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Digitalising FM Requires Partnership

by wrich

By:  Geoff Grateley

Facilities management is finally entering the digital age, with a raft of new technologies developed and implemented over the course of the pandemic to help empower frontline teams, mitigate risks and ultimately to improve operational efficiency. This sounds great, but what does a good digital FM solution look like, and how can organisations in all sectors, from large public venues to retail centres, ensure that they are investing in the right solution?

Developing Solutions in Partnership

The first step to a successful digital FM solution is to recognise that each operation has different needs, and so technology has to be developed in partnership between vendors and end-users. For Over-C, the real-time time analytics & IoT sensor platform, this meant understanding what the key FM challenges were for its client, Southside Shopping Centre, and refining its core system to deliver the right solution.

Southside needed a system that gave them transparency and confidence that they were delivering a clean, safe and secure environment for their customers. This meant that they had to have enhanced control over their data to enable them to make smarter decisions. FM operations typically require a digital solution to help ensure compliance, better manage costs and fulfil sustainability targets. Identifying the core needs lays the foundation for the right digital solution.

Frontline First

From identifying the baseline challenges, the next step in a digital solution is the ensure that it works for the frontline workers it will be empowering. The bottom line for staff on the ground is that they want help to do their jobs more efficiently, with streamlined reporting to enable quicker, effective communication between teams and FM management. 

For Over-C and Southside, this meant working in partnership with those frontline teams as well as with the wider organisation. Having been built from the ground up by frontline workers, the Over-C solution in particular understands the importance these digital tools can have for those working on the ground in FM operations. It is critical that any solution provider understands the disengagement created by “business as usual” and instead offers something decisively different.

Delivering Better FM Results

Working in partnership with both the client senior team and frontline workers is critical for FM vendors looking to deliver a solution that removes friction and optimises customer experience. Digital FM technology, if done right, should ultimately deliver smarter ways of working to help FM teams identify which parts of the operation need digital process improvements in order to save costs and deliver greater operational efficiency.

Solutions should increase FM teams’ confidence in the accuracy of their data and encourage greater teamwork based on that increased trust. Over-C,goes further across sectors including retail, stadium management and transportation, by eliminating paper processes, liberating teams and enabling environmental benefits in support of sustainability programmes. Furthermore, real-time insight into frontline operations can lead to improved claims defensibility, with Southside Shopping Centre seeing a threefold claims defensibility improvement since they began using Over-C’s technology.

FM is going digital, but it’s critical that organisations don’t just invest in new technology for the sake of it. Digitalisation should be done in partnership with a reputable vendor, and should always have frontline teams at the forefront of the design philosophy.

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