What does a professional organization of 118,000 global members, a group of FM service provision executives, two Digital Workplace Gartner analysts and a group of Trimble Building Digital Workplace commandos have in common you might ask? They all came together in the heart of the Midwest to create what are multiple historic occasions for our profession last week. These events included:
- IFMA and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) announcement of a global “landmark collaboration” and this was the first IFMA Board of Directors meeting attended by RICS.
- The first Advisory Group meeting for the IFMA Foundation’s Global Workforce Initiative (GWI) at the Indiana University/Purdue University downtown campus.
- The first RE/FM industry event attended by Gartner analysts in a decade, and the first IFMA attendance ever.
- The first Building Digital Workplace Workshop ever held which showcased a number of Trimble Building solutions, as well as partner’s technologies, together in a story which mimicked the FMJ article ‘The Dawn of the Digital Workplace’ published in the edition handed out at the conference.
The major “buzz” of the conference was the official announcement of the collaboration between IFMA and RICS. Since 70% of the world’s wealth is tied to land and real estate, it should come as no surprise that the two powerhouse industry groups should come together for the advancement of the entire building profession. The press release on 14 April 2016 was entitled, “World Renown Facility Management and Real Estate Thought Leaders Launch Landmark Collaboration” and means that 25,000 IFMA members will collaborate with 118,000 RICS professionals to unify the field in six continents around the world. I can only speak for myself, and for Trimble Buildings, that we are incredibly excited about working with RICS and expanding the FM and RE presence around the world (besides having a Work on the Move 2 book signing and tea in the London headquarters (a dream of IFMA Board Member, Diane Cole Levine, and myself).
The IFMA Foundation created the Global Workforce Initiative (GWI) in January 2014. Now over two years later, the goal remains to make “FM a career of choice” for young students, other professionals seeking new opportunities and returning military folks looking for another career. The Advisory Group was formed this year to help support the efforts of this initiative, including giving council to the Board on how to make this the most successful program it can be for the future of our profession. Currently composed of Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE, the historic first meeting of this group occurred at the Indiana University/Purdue University (IUPU) campus downtown. During the half day session which was also attended by IFMA Foundation Trustees (including myself as one of the founders of GWI and soon to be 2nd Vice Chair), great discussions were held on how we can expand the work of bringing our profession to students in high schools and community colleges, to the returning military people who have great skills for our profession and to workers who are looking for another career to expand their work portfolio.
In their new research note, “The Rebirth of Office Space: What Every CIO Needs to Know and Do”, this represented the first time that Gartner describes to the IT community the importance of the role of the people who plan for, create, design, build and manage the workplace, real estate and facility management professionals. The link between IT and RE/FM came about due to the work that Gartner has fostered in the last three years with the development of the Digital Workplace. This is a theme that addresses the changes going on in the world of digital business and the disruption that is occurring due to major technological shifts in the economy and the relevance of the role of IT.
The Digital Workplace represents the convergence of new technologies, consumerization of business applications, the need for engagement of the worker and the requirement for identifying the right tools for the work of the RE/FM practitioner. The historic event was that for the first time, Gartner analysts, namely Carol Rozwell and Paul Miller attended the four day IFMA event, got to know the world of FM and in particular the illustrious Workplace Evolutionaries and truly understood the importance of bringing IT and FM together in the world of the Digital Workplace.
Finally, Joe Poskie, Bob Fahlin, Lucas Reames and myself made the IFMA article, “The Dawn of the Digital Workplace”, come alive in a Building Digital Workplace Workshop at Fusion. It was an historic session as it was the first of its kind where we brought disparate Trimble and partner solutions together to demonstrate the value of the BDW. We described how the workplace strategist, Wendy, an architect for a consulting company, used mobile apps with voice recognition, viewed the results of a renovation in 3D using Trimble Connect, highlighted how to increase employee and visitor experience in the workplace, execute condition assessments with scanners and drones and finally, use mixed reality platforms like Microsoft’s HoloLens to perform easier and more accurate maintenance tasks (see photo above). We will also be showing this presentation in a Brookfield Global Integrated Services session in Sydney next week and in the Keynote for IFMA Fusion Montreal on May 4. The buzz has just begun for the Building Digital Workplace…stay tuned, as I always say.