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Sunday, 5 July

Technology in a Changing FM World

Looking back one week wistfully to what was the Facilities Show and the Protections Series of events, we take an opportunity to relieve the experience with an at-show interview conducted with NFS CEO, Luis De Souza.

TWinFM: How do you see the changes in the workplace market impacting the role of the FM?

LDS: The changes in the workplace market, for example, the move to agile working, are creating many new challenges to the model for service delivery, so there are some  real questions we need to consider. A very simple analogy would be what we have seen in the food service business, with the growth in the casual dining and quick service sectors as a transition from what was the fine dining market. Service delivery demands have changed and it seems that in some areas, the FM providers have yet to adapt and embrace the new requirements - very often  struggling to cope with fast paced demands and constant change without the right tools.

Technology is one of the tools can support this changing market and specifically I see two key areas, firstly being better equipped with mobile technology and secondly process automation. The good news is that mobile solutions are now much more affordable and this makes adoption more realistic. Second we need to look at the fundamentals, process automation and SLAs, both very technology dependent. It is time for the FM community to challenge constantly moving service targets and also embrace more technology as a way of meeting new and much more dynamic service demands.


TWinFM: In walking around at the Facilities Show, what are you seeing that will change the way in which we work in the future?

LDS: I see three things driving how we adapt to the changing workplace. Firstly, we have no choice but to adopt the right technology solutions. (I have covered this in the response to your earlier question.)

Second we need to connect our workplace, no longer lots of islands and rigid lines of communication with many missing links. A number of suppliers at the show are talking more about the connected workplace. We have a responsibility to make this a reality for our customers, so this will mean more partnerships and also asking some really tough questions, how will the end user want to consume this service easily and consistently. This part is tough as we have so many different groups and also a multi-generational workforce, with the Millennial’s now a significant group that we need to address.

Thirdly, we have to look at what data we are collecting and how we are using it to make smarter decisions. So,  if we are looking at space utilisation, more space is very often not the solution to the problem of 'I cannot find a meeting room when I need one'. Maybe the configuration of space is not correct or we are not providing the different types of space now needed around Activity based working. This is where good data can support better business decisions.

I will add to these three points the need for better collaboration between the different parts of the organisation. Having the FM, Technology, Real Estate and HR communities working more closely together would be a good starting point, I think.


TWinFM: So what is NFS doing that is new in the area of both space and hospitality?

Having had a good year with many large clients adopting our Rendezvous solution, we are now working hard to deliver the elements that will support the clients' total solutions. This in our view has to be done in partnership and we have established many partnerships, with digital signage providers for better information delivery, companies dealing with room and space management in terms of lighting, temperature and energy, so the experience for the user of space is better integrated. With a broad group of companies engaged in the Agile working market, providing sensors, beacons, way-finding and other technologies and services has also blossomed.

In all our business areas, hospitality and workplace, some important technology elements are evident, mobility being very near the top of the list, followed by how we create a better staff and visitor experience and also how we engage with the security considerations our customers have in mind, whether this is card security in our food service business or visitor security for our corporate clients. In the last 12 months we have integrated Rendezvous with leading global solutions like Lenel for visitor security management. We recently announced our integration with Crestron Fusion, one of the leading panel, control and digital signage providers, giving our clients a range of choices.

For me the most important question I need to answer is,  what can NFS do to in the technology area, that supports the customer in their journey and delivers a great and consistent service experience.

Picture: NFS CEO, Luis De Souza (left) and Brian Shillibeer at the recent Facilities Show

Article written by Brian Shillibeer


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