What Strategic CIOs Need to Know About Facilities Management

By: Michael Toth, Chief Information Officer

As the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) continues to evolve into an increasingly strategic one, we are finally getting a seat at the executive table. And thanks to their growing reliance on new technologies, businesses across the board are recognizing the value a knowledgeable CIO can bring to their organization. With this elevated standing, the pressure is on: From managing the company’s technology portfolio, to optimizing budgets and reducing costs, to creating a memorable customer experience, we’re expected to bring a deft efficiency to everything we do.

One business area that always seems to fall by the wayside, even with a capable CIO at the helm, is facilities management (FM). That may be because by their very nature, successful FM programs operate primarily in the background. When things are running smoothly—for example, service providers are meeting expectations and work orders are processed with minimal friction—it’s easy to overlook FM’s potential to help shape a business’s bottom line.

For leaders seeking ways to increase value and drive strategic outcomes, it’s important to understand why FM is so critical to a company’s financial wellbeing.

Uncover Hidden Cost Savings

With the right analytics and reporting tools, you can drill deep down into an array of FM data points, in turn revealing new opportunities to cut costs and reduce risk. Depending on the size of your company, this can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. An advanced platform will give you a holistic view of day-to-day activities as well as the big picture, allowing you to either use recovered funds for other technology initiatives or put them toward boosting the bottom line.

Additionally, you could stand to save even more money by opting for an FM technology partner who doesn’t charge extra for the use of their technology. These tech fees, which are charged by several FM providers on the market today, are often tacked on as an extra expense, resulting in an even bigger hit to your technology budget.

Engaging the Right Technology for Your Team

Though it might be tempting to go it alone or build an in-house system, this approach is almost always doomed to fail. Tech platforms take a lot of time, manpower and budgeted dollars to build, and without specialized FM expertise, these DIY “solutions” simply aren’t robust enough to provide actionable insights.

Working with an FM solutions provider allows CIOs to keep their resources focused on strategic technology projects where the marketplace does not offer a solution. However, it’s worth noting that not all providers are created equal. In order to capture every potential opportunity to, say, improve processes or streamline workflows, it’s crucial to select a partner that can provide an advanced technology platform and expert consultative feedback. Other key traits to look for in an FM partner are a flexible and secure solution to reduce touchpoints with your IT team.

Leveraging Interactive Analytics Tools

As CIOs, we know technology, but we also understand the power of the data generated by the solutions we deploy. Effectively harnessing FM data, however, is no easy task. Many FM platforms promise to provide analytics, but often can’t deliver anything beyond basic push reporting. This leaves the business coming to IT looking for alternatives to mine the data. A solution with truly interactive analytics tools will allow your business to swiftly spot trends and identify exception events without having to burden the IT team.

Improve the Customer Experience

Most CIOs and senior leaders routinely assess customer satisfaction through surveys and Net Promoter Scores. Whether you operate a retail store or a healthcare enterprise, the state of your facilities—including everything from cleanliness to temperature control—plays a major role in how customers perceive your brand. The right FM partner can help you improve the customer experience by not only setting you up with exceptional independent service providers (ISPs) they can increase visibility into every stage of the maintenance process. With customizable reporting features, you can also get a better sense of FM performance across all sites and locations to ensure you’re meeting your customer experience expectations.

The first step in leveraging your facilities to their fullest extent is to explore the FM solutions market. A business solutions advisor can unlock hidden value you didn’t even know was there, giving you an edge over the competition. This presents a win for the company, and a win for the CIO savvy enough to bring these solutions to the table.