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The impact of new technologies on facilities management

March 14, 2017
Posted in Resources
March 14, 2017 GraemeH

Investigating the challenges of facilities management professionals

What do you believe is the most significant challenge facing facilities management professionals? Energy management? Compliance? Or perhaps managing client expectations? It’s actually none of these.

According to a survey of 500 Facilities Management professionals by Service Works Group, the biggest challenge Facilities Management professional’s face is the use of technology.* And there’s one telling statistic that confirms this.

Just 25% use their Facilities Management software application for self-service. This is the motoring equivalent of buying a Ferrari and never taking it above 60mph.

Sometimes it’s not the fact you have it, but more what you do with it, and 77% of those surveyed confirmed they used software tools including Excel to manage Facilities Management functions. A labour intensive, and entirely siloed, practice that has the potential to cause contractual and compliance issues down the line.

Finally, 65% of those surveyed identified mobile usage as a significant Facilities Management software technology trend. This indicates that a greater majority of Facilities Management professionals are not already using mobile technology to their advantage. A worrying statistic for some, an opportunity for others.

This whitepaper takes a look at the way technology is transforming client service delivery in the facilities management sector.

The key technologies

Software is constantly evolving, and as it changes so does the way services are managed and delivered. As a result, the way end-users interact with service providers is bringing with it new opportunities to use technology to simplify the delivery of contractual KPIs.

According to the analysis of the facilities management market above, two key trends were identified as the most significant technology advances:

  • 70% mobile technology
  • 58% self-service technology

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a sharp increase in the use of both in Facilities Management:

  • 72% for mobile
  • 66% for self-service provision

Self-service improves customer satisfaction

The logistics of managing every work request in a single facility, let alone multiple sites, can be challenging.

A helpdesk generally acts as the focus of a facilities management operation. As well as receiving and logging calls, it can also manage contracts, create staff schedules and ensure tasks are completed to SLAs.

Problems arise when your helpdesk becomes overwhelmed with the volume of calls and paperwork your organisation generates. The simple way to alleviate this pressure on your central hub is to give your users control of certain tasks.

Self-service facilities management software gives users the ability to generate maintenance requests, book services and update job progress. Automated emails can be sent to users to confirm the receipt of requests and signal the completion of work – eliminating the need for update reports and a lot of superfluous paperwork.

Self-service software can also be used to automatically allocate tasks to contractors and field engineers, who can update their progress without generating new paperwork.

The rise in mobile communication

Facilities managers can now enjoy a level of mobility that allows for more efficient communication with workers on the go. Collaborating with staff or customers, managing your workforce and allocating assets has become a simple matter thanks to Cloud-based software.

Online self-service software means your applications are accessible to staff from any location, on any device. Even members of the public can log requests, allowing you to operate a more efficient service.

The rise in mobile usage and the enhanced communication it has facilitated has caused many organisations to introduce BYOD policies, giving employees the option of using their own mobile devices. This means the software applications you choose must be designed to enable easy access across iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

Increasing productivity

In this environment of self-service and anywhere, anytime mobility, the productivity of both field-based and office staff is greatly increased – as is the potential to positively influence the levels of customer satisfaction.

  • Mobile apps provide access to information anywhere and anytime to maximise efficiency
  • Availability of real-time information enables you to prioritise jobs and schedule tasks effectively
  • Auditable online solutions eliminate the problems of lost job sheets and manual errors
  • Links to route planners reduce travel times and enable journey organisation
  • Real-time reports and electronic sign off provide evidence of task progress and completion

Big data
The additional data you gain as a result of introducing these new digital services into your operation provides the additional benefit of enabling you to make better, more informed decisions based on insights gained from real facts and statistics.

Paired with the real-time reporting of mobile technology, you get the information you need to make intelligent decisions, faster, and solve problems quicker.

There have been major advances in recent years in information-gathering, performance monitoring and management reporting. For facilities management and support services organisations, this is opening doors to improving operational efficiency and service delivery.

Facilities managers who make use of big data to gain insights into behaviours and preferences will achieve a competitive advantage. Using data generated from historical trends and performance allows you to predict maintenance and service delivery needs. This insight enables you to provide only the necessary amount of service – no more, no less.

It means that you can meet your SLAs without wasting time and money on issues that don’t require attention right now, with the flexibility to prepare for any future issues using the same data.

Developing new facilities management strategies

The use of mobile and self-service technologies will enable facilities management and support service organisations to develop strategies that open up new solution areas to them. And the data they gain as a result of these technologies will mean they make faster and more informed decisions to deliver a better service.

Smart, automated systems result in better user experiences with improved accessibility and fewer delays as users take advantage of self-service facilities. The convenience of this, coupled with the flexibility of mobile applications, means that all users, customers, staff and managers, have all the information they need at their fingertips.

Facilities management software allows you to create a more productive and cost-efficient workplace, where you can achieve higher levels of service for lower levels of financial investment.

Learn more about Timegate & Servicetrac or find out more about Innovise.

*Service Works Group FM Software Survey 2016 ** Service Works Group *** ISS