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OPINION: Making the FM the most important role in an organisation

By Paul Djuric, CEO, Urgent Technology

Generally, the c-suite doesn’t turn to the FM department to ask how the business could improve, but there is significant cause for that to change. Developments in FM and building technologies are equipping facilities managers with insight that has the potential to transform an organisation’s strategy and deliver to the bottom line.

It’s easy to underestimate the role FM teams play. Too often, the FM function is viewed as just another cost that eats away at the business’s profit margin. But at its most effective, the FM team is the beating heart of the business, bringing in and circulating fundamental elements without which the organisation couldn’t function.

At a basic level, of course, facilities managers use CAFM systems to plan and monitor asset movement alongside the use of an organisation’s real estate, which allows for the efficient scheduling of repairs and preventative maintenance while monitoring work orders and ensuring compliance.

Yet, with increasing volumes of data now at their fingertips, the onus is on facilities managers to turn it into the kind of valuable information that could drive business performance. By taking a strategic approach to the acquisition and measurement of data, facilities managers can identify asset trends, improve asset performance and achieve efficiencies that result in substantial cost savings. If an organisation is going through an estate rationalisation programme, for example, CAFM systems will show the facilities manager which assets are underperforming and may therefore be disposed of. Similarly, when consolidating a supply chain or retendering for services, the software can be used to analyse the performance of different vendors. In a national or even global portfolio this can make a world of difference.

We live in a time of business intelligence (BI), yet CAFM systems are underutilised. More devices are connected to networks than ever before, giving facilities managers the opportunity to build a far more detailed picture of the organisation’s trajectory, unlocking hidden potential and forming new correlations between business decisions and assets.

With the volumes of data that can be acquired from FM software, the potential to enhance an organisation’s business intelligence strategy is undeniable. Typically, the benefits of BI tools include accelerating and improving decision making and increasing operational efficiency. CAFM technology in the hands of the FM holds the key to measuring how both assets and people behave throughout an organisation’s sites in order to make smarter evidence-based decisions. This trend analysis is how the FM can create an enhanced visualisation for the comparison of historical trend analysis to forecast future outcomes and monitor performance trends leading to overall operational efficiency improvements.

Essentially, FMs can use software to provide far greater clarity and insight to costly areas of the business and allow them to build a business case that turns the FM function from a cost centre to one that delivers genuinely better outcomes.

The primary objective of the c-suite is to see over the hill, identifying trends and predicting potential pitfalls. CAFM systems can provide valuable foresight through the analysis of patterns; and as this foresight develops, so too does the criticality of the FM role. By understanding how assets perform, and in turn how the organisation behaves, it is possible for the FM to make far more intelligent, evidence-based decisions about that will drive the wider business strategy.