The role of data to aid development

A good CAFM system is key

COMMENT, Facilities Management, CAFM systems

To call it a boom might be tempting fate. And nobody wants to go back to a pre-global-crunch age of cliff-hanging speculative development. But all the signs are that construction is recovering nicely across the Gulf region, and particularly in the UAE – this time with a welcome degree of circumspection.

This time around, the successful gathering, management and interpretation of structured intelligent data is set to play a key role in the progress of new developments, from conception and design to construction, and on throughout the building’s lifecycle.

This will bring supporting technology and systems that provide the best framework for exploiting and extracting the value of rapidly accumulating data to the heart of the matter, heralding a new age of strategic performance for CAFM – the platform best positioned to deliver a multi-dimensional view of 21st-century estate, building and asset management.

You only need to look at three current key influences on the evolution of CAFM technology to see the scale of the opportunity for developers, owners and service providers to take ownership of the data that holds the key to a successful, dynamic FM strategy: the rise of the Internet of Things, the rise of mobility and customised applications, and the rise of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

As a result, more informed constructors, developers and owners are waking up to the fact that a carefully chosen CAFM system, implemented at the beginning of a project or a relationship with a new FM provider – will give them the key to unlock the value of the data that will accumulate right from the start.

This is an important signal in a market where, too often in the past, there has been little or no integration between the construction of some of the world’s most state-of-the-art buildings and the commissioning of services that allow them to be maintained and managed effectively and efficiently. Even a proper asset register can be a rarity.

Data ownership will be central to any strategic shift in FM provisioning. Instead of relying on FM contractors to gather and provide access to data, organisations must invest in their own systems and retain the intellectual copyright of their own data so that they cannot be held to ransom when a service contract breaks down.

Service providers will become temporary custodians of the data, using it to manage their own delivery. But it will ideally remain the property of the client.

For many organisations, this will be a new way of looking at CAFM technology investment as a way of measuring SLAs and KPIs around individual contractor performance, and managing supplier relationships objectively – delivering important cost and efficiency benefits, and using the system in a positive way to improve performance and understand the value they are getting from their supply chain.

The region’s CAFM market is growing. But new players don’t always understand how sophisticated its needs have become. Organisations need to choose and embrace the right system for them, looking beyond its basic functionality to the vendor’s ability to provide a modern, comprehensive, knowledge-based solution.

About the author
Adrian Jarvis is general manager, FSI Middle East.

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