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    Sharing is a Critical Element of Today's Workplace

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Today, one of the most important resources we own is information. The sharing of information has become the basis for an entirely new economy. Here is how sharing has become one of the most important elements in the modern workplace.

    The Sharing Economy

    The sharing economy is based on the open sharing of information and resources, usually via Internet connectivity. Some of the sharing is active and deliberate, such as social media posting. Other sharing is passive and is a byproduct of the Internet of Things (IoT) rather than an intentional act. Examples of passive sharing include the location data collected by mobile devices or the search history of your browser.

    An entirely new economy has sprung up built on personal information about people, where they are, what they have, and what they are doing.

    There are numerous businesses springing up within this sharing economy. For example, Uber is a transportation company that exists by sharing information about who needs a ride and who has one to offer in that area. Some sharing businesses like Homeaway share information about available rental properties with those in need of a place to stay. Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, KickStarter, and GiveForward are other examples of the sharing economy. These sites pool together those who have money to invest in worthy causes with those who have a cause that needs support.

    Coworking is another example of the sharing economy. Perhaps one worker needs to be free Mondays and Thursdays for family responsibilities, while another worker needs to be off Tuesdays and Fridays to pursue educational goals. Coworking assures that the business always has someone filling that position, while each worker keeps a schedule that suits their own lifestyle. What these businesses do is share data -- data on something that is available along with data on someone who needs that particular thing.

    Where the Data Comes From

    Most of the data used for the sharing economy comes from the IoT. Smartphones and tablet computers, connected cars and GPS devices, fitness apps and weather apps -- these devices and applications take data on consumers and turn it into useful information on which to build products and services. For example, people happily share their whereabouts with The Weather Channel app in order to find out the forecast where they live and travel. They also share this same location information with Foursquare and Facebook so that they can meet up with their friends who happen to be hanging out nearby. It is a true win-win scenario: the companies benefit by cashing in on a valuable service and the users win because they have a convenience (and usually cost savings) that was otherwise unavailable to them.

    When data is shared freely among systems and departments, the entire organization has better information and the potential for truly powerful analytics.

    Sharing Resources in Facilities Management

    Facilities management software is much the same, only this sharing economy is on a much smaller scale, localized to the facilities owned by a particular organization. However, more information shared by more people and departments within the organization, means more valuable data. Here's how it works: if FM software is populated with just the data about what properties the organization owns, that is very limited in value. But add in data -- which properties are occupied, who occupies those properties, how the properties are being used, when the properties were maintained and/or cleaned and by whom -- the FM software becomes immensely more valuable to the organization.

    Sharing Data Among Departments

    Within an organization, data is often soloed within a particular department. Finance holds their own data, as does human resources, sales and marketing, operations, and the legal department. But the innovation of big data and analytics has prompted organizations to pool and centralize their data, thereby creating a much deeper, broader, more valuable collection of data for analysis to glean useful insight and even predictions. Big data can improve products, generate more revenue, and save tremendous costs to an organization. About 50 percent of the usable space within an organization often goes underutilized. Bringing in all of the available data means that your organization gets a clearer, more accurate picture of the resources you have available, how it is currently being utilized, and what changes can be made to optimize space utilization.

    As data becomes more critical to the world, the sharing of information will be even more profound. The sharing economy is just now beginning. Is your FM software up to the job? 

    View infographic Creating the perfect facilities management resume  

    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    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.

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