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Nearly half of FMs forecast business unviability if they don’t embrace digital technologies

Almost half (45 per cent) of facilities managers think that their business could become unviable in the next couple of years if it doesn’t improve its digital technologies and skills, according to new research from Watco.

The study found that 72 per cent of FMs admit that their business is slow to embrace digital innovation and 18 per cent said that their biggest priority over the next year will be upskilling and training employees on new technologies.

The research from manufacturer and direct supplier for industrial paint and repair products also found that some innovations have already risen in popularity. In fact, 33 per cent of FMs say that they are using customer portals, and almost a quarter (21 per cent) said that customer portals will be the digital tool which will have the most significant impact on the sector in the next 12 months. This is because customer portals help to maintain a ‘golden thread’ of maintenance information, which is something that is set to become enshrined into law under the Building Safety Act, which is due to come into force in October this year.

On top of this, 55 per cent of FMs are considering introducing resource and management software in the next two years. This software can help to schedule and plan maintenance activities, allocate resources more efficiently, and monitor equipment and facility performance in real time.

The increase in the use of such technologies will be essential to ensuring the smooth running of facilities as, according to the same research, over one quarter (29 per cent) of FMs say that they have seen their workload increase over the past year.

The survey of 250 facilities management professionals revealed the five key technologies that FMs think will have the biggest impact on their role are:

  • Customer portals to maintain a digital ‘golden thread’ of information.
  • Sensor technology (e.g. to understand temperature & air quality metrics),
  • Robotics (e.g. for cleaning tasks).
  • Resource and workforce management software.
  • Internet of Things (IoT).

Lisa O’Neill, Group Marketing Director at Watco, commented: “We know that facilities managers have always been busy, but over the last few years the balancing act has become even more challenging. So, while some businesses have been slow to embrace new tech, it is great to see that facilities managers have recognised where the adoption of new technologies could benefit their business and are planning to upskill their teams accordingly.

“On top of this, it is brilliant to see that FMs are not only looking to increase efficiencies in the workplace, but that the health and safety of users is also being considered as one of the core reasons why new technologies should be implemented.”

To download Watco’s free report ‘Digital Transformation in the Workplace’ click here.

The Voice of Facilities Managers

The past two years have been challenging resulting in the acceleration of change, including digital transformation and how we live and work. Global real estate software solutions business, MRI Software, would like to hear your views on what this means for the future of facilities management and has put together a short survey.

As professionals in property management, your views will help MRI Software to produce its first Voice of Facilities Management Report highlighting the key issues affecting the industry and actionable insights to help the industry thriving.

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes and three lucky respondents will have the chance of winning £150 worth of Amazon vouchers.

To take part please click here

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