Is there really a need for Digital Transformation in Property & Facility Management?
With the disruptive wave brought over by the past 2 years’ pandemic, there is no doubt that, the way people used and interacted with the built environment has deeply changed! All these changes have created the need for new skills development, innovative strategies and users’ friendly digital tools for facility management (FM) teams.
Unfortunately, still too many FM professionals have the perception that these “digital transformation skills” are beyond their learning ability and must be learnt first, before implementing digital solutions designed to ease their daily work.
Nothing could be more wrong and in the following paragraphs we will explain you why!
First thing first, let’s understand what a Facility Manager does and why is critical, for asset owners, to have a Facility Management company appointed.
What Do Facility Managers Do and Why Asset Owners Should Engage Them?
The role of Facility Managers vary enormously depending on the type of facility and its purpose. Hospitals, schools, office towers, and shopping malls are all facilities that, as we can easily imagine, have totally different type of needs.
However, there are typical building processes that facility managers are expected to be responsible for. These range from strategic planning and management of day-to-day operations, to security and building maintenance as well as ensuring the health and safety of all the users of the building.
Typically, facility professionals are expected to lead the management of various services such as:
- Scheduling and planning maintenance and building repairs
- Handling legal or contractual matters with owners, tenants, and visitors/contractors
- Providing occupants with the needed equipment and amenities in an efficient way
- Comply with health and safety regulations
- Make sure occupants are happy and safe throughout their daily in-building experience
- Ensuring the premises is kept secure
- Address and resolve incidents and emergencies in a fast and smooth manner
The major role of a facility manager is to ensure that everything within the building is efficiently working 24/7/365 as, in this way, occupants are happy and able to get the most from their workplace in a relaxed and smooth way. Modern workspaces, according to the revised trends of most HR departments, should be complying with the businesses’ “people, places and values statements”, and be managed in an efficient and effective manner.
Business owners have discovered that well-managed workplaces are one of main driving forces helping employees performing better at work. Unseen ROI of engaging a professional Facility Management Company! As the say goes, when you have toothache you call a dentist and when you want your asset to be well managed you engage a facility management company!
Defined why Facility Managers are a strategic component not only for the management of the asset but also for the generation of ROI to the asset owners, let’s analyse now why a Facility Management Company should move towards digital transformation, how it works and what this would generate for them.
Facility and Operation Management Digital Solutions, in few words, allow to automate FM business and working processes. As they are developed either as web-based or apps, a strong benefit is the possibility to connect them to IoT or sensors, leverage on 5G networks and more. The Facility Management’s digital transformation process is and will be creating unimaginable benefits for both facility management companies and building users.
Read more while we will be explaining the main and more strategic WHYs of this digital shift.
Why Should Facility Management Companies Adopt a Digital Solution?
The times when paper, ruler and pen where the basic tools of the FM industry are gone since ages. Most facility managers have been adopting the great tool that Excel has been for many since more than 20 years and it has been definitely a helpful tool!
However, as technology advances, new great tools have been developed specifically for the management of the built environment. Online web-based or apps solutions, with cloud storage, are enabling the 24/7/365 from anywhere, team management, communications, emergency handling, scheduling maintenance and much more.
Time saving while improving efficiency, digital tools have become an indispensable tool in facility management and, let us say, there is no way back to the aged Excel spreadsheet!
The following are just few of the countless benefits a facility management company could have by implementing an All-in-One Digital Solution for FM:
- Ability to access, in a remote working manner, all data and have at any time the precise pulse of the managed building
- Organise the work of all teams smoothly and be able to connect with them in real time
- Manage the accessibility to the building and record visitors in an easily trackable manner
- Organise preventive maintenance jobs smoothly by knowing which spare parts might be needed and when to have the work done to create less possible inconvenience to the users
- Built a huge data base of all the information collected enabling a much faster and better decision making process based on precise data history
- Manage any sort of emergency or incident in a seamless way with a low impact on the users
- Connect multiple sensors to the system allowing better use of all resources available and generating interesting savings in the process
The first question that facility managers are asking, after understanding the list of benefit above, is: how difficult is a digital solution to be used?
Here comes the plus point of it! Digital solutions, it really doesn’t matter for which industry or application are developed, are normally very much user-friendly, intuitive and very easy to use. No specific skill is needed and a short training normally enables, not only the facility manager but also the whole team, to acquire in a short time a high ability in using it.
Why Should a FM Adopt Existing Digital Solutions Instead of Having a Tailor Made Developed?
Without diminishing the importance of Facility Management, it all goes down to analysing processes and transforming them in a digitalised sequence. Developing the whole system from scratch takes long time and substantial amount of money, besides mistakes and hiccups that always occur.
This is why, from a business point view, it is highly advisable to use, after proper selection, available solutions. As well as Facility Management is business for facility managers, develop FM digital solutions is business for software developers. Below is a simple compare and contrast table to help in deciding if to adopt a ready-made or having a tailor-made solution.
Adopting a ready-made solution carries huge advantages but this does not mean that all the available solutions and the related providers are safe to be implemented.
When comes the time to choose which solution should be chosen, we recommend to follow this short check list before deciding, always better to be safe than sorry.
- Check since how long the provider has been in the market, how many staff they have and look for some review in the social media, best on google reviews, LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Normally businesses are exposing a list of their best clients in the website. Good to double-check the list, have a look at who are their clients and, in case any known name pops up, a confirmation call might be useful.
- Nowadays it is possible to check online, either through the registrar of companies or simply in either website or social media, who are the founders and shareholder of the solution provider. Always prefer those who have full ownership of the solution and have good track of record in delivering IT solutions.
- Check whether the system is flexible in allowing you to define the configuration, parameters, and workflows to suit to your operational process so you don’t have to spend more money for customisation in many areas of the system.
- Ensure the provider has strong support team to help you achieving your goals and help your team in case they need assistance.
- Ensure the vendor uses a reputable and reliable cloud service provider to run their platform.
Will I Save Costs After Implementing a Digital Solution for FM?
The recommendation here is to look into the adoption of a digital solution for Facility and Operation Management as a shift of business direction. There is an old saying about getting more while paying the same price, and this is precisely what digital transformation has brought to us all. We have looked into this point also in a previous article here.
Below are some examples of beneficial improvements carried along with the technological shift:
- Easier and less time-consuming management procedures
- Effective team management
- Improvement of users’ experience resulting in a friendly relationship with all owners, tenants and visitors
- Drastic reduction of emergencies and incidents through the implementation of preventive maintenance which comes as part and parcel of the transformational process
- Accomplishment in creating an ESG compliant workplace adding value to the property for all owners
In few words, what a digital solution for facility management will add in is the possible use of it as a launching pad towards business growth or, doing more with the same resources!
Nowadays the whole world talks about extreme experience “XE” for consumers of any sort of product or service, the same applies to Facility Management and, ServeDeck is here to bring you the state of the art in Smart Digital Solution for Facility & Operation Management.
After checking it out, get in touch and they will be more than happy to provide a full immersion demo experience in the fully digitalised facility management platform developed since 2019 to help the industry moving from doing good to being great.