In this expert article, industry veteran Murali Vyasarao, Director, FM Platform, Sodexo India explains how digital solutions have transformed facility management, how he goes about assessing an FM software and who eventually pays for it.
Digitalisation helps us centralise and analyse site data, and demonstrate to the client that we are meeting all the compliance requirements of our agreement. Since the efficiency of manually gathering data is variable, we are reducing our dependence on it by relying on digitisation.
The number of services that customers want is ever increasing across multiple sites. Digitisation helps us manage these multiple data points in an efficient manner.
Maintaining manual records of each asset is a cumbersome task; sometimes, the handwriting may even be illegible. Digitalisation helps us analyse data points of various assets for informed decision making.
Streamlining the help desk
If we know the time of the day when we receive maximum complaints, we can ensure a supervisor is available rather than depending only on the operator to solve the issue. For example, if we find that complaints about air-conditioning are most frequent in the afternoon, we can schedule overlapping shifts for HVAC technicians to improve service delivery.
Nowadays, instead of calling the help desk, clients can scan the QR code tagged to an asset; this will automatically raise a ticket at the help desk.
Occupancy sensors measure how much of the facility is utilised in a day. This data helps us plan the space needed to meet the occupants’ needs, and make informed decisions regarding how much space needs to be leased.
Criteria for selecting FM software
Most people prefer using apps on mobiles or tabs, rather than a computer-based program. With apps, the consistency of network connectivity becomes an issue; people want the solution to work offline as well, and sync with the main system when connectivity is back.
Most solutions these days are cloud-based, so for any software that we want to use at a client’s facility, data security becomes important.
Our feedback from the field is that end-users do not face any challenges in using FM apps. However, the lack of a ‘digital culture’ is a bottleneck in more widespread utilisation. Operators may have the misconception that they are being tracked; we need to to explain why digitisation is being implemented for effective operations.
Paying for the app
Some clients prefer us to bring the software. In this case, we prefer to procure it through a subscription model. This gives us the flexibility to stop using it whenever we want.
Other clients prefer to procure it themselves. They want absolute control over their facility data and store it themselves over years, irrespective of any changes in service provider.