Nancy Sanquist, IFMA Fellow and Virtual Attendee
December 15, 2020
IFMA just conducted their virtual annual World Workplace (Dec.9 & 10) where their keynote speaker, Shawn Kanungo, shook up the attendees by saying FMs are “safe, reliable, efficient and boring. And we are dumbing down by thinking that data is God.”
He thinks that FM should be at the center of work as it is being ‘reimagined’ and our new mindset should be focusing on the innovation discussion going on in an organization, or “we are not part of the discussion” in a larger sense. The panelists from this session would certainly have had a problem with Kanungo’s statements. They included: the CEO of R.O.I. Consulting, Russell Olsen, Emeric Denis, an Optimization Specialist with Thelius Consulting, and 3 Trimble experts, Chris L’Hommedieu, Director of IWMS, Simon Blenkiron, Partner Director, and Anne Hunt, Director of Data and Analytics.
These CRE/FM professionals and the data scientist would argue with Mr. Kanungo that accurate, timely and reliable, ‘boring’ data is necessary to give the CRE/FM a clear picture of the conditions and behaviors that exist and what and where the problems are in order to ask the right questions to solve the critical problems that require the kind of ‘innovative’ solutions created today. This is the baseline data required for preparation for all the “small strategic pivots” (Simon) that we have to be prepared for in an unpredictable time like we are in.
Chris who directs the strategy for Trimble’s ManhattanONE product began the panel discussion with a look at predictive developments (particularly for sustainable monitoring and space utilization) based on the accurate descriptive data that the IWMS centralizes, by utilizing artificial intelligence along with existing IoT sensors, as well as machine learning. An approach that will allow the user to be prepared for a building component problem or breakdown based on its performance which is automatically monitored and diagnosed.
The attention of the panel then turned to the importance of data for sustaining workplace environments. Topics discussed included:
Identifying the data: Russell noted that when the pandemic hit, some of his clients were caught flatfooted. They needed certain data to understand their situation, but first they had to realize the real need for this information and the speed and accuracy to get it had to be balanced by the cost. Emeric pointed out the gap between what the Board needed vs. the data that was being collected which was not always the same, and could be described as perhaps a semiotics problem (is what is graphically being presented truly understood by the C-suite and is the right answer to exact problem that they want solved?).
Collecting the data: As Russell described, one has to understand to start with the end in mind and determine what report or graphics are needed and what is available now and available vs. what is needed and how long will it take to get it. For example, if you have to wait for 3 months to collect the sensor data for a space utilization analysis, perhaps it is quicker to simply use badge data for understanding usage at a higher level. As Anne added, more data may not always mean it is better.
Data accuracy: Obviously this is critical and this is one of the reasons IWMS solutions are so valuable as automatic workflow can not only ensure consistent processes can be assured of in collecting the data especially over a complex, global real estate portfolio, as Chris pointed out.
Benchmarking and trend analysis: Emeric pointed out to be careful if you are obtaining 3rd party data as you should clearly understand how it was obtained. Chris added that leveraging APIs (application program interfaces) are so important to be able to integrate data from disparate company systems in order to get the right KPI data to measure performance. Russell shared that in his consulting and implementation practice how a system like ManhattanONE is so critical for not only the above reasons, but being able to use this data as a baseline for the numerous future scenarios which can be played out in the system. And if queries come up in an exec presentation, one can easily drill down to the source data.
The final words of advice from all the panelists as advice were:
Identify business goals at the start and then define solutions and how they need to be measured;
Create a milestone chart and determine how much data is enough (and the time it takes to collect) and how much this will really change the business;
Be proactive and either you, or outside experts, need to “design, design, design” the process you need to “harness the data,”;
Be fast and agile to be able to pivot at any time if something changes or is not working; and…
Learn from your experience, good or bad.
In my final blog post on Trimble Real Estate’s virtual conference, I will cover some of the real estate, employee skills and technology trends influencing enterprises and the emerging hybrid scenarios for occupiers in their ‘next’ normal journey.
Nancy Sanquist, IFMA Fellow and Virtual Attendee
Nancy Sanquist is an IFMA Fellow, an AIA Associate, and is currently Chair of the IFMA Foundation Board of Trustees. Nancy has been in the real estate and facility management technology business for three decades; she has spoken at industry conferences all over the world. She is a well-known author and editor, including two IFMA Foundation books, Work on the Move (2014) and Work on the Move (2) (2016). Nancy formerly worked as an academic professor in art and architecture (UCLA; Lafayette and Muhlenberg Colleges), as a historic preservation urban planner (Easton, Pennsylvania), and as an urban revitalization consultant (Hollywood Revitalization, Los Angeles).
Trimble’s ManhattanONE software makes your real estate work as hard as you do by simplifying the complexities of managing a diverse portfolio in dynamic times. Our integrated, flexible platform delivers deep operational and financial insight to unlock value across your organization. Full access to every module of our comprehensive suite results in 360-degree visibility and unrivalled control. You’ll make decisions with speed and confidence, building experiences that motivate people and elevate the properties in which they work.