If you work in FM, you will have heard about the internet of things (IoT) and the technology’s potential to transform the industry. Capturing, processing and utilising the data from IoT systems benefits a variety of customer sectors. Atalian Servest, for example, works with clients in retail, healthcare, professional services, education, public sector, and many more – all of which are now attempting to extract value from the technology they have deployed.
Having the latest technology won’t be effective if you don’t know how to work with the data that’s being produced. One of the ‘data capture and usage’ projects I’ve recently worked on involved examining the role of the sales operation function within an international facilities management organisation and how to pragmatically implement serious change when it comes to capturing and using data.
Traditionally, the FM industry has focused training on the functional aspects of how software works, rather than educating people about why they should upskill. Often, people fall into a false sense of security by believing that software will be the magical solution to their problems. In reality, deploying another layer of technology will never be able to single-handedly improve the FM capability or provision within a business. Emphasis should be on educating a workforce that it is the strategic combination of people, process, and places, applied to a very clear ‘why’, that is the real key to success.
Atalian Servest and its clients are bombarded with content about the need for ‘big data’ and ‘data science’. But what does ‘big data’ or ‘data science’ mean in practical terms? It would be more beneficial to focus on driving ‘effective data’.
We need to encourage people to assess the data they manage from an outside-in perspective. Staff need to understand that their information plays a crucial part in the bigger picture. By actively supporting and encouraging this perspective, we develop skills in data manipulation and in the realisation that this shouldn’t be a task that is completed as a chore. Once this is understood and managed in an efficient way, we can implement positive change with customers.
Developing as a data driven business is a continuous journey. Instead of relying on small networks of data scientists, we should take the time to develop, train and support a larger proportion of our people so that they have the skills to generate the insights needed to influence the work they are doing.
Sales operations have the responsibility of understanding how their services are impacting customers – and insight drives progression. Sales teams are the fixed point in data streams and our ability to collaborate with account managers and operators, HR and learning and development teams means we can constantly evolve and improve how people understand, learn and spot opportunities to help us become successful and effective as a business. Ultimately, the management of data analytics and reporting are a driving force for spearheading transformation within this this sector.