Like many industries, the future of facilities management is increasingly focused around better use of technology. That’s the conclusion of two recent studies that look at the impact and opportunities that digitisation and greater connectivity bring to the sector.
Frost & Sullivan’s new market research report predicts that the global outsourced FM market will be worth nearly $1 trillion by 2025. Much of this growth will be due to enabling technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). These will allow FM companies to widen the range of services they offer, both directly and through partnerships with providers in other areas.
At the same time technology is already central to how facilities managers operate today. Service Works Group’s (SWG’s) annual survey found that software is being used to manage a whole range of activities, from maintenance to asset and resource management.
Looking at both reports, there are four reasons behind this increased reliance on technology:
However, there are also some notes of caution. Benefiting from technology requires new skills, particularly around understanding data and embedded technology, such as the Internet of Things. FM providers, whether in-house or outsourced will therefore find themselves competing with a wider range of companies to attract staff with these skills if they are to use their knowledge to transform their operations. For example, a recent survey by Schneider Electric found that an inability to turn raw data into actionable insight was holding back the use of IoT technology in building management.
There is also a concern that technology is either not fit for purpose or is simply not used. The SWG research found that nearly a third (31%) of companies still rely on Excel spreadsheets to manage FM. Even worse, 14% still used paper-based checklists – hardly the right platform to benefit from digitisation.
The FM operations of the future will be fully digitised – now is therefore the time for providers to invest in technology if they want to ready themselves for the imminent $1 trillion opportunity.
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