Blockchain and Facilities Management: Hype Vs. Reality

Blockchain is a remarkable advance in how companies track and store information. As companies moved to centralized storage methods, such as the cloud, blockchain has decentralized data storage and retrieval. Moreover, the decentralized nature of blockchain ensures data's authenticity and accuracy which is achieved through a continuous validation process that checks data entered against data stored in other blockchain nodes. The technology remains in infancy, and blockchain and facilities management are not necessarily ready for full-scale deployment today. Facilities Managers need to understand blockchain's current limitations, its potential for optimal operations and why preparing for a blockchain-based future is essential to success.

The Limits of Blockchain and Facilities Management Applications

While blockchain is billed as the end-all solution to visibility in your operations, it does have limitations. Blockchain is only as good as the data entered into the system. As a result, more companies face the prospect of entering data manually, increasing the risk of error. Those that do choose to automate data collection and entry with IoT-based technologies and sensors will see higher investment costs.

Blockchain is built on the sharing and access to data from its original entry point. Thus, the most significant benefits are not necessarily realized until blockchain is in-use throughout all facilities in your organization, your partnering vendors and equipment providers. However, these factors are on the verge of falling away as companies realize the potential of the technology and its potential applications.

Promises of Future Blockchain Use in Facilities Management

The basic premise of blockchain is simple. It's an incorruptible ledger that's shared among users. Different blockchains exist, including both private and public chains. Utilizing a blockchain-based platform in your organization could ensure end-to-end visibility in facilities management and maintenance operations.

Meanwhile, integrating blockchain with other systems, especially vendor-specific systems, will further automate the data management processes to derive more significant savings. Additional applications of blockchain and facilities management systems will revolve around asset management. Since blockchain provides a source of traceability within operations, it will naturally give users access to immediate asset-specific data, and such applications will also be useful in validating warranty details, as well as insurance-like claims for high-cost upgrades. Ultimately, the increased visibility optimizes all aspects of facilities management.

Preparing for a Blockchain-Based Future

Blockchain is quickly becoming the biggest buzzword of 2019 in all industries, and Facilities Management is no exception. Facilities Managers should start thinking about implementing the systems and technologies necessary to implement blockchain in the near-future. Furthermore, those with limited capability and knowledge of technologies for deployment should consider working with a third-party facilities management services provider to ensure they are adequately prepared.

Upgrade Your Facilities Management Processes and Systems

Blockchain is coming to facilities management faster than anyone thought. The technology holds the promise of accurate, verified end-to-end visibility in your organization. At the same time, its limitations leave some to assume it will not make much change in operations. However, ignorance will only contribute to higher costs of implementation and delays in achieving cost avoidance through this technology in the future. As a result, Facilities Managers should begin the process of upgrading equipment to automate data collection and analysis now.

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb