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BLOG by Susanna Caravatti-Felchlin, EuroFM Ambassador of Switzerland: Digitalization supports Facility Manager to provide superior experiences

July 10, 2023

In recent years, the digital revolution has reshaped industries across the globe, and facility management is no exception. The convergence of technology and facility management has given rise to a new era of efficiency and enhanced productivity.

Digitalization in facility management brings forth a plethora of opportunities to cooperate by using data in a common environment for all, owner, occupants, and facility managers.

Common Data Environment CDE
Digitalization allows facility managers to manage data and documents in one place, to connect user and provider of operational processes and systems throughout the building lifecycle whereas data becomes an invaluable source of truth. This helps to improve collaboration, reduce the risk of errors and delays, and support compliance with relevant standards and regulations.

Common use of data
Digitalization in FM requires standardization. By collaborating over the various FM disciplines in a company to define common data structure and data management, the mutual understanding increases significantly. Using the same data rises the quality of the data itself and makes processes more efficient. Therefore, facility managers can identify trends, patterns, and potential areas of improvement much easier. This data-driven approach enables proactive maintenance, predictive asset management, resource optimization, etc..

Value of common data
If you have ever had to bring data from multiple systems and applications together, you know what an expensive and time-consuming task that can be. Without being able to share and understand the same data easily, each application or process runs on its own and requires separate data maintenance. A common data model offers comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, providing valuable insights for strategic decision-making and resource optimization. Facility managers can identify energy-saving opportunities, optimize space utilization, and implement sustainability initiatives based on accurate insights derived from real-time data.

Transformation is demanding
Digitalization plays a pivotal role in transforming facility management by driving significant changes and improvements across various aspects of the field. Facility managers have been taught to think and operate in centralized, siloed, hierarchical structures, to focus on efficiency and predictability in order to scale reliable, consistent delivery of products and services. But digitization requires a great willingness to learn new things, to approach things differently and to work together with others. A facility manager must be willing to rethink processes and work in a much more interdisciplinary and integral way.

Developing and piloting a new FM concept requires a great deal of commitment by the facility manager and the support of management. New investments must be justified, i.e. the added value must be shown. Once this important milestone has been reached, the implementation begins, which requires a lot of persuasion for the new solution and patience in the change management process from everyone involved.

Conventional leadership principles were not designed for the demands of digital transformation. We must adapt them. We do not need to change what we think as much as we must change how we think. In cooperation with the person responsible for change from human resources and IT specialists from computer science, we can achieve our goals in digitization.

As digitalization continues to advance, facility managers must stay agile and embrace and drive innovation to leverage its full potential for a sustainable and efficient future in facility management. Interdisciplinary cooperation allows us to achieve much more than we think today. Digitalization has the transformative power and therefore a big impact on facility management. Let’s recognize the potential and use it.

I give the pencil to Thomas Madritsch, ambassador of Austria to write the next EuroFM blog.

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