Six emerging trends in technology impacting the FM processes

The world of facility management (FM) is ever-dynamic. The pace of change in the facility management industry has fastened in the past five years and witnessed increasing inflow of technological solutions for various processes and services delivered through manual and non-technological methods. The use of cloud-based solutions, mobile apps and chat-bots has set expectations from clients in service delivery and challenged the service providers to promptly embrace new trends. Acceptance of these emerging trends in technology and adopting them in their service delivery is going to be the game changer in the FM industry. Facility managers and service providers need to upskill and invest into these emerging trends to reinvent their service offering to the clients.  

Some of the emerging trends in the facility management industry are as below:

1. Mobile Apps

Whether it is helpdesk services, critical environment management or transport services, mobile apps are everywhere. In the help desk services, there are QR code based apps, which decentralize the entire concept of helpdesk and allow the user to raise a request by scanning the QR code, whereas, in transport operations, mobile apps are practically doing the entire cycle of the service beginning from cab reservation (rostering), GPS tracking, occupancy efficiency, on-time arrival and departure tracking and invoicing based upon the actual kilometers run by the vehicle. 

2. Cloud-based procurement platform

Procurement function has come a long way from the conventional practice of inviting quotations and procuring the supplies from the lowest bidder. There is a lot of consolidation in the procurement domain and organisations are moving to cloud-based procurement platforms where pre-negotiated catalogues are uploaded, and orders can be placed online through individual users of the organisation. Cloud-based procurement platforms are allowing the service providers to become aggregators, thereby increasing their presence across the globe. As the transactions are secure and transparent, clients can access the data in real time. 

3. Chat bots

Earlier, the first interface for the user was the help desk representative who followed a standard script to address the queries. Chat bots are looking to replace the 1st interface of the users in case of queries or complaints. Artificial intelligence enabled chat bots are becoming smarter by the day and allow the users to chat and address queries or raise tickets for their standard requests or complaints.

4. Integrating FM software for cross-departmental collaboration

The facility management systems like BMS and access control should be integrated with other departments to ensure higher productivity. FM software systems are getting integrated with HR systems for access control and space planning as well as with environmental management systems to utilise a single coherent platform across the entire organisation. This, in turn, makes it possible for the same data to be utilised in multiple ways and by various functions, thereby increasing the speed of operations at an optimal cost and enhancing the overall employee experience.

5. Shared work spaces

With the ever-increasing cost of real estate, there is always a pressure on occupiers to achieve the optimum balance in occupancy levels. As technology is the true enabler in this scenario and many occupiers are embracing the concept of shared workspaces. For a facility manager, there are fewer patterns of occupancy and time schedules to follow, therefore, this can turn into a nightmare in planning resource allocation, maintenance schedules, cost of energy, consumables, etc. Under such dynamic and ever-changing environment of shared work spaces, the facility managers have to be on toes to manage the resources efficiently. 

6. Social media presence

Having a social media presence is the new normal in today’s FM world. Social media platforms allow the facility managers to connect, share ideas and benchmarks and showcase their best practices across the globe.

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