In the era of digital transformation, industry-leading firms are increasingly combining transparency with data- and analytics-driven service automation to optimize facilities management (FM) operations. The result is a leap to computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) platforms as a strategic management tool.

The Rise of Computer-Aided Facilities Management

Modern CAFM is a platform, an efficient way of monitoring and controlling business facility tasks in one place, typically via an integrated suite of cloud- / SaaS- and mobile-based software. The CAFM solution is designed to aid facilities managers with the various facets and functions of FM.

CAFM helps facilities managers plan and track all real estate utilization and asset movement, as well as schedule repairs and preventative maintenance, monitor work orders, and adhere to compliance standards. CAFM software also interfaces with computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software, in addition to other technologies such as computer-aided design (CAD) systems and building information models (BIMs) that may operate on distinct technology platforms.

The Rise of Transparent Service Automation

Transparent service automation is now an important strategic imperative in FM. Delivered on a CAFM platform, transparent service automation provides multi-dimensional visibility into all areas of FM. It empowers users with full-scale data and direct control of all aspects of their FM, from the location level to the enterprise level. It provides additional insights through data-driven analytics to improve proactive FM across the board.

Pressures driving manufacturing organizations to focus resources on transparent service automation include the pressing need to maximize return on assets in the face of delayed capital expenditures and the need to drive down operating costs. This need for operational efficiency takes place in an environment of increasing regulatory compliance concerns and an aging asset base where facilities managers must optimize FM operations (maintenance, services, productivity, sustainability), improve the occupancy experience, maintain high consumer perception, and more accurately predict future needs.

Best-in-Class facilities managers are keenly aware of these pressures, and are embracing transparency between the FM organization and its maintenance service providers (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Best-in-Class Embrace Transparency
Figure 1: Best-in-Class Embrace Transparency

Transparency improves performance. Embracing a strategy of increased visibility is key to unlocking increased value. In facilities repair and maintenance, buyers and sellers alike benefit from a more transparent relationship that redefines the FM / service provider interface. Through transparent service automation, both buyers and sellers of facilities services gain the information necessary to wring out legacy inefficiencies to achieve unprecedented service quality while eliminating unnecessary overhead, job status uncertainty, delays, costs, and risks.

What This Means for Facilities Managers

Organizations seeking the means to improved visibility and operational efficiency in FM have found the answer in transparent service automation. Companies have seen the early benefits from investing in FM, and are now experiencing even greater operational, financial, and strategic success through the use of CAFM platforms.

The strategic imperative for transparent service automation includes the need to increase visibility of facilities metrics and costs (transparency) and the need to increase automation of facilities workflow through data-driven analytics (service automation). CAFM platforms excel in both.

The demands of FM are significant, but so are the rewards. Best-in-Class organizations are responding to pressures they face by pursuing operational excellence through FM best practices. In short, they are seizing on the transparent service automation advantage and reaping the rich benefits.