Strategic Facility Management Trends: Integration of Property & Facilities Management

Facilities management continues to evolve through sensor technologies, robotics, advanced analytics’ capabilities, artificial intelligence, and other types of technology. However, more technology does not always equal strategic facilities management, and the right strategies will fail without the right technologies. It is a unique situation in which Facility Managers find themselves; use technology. Use technology the right way, and apply technology to work smarter, not harder. To maintain success, managers need to understand how the integration of property (technologies) and facilities management trends (technologies and strategy) will enable success through 2020.

Integration Will Move Closer to Maturity

In a recent article, published by Facility Executive, Aramark took the bold step of describing a merging of traditional information technology (IT) with facilities management. The digitization of facilities management requires integration between systems. 

“Managing facilities will become less physical and more digital. Additionally, IT will become more challenged to develop information infrastructures that serve physical building components and user environments. The need for integration of these groups has never been greater. Note that traditionally, FM departments have been staffed by older generations that are less tech-savvy, and IT departments staffed by younger generations who are less interested in physical building operations.”

That is the irony that Aramark realized; it is impractical to manage facilities without technology and impractical to approach technology management without considering the capabilities of the facility’s assets. 

Tactical Improvements to Space Utilization Will Benefit Budgeting

Another critical component of the strategic facility management trends revolves around space utilization. Space utilization is a topic of concern for retailers, educational facilities, business offices, and every other building, and maintaining flexible space is critical to scaling operations to meet the demands of users, regardless of intent. In fact, Aramark found a 5% error in space utilization could amount to more than $500,000 in added facilities spend. 

Fewer Risks Due to Proactive Management Will Length Asset Life Expectancy 

Proactive management of facilities assets through various analytics will length asset life. In 2020, expect the use of analytics to replace the traditional approach to managing maintenance and reviewing facility health. Instead of waiting for something to break, managers will take the upper hand, relying on intuitive analytics to provide a birds’ eye-view of buildings and understand what needs to happen to achieve the best result. 

Analytics Will Grow in Both Power and Value to Offer More Insights and Actionability

Since analytics represent the opportunity to save money by lengthening asset life expectancy, it is important to also consider the ways in which analytics can benefit core operations. According to McKinsey & Company, the global facilities management market stands to reach $1.4 trillion by 2024; extracting the most ROI—the most value—from investments will require more knowledge of what happened, what will happen, and what should happen. 

“As a first step, executives must familiarize themselves with how six emerging trends could reduce facilities management costs and improve productivity. The first three involve the application of existing strategies and approaches; the second three involve using technology to transform the way companies complete tasks. However, these trends aren’t plug and play; companies must have the right strategy and capabilities to get the most from them. Facilities management and sourcing leaders should focus on several immediate steps to mobilize their organization and pursue these trends.”

Facilities Management Will Review Emergency Preparedness Plans Through the Windows of Technology

Emergency preparedness plans are another area of opportunity for strategic facility management trends in 2020. Emergency preparedness has also relied on historical data to better plan for potential emergencies or disruptions. With more technology at their disposal, Facility Managers will start to look deeper at their emergency preparedness plans through analytics—recognizing strengths and weaknesses without experiencing an actual emergency. This is virtual reality on steroids—looking through the windows of a computer and artificial intelligence to maximize value and minimize disruptions simultaneously. 

Deploy the Strategic Facility Management Trends by Choosing the Right Partner

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to facilities management, especially as technologies continue to move further toward automation and analytics-driven decision making. The unique needs of your buildings must be your top priority, and technology integration throughout your whole operation, including the building, the IT team, everyday workers, and even customers—will be necessary.

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb