Successful CMMS implementation isn’t just about getting the software up and running. A good CMMS software provider does that all the time with carefully designed, clearly established workflows. Instead, success often comes down to your ability to get buy-in from across the organization, especially the maintenance team. You need them invested in the win. 

But if you’ve never had to build buy-in, where can you start? 

By asking the experts. So, let’s see what the world’s most successful coaches say about leading teams to victory. If a big part of a CMMS implementation depends on buy-in, it’s worth looking at what famous coaches say about organizing a winning team. 

Let’s start with the basics: understanding everyone’s role in the process. Because before you can get the team to work together, you need a sense of everyone’s position, especially your own. 

Think about people and their positions to build CMMS software buy-in 

“I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman, and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.” 

– Phil Jackson, Basketball 

If you’re the salesperson, it’s your job to get everyone sold on the benefits of CMMS software. So, what’s the best way to sell to everyone? Don’t. Never trying to sell everyone the same way on the same idea. Instead, think about stakeholders and then tailor a new pitch for each one. 

Imagine your recreational baseball team just won the league championships, and you’re looking to go out for dinner to celebrate. 

Everyone on the team is a stakeholder because they’re all affected by the decision. At the same time, each one has a different level of influence and interest. Why? 

One of them has agreed to treat everyone, so they have a lot of say in where you go. Also, they’re in the mood for Chinese. Another one is allergic to fish, which gives them extra influence in choosing where not to go. The easy-going teammate thinks anything is fine. In fact, they have some leftovers in the fridge they could just as easily warm up and eat alone in front of the TV. The one who got to choose last time the team went out for dinner now has close to zero say, but they really love pizza and hope that’s where everyone else wants to go. 

There are officially four types of stakeholders:   

  • Low influence, high interest 
  • Low influence, low interest 
  • High influence, low interest 
  • High influence, high interest 

Every organization will be a bit different in terms of who’s playing which role, but you’re still likely going to deal with all four types. 

Your CEO might be high influence but low interest. Basically, they’re mostly hands-off but can easily kill the project if they don’t like what they see. So they might not sit in on the software demos, but they do review the features and costs before the final decision. And it’s often the same with the in-house IT team. A modern CMMS platform is a cloud-based subscription service. The provider does all the IT heavy lifting, including setting up the database, running the servers, and updating the software. That means your IT department generally won’t be involved in the selection process until close to the end when they might have questions about data security and passwords.    

What about low influence, low interest? The guy in purchasing who double-checks your inventory budget numbers might not care how you get your numbers, just that you deliver them on time. 

Looking at the chances of your implementation being a success with high ongoing adoption rates, the maintenance team is high influence and high interest. They’re directly affected by the new CMMS. And they need to learn how to use it and then consistently use it before you can see any real ROI. 

So how can you successfully pitch the maintenance team on a new CMMS?   

Talk to maintenance techs in ways that matter for CMMS success 

“If you have something critical to say to a player, preface it by saying something positive. That way, when you get to the criticism, at least you know he’ll be listening.” 

– Bud Grant, American Football 

If you want people to listen, you need to speak directly to their interests. Are you sure the maintenance team cares how much money the department can save with new work order management software? Do you think they’re also worried about the money the department wastes on weak inventory control? 

Likely not. 

But what you can be sure of is they’re tired of having to run back and forth to the maintenance office to pick up new paperwork. And they don’t like how often they have to wing it on a work order because they don’t have easy access to manuals and maintenance and repair histories. 

You know they wish the department was doing more preventive maintenance instead of running around putting out fires with endless, unpredictable on-demand work orders. It’s simple human nature: not knowing your schedule is stressful. They want to see work coming from weeks away and know they’ll have the data and parts they need right when they need them. 

So when you’re pitching the maintenance team on the idea of a CMMS, it’s important to focus on the ways it benefits them directly. 

And then once the team is excited about the new software and wants the implementation to be a success, you need to tackle any fears they might have. Remember, buy-in is equal parts excitement and confidence. The team needs to want the CMMS and feel like they can master it. 

Schedule enough time for CMMS practice and aim for perfect practice 

“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” 

– Bobby Knight 

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. 

– Vince Lombardi 

Once you’ve sold the team on the benefits that directly affect them, it’s time to start boosting their confidence with training. 

You can significantly increase your chances of everything going well by choosing a CMMS that’s both easy to learn and easy to use. Careful UX design goes a long way. The less complicated, the faster the team can dive in and start using it. Also, make sure the provider has a good track record with training. 

Make sure to ask: 

  • Do they offer onsite as well as online options? 
  • What resources do they have available for self-study? 
  • Are they able to work with different types of learners? 
  • What options are there for refreshers and training on new features?
  • Do they have experience training both the tech-savvy and tech-phobic?

There’s one more sports metaphor we can throw in here, and it’s the idea of “gamification.” You can help your team get excited about the training by adding time limits, points, and prizes.

So, instead of telling the team they have to complete the training videos by a certain date, you can assign a point value to each training milestone and award prizes for the techs with the most points. Then carry it over past the training and implementation stages to help ensure higher adoption rates. For example, one Hippo customer gives techs bonuses based on their resource completion times tracked in the CMMS.   

You can win over even the most diehard holdouts on the maintenance team with the right motivation. 

Next steps 

Ready to learn more about building buy-in for a successful CMMS implementation? Or, are you still early in the process and want a basic overview of your options, including features and prices? 

Regardless of how far along you are in the process, Hippo is here to help. Contact us and we can answer your questions, help you book a live software demo, or even set you up with a free trial. 

A quick, complete summary of this blog post 

A good provider already has the technical side down pat when it comes to setting up your CMMS. But for a successful implementation, you need more than the right technical solution. You also need to look after the human factor, building buy-in from across the organization. Start by thinking about people in terms of the four types of stakeholders, and then make sure you talk to people in ways they can easily understand, which means focusing on their personal interests. The CEO wants to hear about cost savings. But the maintenance team is won over by talking about better scheduling that makes life more predictable, less stressful. And make sure you organize enough time for practice. Buy-in is equal parts excitement and confidence. You have to set your players up for success with the right training. 

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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