FMJ takes a close look at the trends impacting CAFM, talking to industry experts about their views on outsourcing, mobile technology, access requirements, hot desking, early adoption of technology and more
Earlier this year, FMJ sat down with Claire Visser, director at CAFM Explorer, who had plenty of interesting things to say about CAFM systems and their role in the future of the FM industry.
“Facilities management is an ever-changing landscape,” Visser says. “So is technology. People and companies need to have a continuing drive to educate themselves and understand trends.
“At CAFM Explorer we aim to provide a comprehensive, all-in-one facilities software solution designed to deliver the functionality a business needs to run an efficient and compliant facility. As standard, we cover areas such as help desk, cost control, asset tracking, property management, room booking and include an intuitive reporting dashboard. Beyond this, clients have the opportunity to grow into the software however and whenever they need to. This all-inclusive functionality is in itself the first trend we are seeing – customers no longer want disparate systems and appreciate and benefit from having all of their data in one place.”
Of course in such a rapidly-developing industry, companies also need to be aware, as far as possible, about how needs and technology are changing so that they can adapt accordingly. What other trends have CAFM Explorer identified?
“Outsourcing FM support services is almost guaranteed in many sectors, but more and more companies are preferring to directly own their CAFM system. There are a variety of reasons for this, with many FMs now understanding just how valuable the information and intelligence gathered can be. Owning data not only provides greater visibility, it also gives companies the ability to be compliant where required and to adjust and manage their facilities efficiently according to their organisational requirements.
“Similarly mobile technology is becoming more common, both for auditing and business efficiency. Alongside this, we are also seeing an increase in requests for access from any device (BYOD) which creates its own issues – a good CAFM solution will be able to handle this request!“
“The advances in the mobile sector are improving FM efficiency everyday by streamlining the entire process and improving communication. As always, the people who are able to adopt the most beneficial technology first will stand to benefit the most in the future.”
“Finally, we are seeing that customers are wanting to future-proof themselves and adopt more robust and efficient ways of managing their facilities. Intelligent buildings, increased hot desking, integrations with smart building monitoring systems and pressures on utilisation mean there are a growing number of users looking to broaden the functionality, tracking and reporting available within their CAFM system.”
So far so good, but do the other major players in the CAFM sector agree with CAFM Explorer’s assessment? FMJ spoke to them to find out.
SERVICE WORKS GROUP
Gary Watkins, CEO at Service Works Group had the following to say: “Facilities management is a forward-thinking profession, embracing technology to improve the efficiency of the FM function. The industry is showing growing confidence in the benefits of Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software, with the percentage of facilities managers reporting using FM software increasing significantly year-on-year. The continued key challenge of budgetary pressure is having a positive impact on the number of businesses adopting CAFM. In an industry that is fighting its way towards the board room, with an increased responsibility for productivity and workforce satisfaction, facilities managers are recognising that using CAFM creates value through the ability to make better informed management decisions and employing more efficient working practices to increase service quality and output.
“Transparency and information management are vital for managing large areas of space, assets and buildings, as well as the many requests of a diverse workforce and contractual SLAs and KPIs. The comprehensive reporting capability of FM software provides facilities managers with access to business critical information, enabling them to manipulate data to aid strategic FM planning whilst ensuring complete auditability.
“Integrating CAFM with other software applications is also becoming more commonplace as businesses strive to improve operational efficiency.
“Many organisations are realising how FM software can be integrated with a wide range of systems, including BMS (building management systems), accounting software, ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions, human resources tools, security access systems, space planning applications, environmental management systems, BIM (building information modelling), smart assets, geolocation systems, CAD (computer-aided design), and health and safety registers, to give the capability to deliver one version of the truth and to create a fully functional enterprise-wide solution.
“With BIM as a mandatory requirement on all UK public sector projects, and as BIM gains global momentum, there is a slow but steady move to integrate CAFM with BIM. This offers a great opportunity for the facilities industry to impact the whole life-cost of a building by working collaboratively with the architecture and construction sectors. Interfacing CAFM software with BIM
streamlines the move from design and construction to operation, allowing facilities managers to leverage BIM data in order to quickly build an accurate asset register upon which effective reactive maintenance tasks and PPM activities can be scheduled.
“The continued upward trend for outsourcing in the FM industry goes hand-in-hand with clients’ expectations for financial savings, improved technical expertise and access to best practice. This is mirrored by an FM industry that is looking to reap the benefits of FM software to create a more productive and cost-efficient workplace. CAFM, along with other technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and mobile apps, are the new holy grail for improving FM delivery services and transparency, while ‘big data’ and analytics link data to decision making to improve productivity and service quality. Big data has entered the arena in a flamboyant fashion as organisations explore the potential for business improvement that can be achieved by maximising the wealth of information we have at our fingertips. Almost every aspect of work is affected by, or relies upon, evidence and data and the world of FM is no exception.”