'll look it up.” Come on! Technology killed “I don’t know.” That’s amazing. You can literally know almost anything. I’m freaking out right now thinking about it, and this is something that has been available for over half of my life.

Do you remember your first smart phone? Some genius visionaries took everything we listed above, stuck it in your pocket, and connected it to outer space so you can watch cat videos from the restroom. Don’t act like you’ve never. We know the truth. 

Then there’s cloud storage and web apps that connect to phone apps and computer apps so all of your information is synced. There’s video chat so you see the person you used to only be able to hear. There is software that makes it possible for non-programmers to make software and web sites that make it possible for non-web-developers to make websites.

If you look hard enough there is a technology tool that solves almost any problem you have on a daily basis, learn anything you want to learn, and discover anything you want to discover.

So why are some of the most successful facilities maintenance technology companies still selling software that was built 20 years ago, designed to work on a server, added to without any long term thought, and then hacked on to make it work on the web.

It’s the equivalent of putting a rambling ranch on a tractor trailer and calling it mobile. What we really need is a Tesla.

Technology has evolved in such a way that you can arm your facilities managers will all of the information they need to know at the time they need it.

You can give them software that actually works for them instead of giving them a glorified Access database with a coat of paint that tries to make it look like a website. 

You can give them feature rich, powerful software that’s also simple to use and learn.

You can give your contractors software that doesn’t confuse them so they will actually use it which makes your job easier.

You can give them tools that work on the computer in their pocket so they don’t have to settle with an underdeveloped and under-featured “app” or need to pinch scroll to use the web version.

You can give them a single search bar instead of a different page for different type of searches.

You can give them quotes, invoices, and asset information in an organizational structure that makes sense.

Technology should work for your facilities managers so they are free to do the things that people do best: think critically and take care of other people.

The next few posts will outline the components of a great technology toolkit for facilities managers. You are not going to want to miss it. Sign up right now to get this entire series delivered to you by email.