Data At Your Fingertips: Why FM Must Evolve With The Digital Revolution
Legacy IT systems and antiquated data-management practices mean traditional facilities management teams often lack the information needed to make informed and timely decisions. Our Managing Director, Steve Aldridge looks at how technology and digitalisation is set to transform the facilities management function.
Effective data management is essential for purposes ranging from risk management and safeguarding to auditing and performance management. However, the organisational models, systems and processes used by some organisations have not changed for decades. In many years of working in the risk management industry I have seen first- hand the daily struggles that estates teams face with finding the right information to make decisions or simply to do their day job. Many are facing the same challenges when it comes to auditing and risk management: locating fit-for-purpose information quickly, figuring out how to link and share information contained in a variety of different systems, lack of consistency and control and a question mark over the quality of existing data.
So what’s the solution? Organisations seeking to resolve these inefficiencies and take a new, smarter approach are embracing the digital transformation of facilities management.
With a sharper focus than ever on health and safety, ensuring that buildings are safe and comply with all current legislation and standards, is the number one priority for any facilities management team. Manual processes for keeping on top of compliant items such as water management, emergency lighting, PAT testing, asbestos, energy performance, fixed electrical testing, noise control and fire safety to name just a few are extremely time consuming. The likelihood of missing required maintenance, testing or misplacement of records is significantly increased.
The use of CAFM software can certainly help teams plan and manage their maintenance requirements, but many of the current systems do not go far enough when it comes to compliance. It’s not okay just to do the maintenance. To be compliant, you have to be able to evidence what you’ve done and when you’ve done it. To add to the complexity, each area of compliance will have a different set of requirements. For example, physical maintenance tasks, risk assessment and documentation updates must be completed in a timely manner to remain compliant and to ensure optimal performance of services. A failure to perform and record required tasks at the required time can lead to significant fines or worse, harm to staff or visitors.
Our bespoke Vision software has been developed to provide the services needed to safely manage risk and promote health and safety practices more effectively to all staff.
Vision is an online hub for managing all compliance and auditing needs in one place. It allows facility managers to build up full compliance strategies to manage all aspect of each requirement, providing a central location for all information. This can include tracking task status, monitoring the current levels of compliance and highlighting areas of concern. All relevant documentation, results data, risk assessment and evidence of reactive responses to negative results, can all be accessed, allowing for resources to be deployed to the most urgent task to improve compliance level and ensure time is not wasted on areas of less concern.
The added visibility allows managers to ensure the compliance of contractors, with instant access to job progression while the contractor is on site. With budgets under increasing scrutiny, costs can be tracked and managed across multiple sites at the touch of a button, giving clearer visibility of live costs and making for more accurate budgeting and forecasting. It can be used on a variety of devices, enabling easy on-site data collection – no more ticking things off on a paper spreadsheet which then has to be inputted onto the system.
Reporting functions put managers in complete control of the data, informing when audits are due or overdue, compliant or non-compliant and even when documents and certificates are going to expire. Vision offers a full audit trail of everything that has happened, providing evidence of compliance status.
We understand that each organisation is unique in their requirements; our software is highly adaptable, allowing managers to choose the modules they need. We can also ensure it is compatible with existing platforms and that data can easily be sent and retrieved from third party systems. Existing data can be taken in all its different formats from a variety of sources, cleansed to identify and correct corrupt, inaccurate or incomplete information and then bought together into one, easy to manage system.
It’s said that information is power and today’s technology is proving the wisdom of that age-old quote. The time to make the change is now, don’t wait until your existing system has become completely unmanageable. The solution is simpler and more cost effective than you might think. New technologies and the digitalisation of the facilities management function should be embraced, not feared. The creation of a truly connected workspace challenges industry-standard approaches to risk management and compliance. It is about enabling managers to maximise efficiencies, reduce risk and ensure that they are equipped with accurate, trusted data that will allow them to provide robust evidence to underpin important decisions.
Regardless of sector, every organisation is driven to find ways to optimise outputs, achieve greater operational efficiencies and improve productivity. The ability to integrate, visualise and closely monitor data is critical to achieving these goals. The adoption of a robust, digitalised strategy is not just about now; it is about being resilient and well-positioned to meet head-on the challenges facilities management teams may face in the future.