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Software evolution


A hugely important contribution to the transition has been the work of a dedicated integration team, which operates across all MRI businesses. MRI has rebranded FSI to create an MRI Facilities Management business, explains Massey: “That’s not to say we have lost the heritage of FSI but have tied it into our product family. I’ve done a lot of face-to-face meetings recently with existing Evolution clients and MRI clients who don’t have Evolution, and they now have a good vision of the product ecosystem and clients are saying to us, that they love the vision.

“For example, a large service provider gave us feedback last week and said, ‘this is just phenomenal. What you’ve brought together, is our energy management, space management, presence, property, digital service, all together into a single combined ecosystem’.

“We’ve got a lot to show our people at the conferences coming up, including our flagship client event in December. We’re also going to be running more FM focused user groups in the New Year. At these events we’ll showcase all these new technologies and case studies on our first joint clients who’ve bought our property and our facilities management software.

For many FMs though, there’s often a huge learning curve in working out what kind of data they need, what’s useful and what is not. Massey feels strongly that all too often projects go through huge amounts of ‘data blinds’ (an overload of data), get to the end and ask, ‘Do we need all this? What actual reports do we want to get out of this?’

He explains: “My background is consultancy so I always begin at the end, map out
each stakeholder and ask ‘what do the board, the CFO want for the individual needs of the business?’ You then map all those things out and define your data strategy from there.

“All too often, people gather too much granularity, which becomes unusable from a user interface perspective, and unreportable from a reporting perspective. The trick is to work out what you need to get and start that process early in the project. For existing clients it’s never too late to review your data, as there is so much value in drawing good information.”


CAFM systems were developed to primarily focus on the physical space of the building, its people and its assets, but the world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and FMs have to adapt accordingly. This is why argues Massey, FM software needs to be agile enough to support FMs in a myriad of ways, from managing hybrid working environments, to monitoring energy use.

This is why, he believes: “CAFM is an old phrase, I think now it’s more accurately described as ‘enterprise facilities management solutions, and when you look at search engines you’ll find ‘enterprise FM’ or ‘FM Software’ are becoming more searched for; plus for those who have systems on-site let’s move them into the cloud and take away any cybersecurity risk, while reducing the amount of energy being used by local servers.”

Going forward he predicts a greater level of systems integration, the growing importance of IoT and the continued development of AI technologies. For instance, some of the latest developments in MRI’s platform are designed to compare assets and the total cost of using them, to enable workplace and property people to make decisions based on machine learning, rather than retrospectively, based on how often an asset has needed fixing or replacing.

He’s also enthusiastic about the power of digital technology in supporting FMs: “Given the ever-increasing cost base which can erode away your profit margins, you need to do more with less and I think technology is one enabler to that. Used well [digital tech] should help FM providers keep that margin they need to invest back into their business.”

He adds: “As people demand more digital services there will be a shift from those classic channels such as telephony to digital first. Everything we do in our everyday lives is instant and systems at work need to adapt to that.”

By way of example, he says there is already more demand for ‘at your service apps’, which enable end users/occupiers to report issues more easily, which are beginning to overtake helpdesks.

And when it comes to convincing the Board to invest in FM software, data is the key: “Always baseline the problem. Say you’re struggling to control your cost base, with staff motivation, what I would say is: ‘A good FM product will give you a good ultimate consumer experience, it will give you that information you need at the board table – based on accurate information’.

“Data wins arguments, but you’ve got to be able to trust the data, so every good FM system should validate everything that is put into it. Data validation at point of entry is essential, as is a clearly defined strategy for data governance. It’s about having a good experience for all stakeholders, and for operatives using a device.

“Ultimately we’ve got to keep it simple and engage with organisations to ensure we offer both clients and end users a rich experience.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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