The critical role of technology in facilities management

The critical role of technology in facilities management

New research from Watco has revealed that almost half (45%) of facilities managers think that their business could become unviable in the next couple of years if it doesn’t improve its digital technologies and skills.

The study found that 72% of facilities managers (FMs) admit that their business is slow to embrace digital innovation and 18% said that their biggest priority over the next year will be upskilling and training employees on new technologies.

The research from the UK’s leading manufacturer and direct supplier for industrial paint and repair products also found that some innovations have already risen in popularity. In fact, 33% of FMs say that they are using customer portals, and almost a quarter (21%) said that customer portals will be the digital tool which will have the most significant impact on the sector in the next twelve months. This is because customer portals help to maintain a ‘golden thread’ of maintenance information, which is something that is set to become enshrined into law under the Building Safety Act, which is due to come into force in October this year.

On top of this, 55% of FMs are considering introducing resource and management software in the next two years. This software can help to schedule and plan maintenance activities, allocate resources more efficiently, and monitor equipment and facility performance in real time.

The increase in the use of such technologies will be essential to ensuring the smooth running of facilities as, according to the same research, over one quarter (29%) of FMs say that they have seen their workload increase over the past year. 

The survey of 250 facilities management professionals revealed the five key technologies that FMs think will have the biggest impact on their role are:

  • Customer portals to maintain a digital ‘golden thread’ of information.
  • Sensor technology (e.g. to understand temperature & air quality metrics),
  • Robotics (e.g. for cleaning tasks).
  • Resource and workforce management software.
  • Internet of Things (IoT).

Lisa O’Neill, Group Marketing Director at Watco, commented: “We know that facilities managers have always been busy, but over the last few years the balancing act has become even more challenging. So, while some businesses have been slow to embrace new tech, it is great to see that facilities managers have recognised where the adoption of new technologies could benefit their business and are planning to upskill their teams accordingly.

She continued, “On top of this, it is brilliant to see that FMs are not only looking to increase efficiencies in the workplace, but that the health and safety of users is also being considered as one of the core reasons why new technologies should be implemented.”

For more information on Digital Transformation in the Workplace, download Watco’s free report here:

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