Q & A: Interview with Facilio, CEO, and Quality Group, operations manager
Sumith Sukumaran, operations manager, Quality Group, UAE
Q: What would you say was the primary reason for the Quality Group to decide to incorporate the Facilio platform as a solution? What were the unmet needs that it fulfilled?
Sumith Sukumaran: The general field services are basically the same across the FM industry. However, a lot of backend capability goes into ensuring smooth functionality and cost-effective operations. Efficiency levels vary significantly, depending on administrative support.
At Quality Group, our goal is to deliver agile and responsive services that put our end customers’ needs first. One of the issues we identified right away was that our in-house CAFM software needed revamping.
As executive managers, we had very limited transparency into which of our incoming calls and service requests required a proactive approach, in terms of issues that were likely to result in escalations.
What makes Facilio’s software particularly effective is that not only does it capture information about process outcomes, customer feedback, persistent issues and more, it also presents this data in an intuitive and contextual way – the right information at the right time to the right people.
The Facilio platform has empowered our operations team to make informed, data-driven decisions. It has helped us streamline our maintenance routines, minimise compliance risks, and gain real-time transparency into operations, tenant requests, and workforce KPIs.
Prabhu Ramachandran, founder & CEO, Facilio Inc.
Q: Looking at Quality Group’s implementation of the Facilio solution from a technology partner’s perspective, what are the outcomes that most validate the platform?
Prabhu Ramachandran: I think what underscores the strengths of the solution most is how Facilio helped the Quality Group achieve rapid, tangible results in terms of customer experience.
Most forward-thinking FM companies are already aware that deploying the right suite of digital solutions is the key to creating end-user value. Meeting high benchmarks for frictionless customer experiences begins with gaining real-time visibility into portfolio-wide operations.
Whether it’s the ability to achieve optimal efficiencies, or deliver responsive and customised services, an IoT-enabled centralised digital platform can transform an FM operation through access to real-time, contextualised data.
Facilio is a flexible solution that enables a suite of cloud-native apps and seamless mobility—empowering stakeholders at every level of an organisation’s hierarchy. Facilio is quick to implement, easy to adopt with minimal training, and proved to be highly effective when we increased frequency of cleaning services and introduced new SOPs when the pandemic broke out.
Q: Could you elaborate on some of the specific positives that Quality Group has been able to achieve as a result of the portfolio-wide visibility and contextualised insights that the Facilio solution has enabled?
SS: We started off by automating maintenance routines and digitising compliance, which had an immediate effect on staff productivity. We set up dedicated portals for tenants to raise requests and complaints via the Facilio mobile app. This allowed us to stay on top priority requests, respond swiftly, and automate resolution or maintenance service without any delay.
As an organisation, Quality Group was able to optimise our workforce and accelerate our strategic initiatives, using the contextualised maintenance management module that Facilio offers. We reduced the hours of investigation, with transparency into workforce performance such as average response time and completion rate of our operations teams.
Customer escalations reduced by 83% across our portfolio, despite the limitations imposed on our operations by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilio also helped our managers better identify the SLA breaches, track staff productivity, and take ownership of escalations. We were able to transparently and authentically communicate with our end customers, by sharing real-time status updates and service quality, improving our customer satisfaction significantly and adding tech-led value to clients.
Within four months of using the Facilio platform, we were able to offer our customers digitised quotations, ensuring better cost transparency and reduced processing time.
Deploying the Facilio solution enabled Quality Group to optimise the entire spectrum of our functions from planned and unplanned maintenance to asset management, stay flexible, and create immense value for end-users.
Q: What are the trends shaping the industry? How effective will digital solutions be in addressing needs that have emerged in the post-pandemic scenario?
PR: A focus on customer experience has transformed every service industry, across the board. In the case of facilities management, sustainability regulations have also driven a lot of change.
Aesthetics and location are no longer the only drivers of property value. Customers are increasingly demanding better maintained facilities, better communication on the status of the property, and superior comfort and safety in physical spaces.
Contemporary customers don’t just expect FM service providers to react and resolve inefficiencies, they want them to proactively address pain-points before they are impacted.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased focus on the health and safety of occupants. Heightened sanitisation requirements, touchless services, regular updates and visitor access control are now critical to ensuring tenant confidence.
Reconciling such pressures with cost-effective and profitable FM operations requires accurate real-time insights into operations. At Facilio, we recognise the opportunity that this value-added role for FM services represents. A unified platform approach and data-driven building operations will be the key to empowering the next generation of FM leaders, as they adapt to the new normal.
Q: What future trends do you see emerging in facilities management? How can different ecosystem players come together, not just for the short term, but also for long term innovation? What technologies do you think will emerge as the default solutions for the industry?
SS: No one could have anticipated the dramatically-altered circumstances we are dealing with in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If anything, this scenario has made the case for a centralised digital platform even more compelling. We began using the Facilio solution just before the pandemic and I believe that it significantly boosted our ability to cope with this challenge. It has laid a data-driven foundation for us to improve our services, and offer new predictive analytics and maintenance services in the near future.
The influence of big data, as in an IoT and AI enabled predictive approach to maintenance, will definitely be the most sought after future trend – in fact it is already happening. Having said that, the new age CAFM systems will need to have the capability to adapt to these fast paced trends, as well as the ability to seamlessly integrate with diverse platforms hosting such services.
PR: The industry’s appetite for innovation, and accelerated adoption of the digital solutions like Facilio, is on the rise. IoT and data-led management of portfolio operations, is on its way to becoming a default model of CRE operations. Coping with the pandemic has provided CRE businesses with real world evidence of the model’s effectiveness.
Many of the same features that enable optimal efficiency also result in greater resilience to disruption. There’s no doubt that a centralised digital platform will simplify mission-critical outcomes in the new normal. Digital solutions will be at the heart of addressing all kinds of FM needs - be it deep-cleaning routines, managing essential inventory, visitor management, touchless occupant experiences, portfolio analytics, or automated compliance.
The value of operational command centers, with a 360-degree view of facility operations and the ability to coordinate all resources and workforces, has become more evident to the industry. This unified and real-time digital model has proved that it’s agile enough to respond to sudden and dramatic disruptions, just as easily as it’s able to optimise everyday operations.