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CAFM cornerstone

With an overwhelming choice of technology options now available, Esther Coleman, Product Manager at Idox, believes a CAFM system still provides the robust foundations required to manage facilities and maximise the benefits of innovative solutions in the future

The pace of technology innovation, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile apps, can be overwhelming. Take the buzz around smart technologies. From the IoT sensors that can provide the insight required to transform energy efficiency to AI solutions promising to intelligently manage the entire building infrastructure and apps that transform the ease with which employees can book rooms and car parking spaces, FMs are being tempted with a myriad of bright solutions.

These technologies will have a role to play, not least in supporting the drive towards net zero and creating far more efficient operations. They can help in delivering the employee-facing services needed to attract staff back into the office. They are not, however, the starting point. For any FM still wrestling with endless spreadsheets and paper-based processes, adding an app or investing in IoT isn’t going to solve the most pressing issues. What FMs urgently need is technology that transforms day-to-day efficiency and effectiveness.


With a shortage of skilled resources at every level, FMs’ workloads have spiralled. High labour and repair costs are putting pressure on budgets. The resulting delayed repairs and maintenance negatively impact the performance of both equipment and the facilities, with the inevitable knock-on effect on productivity and occupants, as well as compliance risk. The priority, therefore, is a system that can eradicate tedious manual tasks and enable insight-led prioritisation of activity.

How much value would an FM gain from a solution that prioritises Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) to reduce the risk of breakdowns? A system that provides vital visibility of compliance deadlines to safeguard safety? Even a solution that delivers the real-time reporting and monitoring that not only ensures a deep understanding of performance across the entire environment but also gives insight into the activity of each staff member, highlighting opportunities for training, mentoring and cross-skilling that are key to boosting retention? With an integrated, modular CAFM system there are all these functions and more.


Given the breadth of technology options now available, it is important to step back and determine what the business needs a new system to deliver. While every FM faces similar challenges, each organisation will have a different set-up. Single versus multiple buildings. Internal engineering teams versus third-party service providers. An ageing estate versus a state-of-the-art facilities management set-up. Functionality varies considerably between options, so understanding what each system can offer is an important step.

There are other aspects to consider. A system that supports mobile access, for example, can be invaluable for engineers moving from job to job. It improves their efficiency by streamlining processes and reduces time spent returning to the office to update paperwork. Easy to access, up-to-date reporting, preferably via a web-based dashboard, provides an immediate view of upcoming priorities such as equipment service deadlines to ensure compliance. Scalability can be important – modular CAFM solutions can enable businesses to start with one or two functions and build up; while customisation options ensure any business-specific quirks can be incorporated into the system seamlessly.



  • Focuses on facility maintenance requests, while an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) will streamline the management of the organisation’s real estate portfolio, assets and facilities.


  • Focuses on the operational aspects of managing facilities, including tasks such as maintenance, work order management, space planning, and resource allocation.


  • Also referred to as a Building Automation System (BAS), controls and monitors a building’s mechanical and electrical systems, including HVAC, lighting, security, and more to enhance energy efficiency and occupant comfort.


  • System enables businesses to manage all aspects of their facilities in one central location.


Technology can transform the efficiency and effectiveness of facilities management. It can support FMs in achieving PPM goals and meeting compliance demands. But the right approach is key. Adding different apps from multiple vendors that are not integrated may solve one small problem at a time but will also create a host of others – not least in managing another set of complex vendor relationships. Furthermore, multiple, disparate systems will never provide the end-to-end visibility required to deliver the step change in performance now required in a market desperately short of staff.

With a robust CAFM foundation in place, FMs will not only address the current challenges but will also be better placed to explore innovations such as AI and IoT in the future.

About Sarah OBeirne

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