Every industry is adapting to make use of new technologies that can improve process efficiency and cut costs. Financial institutions are introducing advanced ATMs to cut back on lines at local branches and companies are replacing their remote servers with cloud-based platforms that enable employees to share information across locations. Therefore, it makes sense that facilities managers would do the same.
Business analyst from Emrill Services Ron Sengco recently told Construction Week Online that he believes three trends will change how buildings are constructed and operated in the future - cloud technology, mobile devices and the drive to analyze real-time data. Today's facility managers have taken note of these trends and are beginning to invest in platforms that leverage all three - integrated workplace management systems (IWMS).
Unlike spreadsheets that are still being used by some facilities maintenance managers to house information about assets, space utilization, supply vendors and move plans, industry-specific software has been developed to help professionals in the field do their jobs better, FM Link reports. This finding is supported by a recently released Service Works Group survey that interviewed professionals throughout the United Kingdom.
The FM software survey asked end-users, service providers and consultants that worked across a range of industries, including educational facilities, training agencies, professional bodies, government organizations, IT firms, financial services companies, insurance providers and legal practices about their decisions to invest in facility maintenance software and found that these tools have proven beneficial in today's changing workplace.
The majority of users said the software helped them to improve cost-efficiencies, enhance productivity and auditability, as reported by FM Link. Software that offers these kinds of advantages may become even more integral to facility maintenance teams' success as their budgets shrink - a trend some FMs say they have already started to see.
More than one-third (36 percent) of survey participants said their employers had slashed their budgets in the past year. The minority that saw expense allocations go up said these dollars were often mean to prepare for business growth. As companies expand, FMs will need to ensure there will be enough space and equipment to properly outfit new hires - this is where an IWMS comes in particularly handy.
Using move management software, FMs can plan strategically for growth to ensure there are adequate resources in advance. These platforms enable them to see where space is already available, and how to create some if there is none. Coupled with space utilization programs, FMs can identify if there are designated areas that are being under-used, such as a meeting room that is infrequently booked or desks that are reserved for individuals who work primarily from home.
Web-based applications enable facilities managers to test potential solutions, like splitting a large conference room into a smaller space and partitioning off the remaining square footage for additional offices. When the optimal transition is identified, FMs can make the changes in real-time, generate work tickets and create records that can be seen by other team members, company managers and human resources professionals. Because the platforms provide up-to-the-minute information on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops, all users within the facility can see updates as they are made and avoid circumstances that will impact productivity, like staff members reserving the down-sized meeting space only to find out they need a larger room.
Move management is just one of the many benefits FMs are recognizing as they incorporate advanced technologies into their daily workflows. Others include reactive maintenance, planned maintenance and asset management, FM Link adds. In addition, visitor management, space management and room reservation has never been easier. Schedule a demo to explore the power of iOFFICE's facility management software.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.
Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.