Over the past few years… or decades, we’ve witnessed (and experienced) how data and new technologies have helped create some exceptional working environments.
With a clear impact on employees’ wellbeing and productivity.
We’ve been witnessing facility management becoming increasingly tech-led. With technology used to automate processes, digitalize operations, and, overall, improve efficiency.
But how do you drive all these benefits?
How do you adapt to this digital transformation of the facility management processes?
In this article you’ll learn:
- What are the main challenges of digital implementation (and how to overcome them)
- What successful strategies and tactics to adopt
- What are the emerging technologies in facility management to consider, evaluate, and implement
So, without further ado…
- Facility management undergoes digital transformation for streamlined operations and sustainability.
- Lack of tech expertise, resistance to change, inefficient data management, onboarding issues, and budget constraints are some of the main challenges on the road to digital adoption.
- Some of the strategic solutions to overcome these barriers are: proper employee training, transparent change management, efficient data practices, clear communication, and cybersecurity prioritization.
- The winning approach to digital transformation calls for developing a digital transformation strategy, assessing current processes, setting clear goals, creating a roadmap, building a robust digital infrastructure, implementing smart workplace tech, and fostering stakeholder collaboration.
- Predicted disruptions by 2033 are the increased use of data analytics and automation, AI, machine learning, and VR/AR applications
Facility Management in the Changing Digital Digital Landscape
One in every four organizations planned to spend 16% to 30% more on facility management software in 2022, according to a Gartner survey.
And almost 80% of the business leaders surveyed were already using property and facility management software.
That means that the facility management sector has long gone beyond mere digitization – converting analog data into digital form.
It is undergoing digital transformation.
That is, facility managers and facility management organizations are transforming the very core and the way they operate.
Adopting tools and systems that help them make their facility and property management workflows simpler, more efficient, and more automated. And more sustainable.
A process that’s been going on for decades now.
And that’s grown from a mere trend into a massive shift. One pressing facility managers and facility management teams to:
- develop the needed skills to collect and use data to make better decisions
- keep up with the changing demands of the workplace
- develop new processes, new strategies, new approaches to facility management
Challenges on the Road to Digital Adoption
As promised in the intro, we’re going to expose to you the biggest barriers to expect in your digital transformation journey.
AND the best solutions to overcome them.
Lack of Expertise to Lead Digitization Initiatives
At this point in your journey, it is possible that you do not have the right technically skilled people on board. Yet.
And having the combo of the right technology and the right talent/proper IT skills is crucial for a successful digital transformation.
- Train your employees. Help them gain the right type of knowledge and acquire the needed skills for innovation
- Look outside your current workforce: establish collaborations with external tech consultants to help you bridge the implementation gap, consider new hires
And yet, you don’t want to outsource entirely the process of reaching your company’s digital transformation goals.
If you want to overcome this challenge long-term, building your own in-house team to create and implement your strategy for FM digital transformation should be your main objective.
Resistance to Change and Workplace Change Management Strategy
New technologies are being integrated into the once-familiar facility management operations. And a whole new business model and culture are being adopted.
In short, digital transformation requires a holistic approach and mindset.
Which translates into a myriad of big and small changes.
And people are resistant to change.
That they feel threatened by. And that they often misunderstand.
This is why developing and implementing a solid change management strategy should come first. If you want to ensure you’ll reach your digital transformation objectives.
Outline your change management plan: focus on building relationships with your employees and all the stakeholders, as well as on identifying the root causes of this discomfort toward digital transformation.
Be transparent with all the changes you’re planning to implement and with all their implications. And be consistent with the message you’re delivering. Transparency and predictability are two factors that will alleviate this resistance and fear of change.
Make it clear to your employees what’s at stake. Focus on the WHY of your digital transformation efforts and help them feel that they can all work towards reaching your objectives.
Inefficient Data Management
Successful digital transformation feeds on data.
And data analytics is a tool too powerful for any facility manager to underestimate. You need data on:
- Usage patterns
- Building performance
- Tenant preferences
This is why an ineffective way of collecting and organizing your data is the shortest path to compromising all your digital transformation efforts.
- Implement processes and policies that enable you to collect, retrieve, analyze, store, and use your data in a secure and accurate way. In short: prioritize efficient data management practices.
- Select the best workplace analytics, data storage, and data management solution for your specific needs and requirements.
Onboarding New Technologies and Training Employees to Use Them
Fear of uncertainty and fear of a time-consuming and expensive process are the main barriers to replacing legacy (familiar) systems with new technologies. And with new processes.
They call for specific training and for a certain period of time for adoption.
- Communicate, clearly and regularly, how the new technologies will improve the employees' daily workflows. And explain what their benefits at the company level are.
- Provide all the needed training required so that they grow confident (and less resistant or fearful) in using the new tools.
- Encourage all kinds of feedback: both positive and negative.
Limited Budget and Resources for Implementation
Building your own digital infrastructure, integrating it, and adopting whole new facility management processes does involve significant costs.
In other words, digital transformation is not cheap.
But it gets even more costly if you add in IT errors or the implementation of a flawed digital transformation strategy.
- Prioritize cybersecurity: put in place a secured infrastructure that’ll protect your budget from unexpected future expenses.
- Pinpoint your long-term objectives and planned ROI for your digital transformation efforts. This way, you see exactly what investment (and spending) is of high priority, where you’d be overspending, and you can identify the potential to increase your budget.
A Winning Approach to Digital Facility Management
Doing digital vs being digital.
Or “cutting corners” in introducing the latest technology into your company vs strategically planning for the new digital implementations, properly training your employees, and transforming the very way in which you do business.
That is, thinking and acting digitally across your company.
What does proper planning for new digital implementation and adoption imply?
Here are 7 key steps you don’t want to skip:
Building a Strategy for Digital Transformation in Facility Management
- identifying your goals and timelines
- planning out all the changes to your current facility management processes brought by the new technologies you’re adopting
And your digital transformation strategy comes down to 3 types of planned changes:
- To your IT infrastructure: replacing legacy systems, adopting cloud computing, etc.
- To your internal processes and facility management operations aimed at reducing labor overhead and making them more efficient, more… automated
- To your workplace culture
Note! A digital transformation strategy is not an inventory of performance goals. It is a plan pinpointing how you’ll overcome the barriers that stand between where you are now and what digital transformation goals you want to achieve.
On that note, it should include:
- A diagnosis: what’s working efficiently already and what needs improvement in your business?
- A concrete plan of action: it outlines specific actions, tasks, and responsibilities, as well as the key performance indicators for success.
Assessing the Current State of Facility Management Processes and Technologies
This is the stage where you review the goals, mission, and objectives of your facility.
And where you assess all the current facility management processes and procedures.
It’s that facilities management audit tracking where you:
- strive to understand the current state of your management facility
- identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement
- make an inventory of the strong and weak points of your current FM practices
Setting Goals and Objectives for Digital Transformation
As well as the metrics you’ll use to measure the success of your efforts.
Here are some of the digital transformation objectives you might want to pinpoint here:
- Higher FM operation efficiency
- Reduced costs
- Improved productivity – according to the same above-mentioned Garner survey, for 51% of the surveyed companies improved productivity was the main trigger for investing in facility management software
- Higher occupant satisfaction
- Improved sustainability
And it’s here that you define your baselines and benchmarks so you can compare your future performance against your targets and your competing companies.
Developing a Roadmap for Implementation
A roadmap that aligns with your already defined goals and objectives. That meets your operational needs and makes the most of your resources.
- sets a timeline for deployment
- covers the aspects of all the needed training and support
And here are the 7 main steps to include in your roadmap creation process:
- Conduct an audit of all your current processes, used technologies, and performance
- Set the objectives for your FM tech roadmap
- Explore your options in terms FM technology
- Rank your options by impact, feasibility, urgency, importance
- Put together a timeline (and budget) for your facility management tech roadmap
- Implement your plan
- Measure and monitor the performance of your FM tech implementations: are the results aligned with your needs and objectives?
Creating a Digital Infrastructure for Facility Management Operations
Your digital infrastructure will be the very backbone of all your future innovations.
So, you want it to be robust enough to collect and compile all the needed building operational data.
And you want it to be flexible enough to provide you with the connectivity you need to analyze and drive insights from your data. And to ultimately leverage it to reach your objectives.
It’s a network made of:
- Tools and technology to be used for instant deployment to improve the efficiency of your FM operations
- Interacting users
- FM processes
Implementing Smart Workplace Management Technology
Workplace management technology helps you reach those very goals and objectives you will have already by this stage (improved productivity and efficiency, higher occupant satisfaction, improved sustainability, etc.)
As it will help you optimize the use of the managed space and of the resources available.
But how exactly can you drive value from your workplace management software?
For the sake of accuracy, we’ll analyze a specific workplace technology software: YAROOMS Workplace Experience Platform.
Gain clarity and valuable insights into how the office space is used.
… And into what makes its users feel satisfied (or not) with it.
With such valuable (real-time) office usage data at hand, you can make more informed, data-driven decisions about optimizing the space you’re managing.
Like making the most out of those areas where people seem to gather most often and maybe even sub-renting the areas that are the most “unpopular” among the office users.
Have all your workplace apps work together, centralized under the same platform.
This way, your digital infrastructure becomes a more streamlined ecosystem that:
- reduces manual work
- accelerates workplace technology adoption
- optimizes workflows
- makes technology less complex and easier to use
- improves productivity
- reduces costs
Gain full visibility over how many users are in the office at one specific moment in time.
… And what areas of the workspace they’re using.
With metrics like average workspace utilization and foot traffic, number of no-shows, and level of employee satisfaction, that YAROOMS Workplace Experience Platform provides you with, you can make those data-based decisions that will:
- Increase office utilization
- Cut down on real estate costs by identifying and taking advantage of all the optimization opportunities
3.7. Encouraging Stakeholder Collaboration
The overall success of your digital transformation journey depends on stakeholders’ perceived benefits that derive from adopting the new technologies.
And this is where your mission to gain stakeholder buy-in and manage their expectations comes into play.
The whole process comes down to 4 main steps:
- Identify your stakeholders
- Understand their needs and how your proposed digital innovations will come to meet those needs
- Anticipate, plan for, and eventually handle resistance
- Put together a clear message and clearly communicate it clearly
Future Outlook and Emerging Technologies in Facility Management Digital Transformation
Integration of virtual and augmented reality, advanced automation, IoT and AI, predictive analytics, renewable energy sources…
These are just some of the new technologies that are and will continue to reshape facilities management in the near future.
Let’s take a closer look.
Potential Disruptions and Advancements in the Field
The 3 pillars expected to change (completely) the facility management industry by 2033 are data analytics, automation, and sustainability.
Stemming from these 3 pillars, the innovations, and advancements in this field include:
- Real-time monitoring and automation: more and more facility managers will be able to detect, in real-time, equipment malfunctions and act, accordingly, immediately
- AI and predictive maintenance: it makes it possible for facility managers to analyze the data at hand and proactively schedule maintenance tasks
- Predictive analytics supporting strategic decision-making: with valuable insight gained from data analytics, facility managers can make informed, data-based decisions toward improving FM operations
- IoT and building automation systems: optimizing performance and energy consumption becomes easier for facility management due to the smart building solutions and IoT devices integrated into the buildings they manage
- Energy-efficient systems and sustainability innovations: advanced technologies, like HVAC systems and smart lighting, help facility managers reach their objectives of reducing environmental impact and cutting down on costs
The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Machine Learning (ML) In Facility Management
We’re witnessing an increasing demand in the industry for the implementation of AI and machine learning technologies that:
- enable facilities to be more efficient
- offer facility managers a more holistic approach to monitoring and improving buildings’ performance
- help facility managers better understand the lifecycles of the equipment and physical assets in the building, as well as the peak-hour demand of the managed space
- provide facility management with actionable insights into the various facility deficiencies
- help facility managers make better predictions and identity optimization opportunities more easily
Exploring Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Applications
The two technologies can be integrated into facility management for:
- remote monitoring
- maintenance guidance
- real-time visualization of facility data
Specialists in the facility management industry are seeking faster, easier, and more cost-effective ways of doing things.
And the latest technological advancements, along with the increasing adoption of digital processes and methodologies, come to support this… quest.
Leading to predictions stating that half of the facility management jobs will grow fully automated in the near future.
But with the tactics and strategies revealed to you in this article, you’ll be already one step ahead.
Ready to adapt and remain competitive in a fully digitized facility management sector.