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BLOG by Prof.(FH) Dr. Thomas Madritsch, EuroFM Ambassador of Austria: Digitalization in FM – Gold or Silver?

August 14, 2023

Which kind of contribution does digitalization and the use of data as well intelligent software make facility management better, faster and more efficient? Future challenges for Facility Management such as sustainability, innovative flexible workplace management and the automation of reporting processes are drivers of innovation in FM. Digitization can not only make a major contribution to this, it can also enable FM-Companies to perform processes economically in the first place.

Digitalization in Facility Management (FM) brings with it several significant benefits and opportunities. Here are some of the key chances that arise through digitalization in FM:

Improved Efficiency
Digital tools and automation streamline FM processes, reduce manual work and improve overall operational efficiency. Tasks such as work order management, asset tracking, and scheduling preventive maintenance can be automated, saving time and reducing errors.

Enhanced Data-driven Decision Making
Digitalization enables FM professionals to collect and analyze large volumes of data from various sources, such as IoT sensors, CMMS, and energy management systems. This data provides valuable insights into facility performance, resource utilization, and occupant behavior, allowing for informed decision making and optimization of FM strategies.

Predictive Maintenance
By leveraging data analytics and machine learning algorithms, FM professionals can gain insights into facility performance, predict maintenance needs, and optimize resource allocation. Predictive maintenance helps to identify equipment failures before they occur, reducing downtime and improving overall operational efficiency.

Cost Reduction
Digitalization helps to optimize resource allocation and reduce operational costs in FM. Through real-time data monitoring, energy management systems, and smart building controls, facilities can identify energy inefficiencies, implement energy-saving measures, and optimize resource usage, resulting in cost savings.

Improved Occupant Experience
Digital solutions enable better communication and engagement with facility occupants. Mobile apps and self-service portals allow occupants to report issues, request services, and provide feedback easily. This improves response time, enhances customer satisfaction, and promotes a positive occupant experience.

Sustainability and Environmental Efficiency
Digital tools and systems contribute to sustainability goals in FM. Energy management systems, IoT sensors, and BIM technologies help optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and enhance environmental efficiency. Data analytics can identify opportunities for energy savings and support the implementation of sustainable practices.

Integration and Collaboration
Digitalization enables integration and collaboration across different FM functions and stakeholders. Integrated software platforms, such as IWMS, facilitate seamless data sharing and communication among various teams, including maintenance, space management, and procurement. This enhances coordination, improves workflow, and fosters collaboration.

Continuous Improvement
Digitalization supports a culture of continuous improvement in FM. By leveraging data analytics and performance metrics, FM professionals can monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), identify areas for improvement, and implement targeted strategies for enhanced facility management.

Mobile Applications:
Mobile apps are increasingly being used by FM professionals to streamline work processes, improve communication, and enhance productivity. These apps boost tasks such as facility inspections, work order management, asset tracking, and real-time collaboration among team members.

Of course, not everything in digitization is gold, and numerous dangers must be avoided. Unfortunately, the fact that transformation represents a major investment is unescapable. Strategic planning and procurement and the use of the necessary tools are cost-intensive: Also, the training or recruitment of qualified experts is particularly expensive in order to build up the necessary expertise.

It is important to note that digitalization also brings its own challenges, such as data security, system integration, and change management. However, by effectively addressing these challenges, organizations can harness the opportunities presented by digitalization to transform their FM practices and achieve improved outcomes.

Overall, digitalization in FM enables more efficient and data-driven decision-making, enhances operational performance, and improves the overall management of facilities. It helps FM professionals to optimize resources, reduce costs, and deliver better services to occupants and stakeholders.

I give the pencil to Michael May, ambassador of Germany to write the next EuroFM blog.

Thomas Madritsch
FM-Ambassador of Austria

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