While information technology has made giant strides in its development over the past two decades, it should not be forgotten that its true purpose is to assist existing and future workloads and processes to be handled more efficiently.
In facilities and property management, technology has been served up through software, enabling managers to maintain awareness of a company’s assets and keep track of changes. Indeed it was the emergence of networks of PCs coupled with the recognition of facilities and property management as a bona fide profession that was the start point for software organisations to produce tools specifically for the facilities and property management market.
Integration, environmental impact and mobile apps are themes inextricably linked courtesy of property management software. These systems provide software tools designed to make paper plans redundant and help managers keep track of an organisation’s assets and model changes with ease.
The application of property management software systems in running an organisation’s estate, campus, or global locations, ties up neatly with other strands in FM, moving the industry toward the concept of smart or intelligent buildings.
While there is no standard definition of an “intelligent” or “smart” building, there is a consensus that such a structure will provide a productive and cost-effective environment as its four core components – i.e. structure, services, systems and management – will have been integrated to create an optimum design. Smart buildings harness technology and connect building systems to offer more efficiency and productivity, plus increased levels of comfort.
By linking property management software into a Building Management System (BMS), the building becomes increasingly dynamic and the organisation becomes far more aware of what is going on in it and can highlight ways to improve the way occupants use it.
In considering sustainability and environmental impact, a core point is that every organisation has to get better at running its property, plant and equipment. For those in the facilities and property management industry this means becoming far smarter than just looking at planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and reactive maintenance. Cost of ownership is the focus of this change, which is being driven by the convergence of technology where simple measures can have an enormous impact.
In technological circles everywhere, the topic du jour concerns everything mobile. While many network managers bemoan the fact that it is difficult to control a network where staff may link in to the enterprise with any number of PDAs, iPhones, phones, tablets, notebooks, et al. drawing up a rigorously-applied network policy can typically overcome that problem. Organisations with campus sites or multiple sites, and of course organisations with a workforce deployed countrywide, lend themselves to having constant two-way communications utilising mobile devices.
Mobile workings will support such areas as lone worker, customer sign-off, situations where photographic material needs to be uploaded to the central server (which leads on to video feeds being treated in this way), and internationalisation. Property management software has the ability to support operations not just centrally in one location but equally in borderless facility and property management provision.