FSI Middle East on leading regional CAFM practices
Adrian Jarvis, general manager of FSI FM Solutions Middle East, explains how the right supplier can boost the regional FM industry’s CAFM-proficiency
How was 2016 for FSI Middle East (FSI ME)?
2016 saw continued growth for FSI within the region. We have continued to secure new projects with clients across the GCC, and those secured in 2016 include CAFM system replacement and addition of workforce mobility for BK Gulf; supply of CAFM solution and workforce mobility for Mosanada FMS’s Katara Village; and supply of CAFM solution, workforce mobility, and performance management system for Jafza One.
What are the top three market trends you noticed in 2016?
Firstly, building owners are realising the value and benefits of owning CAFM systems and thereby taking control of their buildings’ data and contractors. Secondly, workforce mobility with smart phones and tablets is becoming a key market trend. We have also noticed demand for better transparency and visibility of SLA and KPI performance.
How did your product development programmes shape up last year?
2016 saw a number of key additional features and modules added to Concept Evolution as part of the Concept Revolution initiative we started in 2015. Developments and enhancements include advanced asset hierarchies, building structures, new maintenance management features, smart attributes, Intuitive BI dashboards, an automated performance mechanism module, space and move management in conjunction with Excitech, sales invoicing improvements and cost-versus-sales visibility within the financial aspect of the system, as well as enhancements to FSI GO Workforce Mobility.
Which FSI ME solutions emerged as popular choices by FM firms in 2016?
As there are many facets to FSI’s technology – and because of the depth of options we offer within our organisation’s systems – sectors often focus on different aspects of our technology. With the gradual emergence of output specification, contracts within the Middle East market we have seen greater focus on SLA and KPI measurement and monitoring, which has in turn seen a demand for high quality dashboards and reports.
We have certainly seen a substantial uptake of mobility as an integral – and in many cases essential – part of a CAFM solution and service delivery strategy. This is especially true when combined with a performance measurement system (PMS), integrated within and driven by CAFM. The use of smart phones and tablets to both mobilise collection and manage assets, as well as tailored apps for the workforce – be that a supervisor or technician – are rapidly becoming the de facto standard.
Is the regional FM market now more aware of the quality versus price debate regarding tech investments?
No, not really. This is partly due to the fact that many FM contracts are short-term, which does not give the FM provider [enough] time to mobilise and invest in technology that would improve the service delivery to end-users.
How mature is the regional FM market in terms of CAFM-awareness?
In terms of technology as a whole, the FM market in the Middle East has moved on considerably in the last 10 years, alongside the adoption of FM tech. Some may argue that while organisations are now rapidly embracing workplace technology in the Middle East, certain aspects are less prevalent in the region than other markets across the globe.
We see many organisations that implemented the fundamentals of CAFM some years ago, and whose businesses have now matured and evolved – however their use of CAFM technology has not progressed correspondingly. These organisations need to use the building blocks they have put in place whilst investing in some of the features now available in newer version of their CAFM system.
Unfortunately, we also see organisations that are ticking a box and buying CAFM to simply fulfil a tender requirement, but actually have nothing substantive in place. There are also those that expect CAFM to magically provide the processes that are missing from their business. These companies need to realise that they will only truly benefit by properly investing in CAFM and that they need to consider not just today but the medium- and longer-term too.
What are some of the common errors made by FM companies while picking a CAFM platform?
The race to the bottom – using lowest price as measurement when procuring technology – is a key error we notice. Allowing IT [features], as opposed to operation requirements, drive the decision-making process, and not providing proper resources to manage the CAFM system once it is procured are also common mistakes. Organisations need to consider who will champion the use of the technology from an operational perspective.
Trying to turn a backward-looking finance or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into an operational management tool is another error we notice, as is [the practice] of not continuing to invest in the technology on a year-on-year basis.
What should FM companies look for in the ideal CAFM supplier?
A CAFM supplier must have industry knowledge as well as technical expertise. The supplier should have a proven track record, and be capable of remaining with the company [through its] short-, medium-, and long-term [plans], as businesses and service delivery strategies change and their technology requirements evolve.
The CAFM operator must understand business processes from an operational perspective and how these processes have been configured – not from an IT perspective but from an operations point of view. Make sure that you have a system champion from the FM operations side of your business.
What differentiates FSI ME from its market competitors?
Firstly, the technology is ours – we own and develop Concept Evolution and FSI GO Workforce Mobility, and directly deliver it to our clients across the GCC. Moreover, we have a global footprint, unlike one or two other companies that claim to own their fledgling CAFM systems. We therefore have the benefit of the international knowledge that it brings, but with direct local presence.
FSI Middle East is not simply an agent for another software provider; we are focused on technology for the built environment rather than offering a basket of different products – we are experts in CAFM as opposed to being the ‘jack of all trades’.
We have a dedicated team of industry technology specialists – The Knowledge Group – which was formed to drive the requirements for everything that FSI builds and develops, along with input from FSI clients, leaders within the FM industry, and the latest in technology.
What are your plans for 2017?
We intend to expand our professional services team this year to ensure we can continue to serve our growing client base in the region. Additionally, we intend to build upon the success of the Concept User Group and User Forum by establishing a Middle East User Group chapter. The purpose of the bi-annual Concept User Group sessions is to facilitate the flow of user knowledge and experience between users and for FSI to ensure its technology meets the needs of current and future clients.
FSI will be introducing some exciting and complementary web technology for use alongside Concept Evolution. Concept Advantage is a fresh and disruptive collection of apps that support the latest in technology, deliver great user experience, and provide a collaborative enhancement to Concept Evolution.
Targeting executives, end-users, suppliers, contractors, and customers, the data-driven Concept Advantage apps connect your business to your stakeholders. Basically, it takes ‘advantage’ of the wealth of data within Concept Evolution to fully socialise your FM operation.