The Facilities Manager always seems to be that person in the organization who knows everything and everyone.
His or her typical day is spent bouncing around between a variety of meetings, while juggling scenarios ranging from the simple burnt lightbulbs or damaged door hardware to an inoperative HVAC unit, broken pipe, and major projects like mold remediation. Plus, that is combined with time spent on contractor management, budget updates, mandated reports and personnel management. No matter the specific agenda of the day, being the voice of the maintenance operations department always includes a layered variety of daily tasks, long-term projects and expecting the unexpected.
It’s no wonder the Facilities Manager seems to have an answer or an idea for everything. They know in the world of facility management, you can never know enough.
The facilities manager of the future strides one foot in the boiler room and one in the boardroom.
As software has been around for years to focus upon inventory management, planned maintenance, work order management, capital planning, building automation and other facility management aspects, business intelligence (BI) is transforming insight into facilities management. The vision BI provides through actual data to reinforce the stories within your maintenance operations has the power to address and alleviate the executive board’s bottom-line business pain points.
The usual suspects include:
Experienced managers know they have infinite needs struggling against finite resources, so getting the best out of what they have is essential.
Facilities managers need to think and act strategically as they are increasingly required to communicate and report what is occurring to the “C-suite” (senior management, titles beginning with "chief"), and do it in “C-suite language”.
And what better way than with data analysis, reporting tools and key performance indicators behind operational performance? It’s already in the wheelhouse of the Facilities Manager, it is simply a matter of formalizing that knowledge into a digestible and interactive format.
In the boardroom, there has been a heightened interest in metrics, data and business intelligence. Executives not only want to know what budget resources have been used, but how they should be used. Not merely how staff resources are being used, but where and on what they might be best dedicated. Data insight leads to conversations and addresses why, what, who, where, when and how energies and resources can be focused.
The facilities manager of the future doesn’t simply report KPIs, but uses data to recommend strategic initiatives and contribute to the organization’s mission, vision and to the bottom line. They need to have access to usable and meaningful information that fosters informed decision making. Beyond how much time and expenses are directed toward repairs, trends can indicate how to better maintain equipment, how to avoid downtime and deviations in performance, comparisons to previous performance, and even peer performance.
Facilities Managers of the future will not only report data as that can be simply reviewed. They will interpret data, address questions, propose strategic initiatives, take action and measure results that emerge from those actions.
The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard