Imran Akram was recently appointed as the global director for fm24
Imran Akram was recently appointed global director for fm24, Macro’s 24/7 global helpdesk and CAFM service. In a chat with fmME, Akram talks about the responsibilities his new role entails
fmME: Could you tell us more about fm24, and the kind of services it provides?
IMRAN Akram: fm24 is Macro’s 24/7 global helpdesk service. It was formed to primarily support the managed services part of the business, allowing clients with a single point of contact to report any FM issues.
However, the service has evolved and is now provided to other clients as an independent outsourced helpdesk for a variety of functions such as asset management and planned maintenance, facility booking, construction aftercare, out of hours call handling, incident management, FM invoice processing, and utilities, material and property management.
We currently have over 40 staff who annually log 180,000 reactive tasks, process 36,000 FM invoices, and issue 72,000 planned maintenance tasks.
In order for corporate clients to maintain their identity, we tailor the solution with branded telephony and emails. Hence, the end-user believes they are dealing with their service provider and not Macro. fm24 has a suite of CAFM systems used through a single platform, although we are also able to use a client’s existing CAFM system if required.
fmME: How important are helpdesk and CAFM systems in the management of a facility?
IA: Within FM, a helpdesk acts as a single point of contact for clients, sub-contractors and internal staff. Rather than having fragmented and multiple communication lines, this consolidated approach is both professional and efficient.
The CAFM system deployed is central to the operation of any helpdesk. You could have the “best” CAFM system in the market, but if it is not developed and maintained, it can become nothing more than a rudimentary call logging mechanism.
At Macro, we have invested heavily and developed our CAFM system during the last five years. Key to the success of any CAFM system supporting the efficient running of a facility is the flow of communication between the helpdesk, service providers, operational teams and the client.
Tasks need to be communicated to service providers/operational teams in real time as service levels need to be monitored accurately, and the same is true for escalation procedures as well.
Business critical tasks need to be communicated to key personnel any time of the day or night, so that they are fully aware of what is happening at their facility. Also, having automated reports emailed to site on a daily basis listing all the pending tasks will ensure close outs are achieved.
fmME: Speaking with regard to the Middle East—what is the quality of helpdesk services in the region?
IA: The quality of helpdesks in the Middle East vary depending on whether adequate investment has been made and if the measures to ensure standards are maintained are in place. At fm24, regardless of whether a client has asked for it or not, we monitor the performance constantly through monthly KPI scoring.
We currently have a client, an FM company, that used to be engaged with a message handling service with the sole function of taking a call and relaying the message to them. After Macro took over the helpdesk function, we now offer much more, but at a quarter of the cost.
In terms of technology, having cloud based telephony solutions allows for greater flexibility in helpdesk staff resourcing. At fm24, we are currently migrating to such a system, and this will allow us to manage calls and emails more effectively from any hub.