Saudi’s growing appetite for CAFM
The Saudi FM market is expected to hit $50bn by 2030 which will make it the biggest in the GCC. Adrian Jarvis, director of FSI (FM Solutions) Middle East speaks about the inroads made by his company in the Kingdom
What’s the level of CAFM adoption in Saudi both in terms of service providers and asset owners?
Initially CAFM adoption in Saudi was led by international service providers, who understand the benefit of technology, using centralised CAFM systems setup and deployed from their European or UAE based offices. We then witnessed a number of forward-thinking local service providers adopt CAFM within their businesses, some opting for on premise installations but with an increasing number going with cloud based hosted solutions. Recently we have seen asset owners in hotel, healthcare, education, and financial services implement CAFM either directly or via their service partners. There have also been a number of organisations trial CAFM with a view to rolling-out wider solutions over time. Implementation of CAFM was at first at a fairly basic level, often because of a limited understanding and knowledge of FM or lack of data to drive the system i.e. an accurate asset register or a deficit of internal business processes. This means there is often an education process when engaging with an organisation both pre-sale and during implementation which is perhaps a barrier to wider adoption of CAFM in the Kingdom. As FM practises mature in the Kingdom and contracts move from input to output, the demand for CAFM will grow.
How has the market responded to CAFM system over the last 12 months?
We continue to receive a growing number of enquiries from within the Kingdom and have had a number of service providers and asset owners come on board with FSI over the last year. During 2018 we also began to see increased take up of workforce mobility applications on smart phone for use by technicians, supervisors and asset managers. There has also been an appetite for end-user apps as part of further phases of adoption of technology. Furthermore, the desire to integrate CAFM between ERP, CRM, HR, property Management, BMS and IoT sensors has been the topic of many discussions.
What’s your forecast for the coming 12 months?
FSI expects to see continued interest for the Saudi market with an increasing number of asset owners beginning to understand the benefits of using technology to manage and control the facilities and service delivery. We have a strong pipeline of opportunities and with the market maturing we see a number of these come to fruition in the short to medium term.
What difference does installing a CAFM system make to an asset?
The benefits of CAFM have been widely discussed for some years in terms of improved customer service, increase productivity and efficiency, automation of processes, accurate measurement and visibility of compliance, SLA/KPI performance monitoring and asset categorisation, management and life-cycle tracking. However, the use of technology within the FM sector continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The amount of disruption and change in the digital workplace means building managers and service providers cannot afford to be content with their technology platforms simply treading water. Big data and complex analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), an agile and mobile workforce, and the Cloud are just some aspects of technology that must now be considered. Implementing an FM platform that supports these technologies – among others – and enables collaborative working with a building’s owner, occupants, and other business systems leads to both, flexibility and agility in service delivery. Intelligent buildings yield vast volumes of data from a plethora of systems, sensors, and data sources, but how that data is interpreted and used collaboratively is what contributes value and efficiencies. The key is to leverage the IoT ecosystem with technologies that can sense, communicate, analyse, and drive best practices. CAFM is therefore key to the FM industry, and the coming generation of FM apps in end users’ hands has considerable potential for both clients and end-user consumers of the service alike. Smartphones and the apps on them have been growing as a key interface for maintenance and other FM professionals. Inputting data into CAFM or similar systems through a smartphone interface is seen, if anything, as a better solution than the dedicated data recording devices that have been so ubiquitous but are so quickly being displaced.
What’s new, and what brings with it the potential to hugely affect both the type of facilities service and its delivery, is end users themselves gaining access to FM systems and departments through such apps – allowing those who actually experience the service to benefit from a direct connection to those providing it.