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In today’s world of advanced web applications, cloud computing, and web-based solutions, it can be confusing what facility management software is right for your organization. Identifying your organization’s needs is the first step to understanding what will be best suited for you. 

Do you need both event scheduling software and work order management software? What’s your budget? The questions can pile up. Therefore, to help steer you in the right direction, we compiled a list of several questions to ask before you buy. 

1. Do You Need Web-Based Facility Management Software?

Web-based software is the most efficient, compatible, and accessible, especially in today’s tech-savvy world. There are no more downloads that take up space on your hard drive, no more servers to maintain, and no more updates to stay on top of. Our team has researched and discovered the biggest competition is not other facility management software applications. Funny enough, it’s actually post-it notes, Google calendars, Excel, and even wall calendars.

2. How Many Users Need Access to the Facility Management Software? 

Many facility management software limit subscribers to the number of users who have access, or it charges per user. This can be inconvenient and frustrating in deciding who should be included and left out. It can also burden staff members to be the gatekeeper of the schedule and serve as the data entry person for those who want to schedule an event or reserve a space. Adding more users can also cost more which can limit the effectiveness of a software application. Therefore, knowing how many seats you need out the gate will influence your decision-making.

3. Do You Need to Maintain Multiple Calendars?  

Can you imagine having to coordinate multiple schedules for the use of your facility? One says one thing and another something different – no thanks. All facility management and resource scheduling should be found in one place as an easy-to-use solution. This applies not only to the calendaring component but also to the facility management and work order components. These systems provide the greatest benefit if they are interconnected and work together.

4. How Often Do You Add Features? 

If a company’s answer to this is “occasionally,” you will need to think strategically and reconsider them as your partner. We recommend looking for a solution that is constantly releasing enhancements, features, and system improvements. Technology is changing every day. Therefore, having facility management software that can keep up is important in moving you forward. 

5. What Is Within Our Budget?

The cost of web-based solutions continues to improve, which is a real benefit for your ministry. For example, we did a quick price check for Bellevue Baptist Church, one of our eSPACE clients, of another popular web-based application. If they were to sign up for all of the “users, resources, and viewers” that Bellevue needed from this system, the cost would have been well over three times the cost of eSPACE.

6. What Kind of Support Will You Need? 

You should never feel alone or on your own, especially with paid subscriptions. At Smart Church Solutions, we believe the best web-based solutions provide multiple levels of support. This could include website tutorials, a knowledge base, e-mail, web demos, training, and even a real person on the phone. Imagine that.

7. Will Support Be Responsive? 

Like the above, the right support is very important. Have you ever made a purchase and felt like you fell into the customer service abyss? This is far too often the case that leaves you and your team frustrated. In addition, the suppliers of services and goods need you (even if they don’t think they do). They need to hear your concerns. And I mean really hear you, not just listen to your words. They must understand what you are saying and how your needs need to be met so you are successful. After all, it is your ministry we are talking about.

8. Can You Track Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is your proactive approach to facility management. It is looking into the future and making intentional plans for addressing maintenance that will extend the life of your equipment and facilities and reduce the potential of downtime and the need for reactive corrective maintenance. Preventive maintenance is regularly performed on a piece of equipment to lessen the likelihood of it failing. Additionally, it is performed while the equipment is still working so that it does not break down unexpectedly.

9. Does The Facility Management Software Integrate With HVAC and Other Major Systems? 

Without a doubt, the most asked question of the eSPACE onboarding team is about the integration with HVAC and other major building systems (I.e., door access, digital signage, etc.). I wish this were an easy question to answer, but HVAC systems are complex. However, what you do want to know is if the facility management software even can integrate. That can at least get the ball rolling. If not, you need to be aware of the efficiency and cost savings you may be sacrificing.

10. Can You Use The Event Calendar On Your Website? 

As our world becomes more reliant on the internet for much of our basic communication, organizations utilize websites as the common ground for most of their communication. This includes the church calendar. If this is important to your church, you need to make sure there is a component of your facility software that will allow for this function.

There is no doubt many more questions should be considered, but these are a great starting point. For more information on our web-based solutions, take a look at eSPACE.

Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the President and CEO of Smart Church Solutions and takes great pride in helping churches optimize their facilities. When he’s not at the helm of his company, he’s dedicated to his family, being a husband to Lisa and a father to 27-year-old triplets. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Tim enjoys the simplicity of hiking in the North Carolina mountains.