The growing trend of digital transformation in FM
Andreas Hadjioannou breaks down the new trend that is digital transformation for the FM sector. what do you need as a service provider?
Every so often a new high-tech buzz word hits the market creating excitement and unexpected demand, forcing us to change our strategies, objectives and mission statement to incorporate this new state-of the art hype. Welcome to the ‘Digital Transformation’ era.
What digital transformation is about in simple terms, is transforming your business to be digital or better transforming your business processes to be aligned or take advantage of the digital technologies of today. What brings about digital transformation is the demand for a more effective and efficient organisation by modernising our systems, processes and culture alignment with the new digital technologies that are evolving day by day.
As with any industry, the success of digital transformation in the FM sector has its challenges, risks and rewards. Behind the enthusiasm, excitement and confusion a digital transformation project brings about innovation, creativity, processes, systems, organisation and culture transformation. There are multiple pillars that need to be taken into consideration in the process - the most important ones are data, people, processes and systems.
The FM industry data generation is evolving in an exponential manner. Data is becoming cheaper to generate and from multiple sources. What new digital technologies are offering today is the ability to collect information from anywhere (a building, equipment, automobiles, or a process) using IoT devices and BMS systems, create big data silos and convert them into predictive knowledge so that the appropriate action takes place towards a more efficient operation.
Digital Transformation for FM should be people-oriented, customer-centric with innovative and streamlined communication channels. It will transform your workers to knowledge workers who will not only use technology to collect data but also have useful information on site and take action upon at the time and place of their collection. This includes performance monitoring, predictive maintenance, energy management and related dashboards.
Digital Transformation is a culture change. Every single department of your organisation must be involved and every single employee, from the technician to the CEO. Everyone must understand what the transformation is about, what’s in it for them, for their department and their organisation.
The core system of any digital transformation is a CAFM system.
The reason being that CAFM systems have been designed by FM experts for FM operations.
You need to incorporate digital technologies by capitalising on the technologies supported by or integrated with your CAFM system and that your vendor will support. CAFM systems should support and be integrated to your finance, procurement and human resources systems. However there must be a clear understanding and responsibility of what data and processes are managed at the operation level and what at the back office level.
Digital transformation is not a static strategy and action plan. It is a continuous journey that needs a well prepared organisation and a structure with a dynamic approach in transforming your business using digital technologies.
This journey is not going to be a smooth one and not without risks. It requires commitment, budget and well established mitigation, transitional and backup plans. This is what we offer with our WebTMA Solutions.
About the author: Andreas Hadjioannou is the director for Virtual IT Consultants a WebTMA CAFM partner.