Digital transformation of facilities management can be a topic approached with confusion, aversion to hype, and fear of change. Although the phrase digital transformation may strike fear into the hearts of novice facilities managers, a pivot to a digital first operation has far-reaching potential. Going “digital” can help your team understand risks and opportunities, make informed decisions and much more. Those that still do not comprehend digital transformation should start with why they’re uncertain, how it benefits organizations, and the current and future technologies that will make it possible.
Why Are Facilities Managers Reluctant to Digital Transformation of Facilities Management?
Digital transformation is taking place across the globe. Depending on the type of business, it can be overwhelming, and facilities managers, who face constant pressure to reduce facilities costs, are among those uncertain of what it means for their activities. Yet, digital transformation is a significant trend in facilities management today. It merely refers to the use of technologies and digital capabilities to optimize operations and reduce unnecessary costs. Ironically, the high-cost nature and perception of facilities management, as well as the cost avoidance provided by digital transformation, makes it an ideal way to achieve more benefits.
There is a bit of caution to digital transformation in facilities management, reports Facility Executive. Failure to consider consumer impact, operational processes and business models will diminish the brand value and lead to lost opportunities. In other words, digital technology alone does not lead to improvements. It is the application of digital technologies to understand processes and enact improvements that have real-world benefits that make it valuable.
Digital Transformation Empowers Companies with Data-Driven Decision Making
The use of new technologies and full digital transformation in facilities management has two primary benefits—more visibility and data-driven decision making. When facility managers understand their existing operations, associated costs, and issues, they can present a stronger business case for the expansion of the budget to address the maintenance backlog and other needs. Similar applications of digital capabilities include the implementation of a preventive maintenance program, using data to make maintenance decisions, prioritize repairs, prevent minor issues from causing significant disruptions and even identify potential malfunctions before they are visible to the naked eye.
Top Technologies and Practices Will Continue to Influence Facilities Management Throughout the Year
Facilities managers thinking about digital transformation need to understand both the technologies empowering digital transformation and a few best practices to ensure their optimal use, asserts Andreas Hadjioannou via LinkedIn. The top technologies enabling the digital transformation of facilities management include:
- Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS)
- Big Data analytics
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Energy management systems (EMS)
- Building automation systems (BAS)
- Interactive voice response systems (IVRs)
- Blockchain-based systems
Although companies can develop each of these systems and technologies in-house, most are available via software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. In these cases, an organization pays a vendor to use a well-developed system and deploy its benefits. Of course, the best technologies on the planet are useless without intervention. Thus, Facilities Managers should follow these additional steps to maximize returns:
- Integrate systems to eliminate data silos.
- Deploy wireless sensors connected to the IoT to track and collect data.
- Use analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand and apply data.
- Consider working with a third-party vendor to select the right systems for your organization.
- Never stop improving, working with team members to enhance response and use of all systems.
Choose the Right Partner for Digital Transformation of Facilities Management in Your Business
Digital transformation is the future of facilities management. Those that take the time to understand what digital transformation is and its benefits can position their organizations to provide better customer service experiences and minimize disruptions.