The Role of Analytics in Facilities Management

Big data in facilities management enables faster, more effective management methodologies. However, data lacks value in its raw form. It’s just a set of numbers. However, advanced analytics that apply big data does add value. Fortunately, the application of data-driven insights derived from analytics in facilities management can go a long way in mitigating risks and boosting overall building performance. 

The Costs of Lackluster Analytics in Facilities Management

Poor facility visibility and limited access to data are the antagonists of analytics in facilities management. As energy management grew to offer the concept of net-zero buildings, staff needed to know what improvements were necessary. Recognizing actual versus expected costs in maintenance means realizing the costs of deferred maintenance versus repairing the problem when asset performance strays slightly. Unfortunately, the problem is much more complex. Today’s systems function at levels that when upended are not necessarily visible to the naked eye. Even slight changes in energy use may be expected for some assets. However, the whole picture, leveraging visibility into assets, including the building, can help figure what is happening, what will happen, and what should happen before disaster strikes. 

How Analytics Add Value to Operational Excellence

The use of analytics in facilities management is an excellent way to transform raw data into advanced, applicable insights. What are insights? Well, they must be actionable. In other words, knowing a problem is fine, but what happens when intervention is necessary? Does the burden of fixing the problem or finding a solution go to the facility manager or someone else? That’s where real analytics can prove value. Going back to the example of energy management, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Aanchal Singh, reports FM Link, had this to say. 

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight. Analysis indicates that in recent years as energy management has become a center point for facilities managers, storing and utilizing massive data sets is capturing attention. The concept is simple, but the value and size of this data goes beyond the capabilities of typical database software tools.”

Essentially, increased sophistication of systems means more opportunities to generate and capture data. As data becomes more voluminous, correlations begin to arise. Analytics find the correlations and make the insights available to facilities managers for intervention.

Best Practices to Maximize Analytics’ ROI

Maximizing the ROI of analytics requires the application of a few best practices, including:

  1. Retrofitting facility assets with sensors to collect data on asset condition and performance.
  2. Bringing systems together through connected technologies, including cloud-based platforms
  3. Applying the triad of analytics, including descriptive, predictive, and preventive analytics, to understand the full analytics life cycle. 
  4. Following through with insights to ensure descriptive analytics find expected improvements in performance and making any necessary changes or interventions.
  5. Keeping all team members informed with the use of centralized communications, such as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). 

Tap the Value of Analytics in Facilities Management

Analytics in facilities management have a strong ROI, limited only by the opportunities for proactive, preventive maintenance strategies. Remember that as proactive maintenance has a 500%+ ROI, the application of analytics to continuously improve management will have similar effects on your budget. Ultimately, facilities without analytics are ill-equipped to handle the needs of today’s consumers.

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb