The advantages of a cloud-based FM solution post COVID-19
FM solutions that enhance remote operations will have many advantages, both now and in the future. By Ashley Austin.
As the world begins to emerge from its self-imposed period of lockdown and isolation, the challenges for facility managers are considerable. Governments have proposed strategies and stages for the various sectors of society to reopen and workplaces are low down on those lists, with the direction for workers to work from home where possible.
Slowly and surely, however, workspaces that have been closed for months will begin to reopen and there will be a need for fundamental changes to ensure they are safe and conducive for optimal productivity. The wonderful thing is that, far from feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks they have in front of them, facility, strata and property managers are already able to access tools that can help them organise their work, prioritise the most important jobs, contract them out where necessary and do it all in the safest and most practical way possible.
What does it do?
At its core, a works management platform provides an ecosystem that enables a facility manager to have a holistic view of their property portfolios. Contractors, real estate, assets, planned and reactive maintenance, the supply chain and all touch points thereon are organised through the platform. It’s a paperless system that is cloud-based and mobile app driven. When contact-less operations are another notable feature of the ‘new normal’, such a system provides a safe and secure way of managing property assets transparently.
For example, take the case of a facility manager looking after a mining facility in a remote part of Australia. In the current period and near future, the process of having external contractors or facility managers entering and exiting unfamiliar environments can be difficult to navigate and must be treated with caution.
With a cloud-based FM solution like Urbanise, the facility manager can perform all tasks remotely and automatically via the system, including allocating to a certified and skilled contractor, monitoring progress with geotagging and ensuring compliance and completion to a high standard.
Why the cloud?
Implementing a cloud solution for all the FM related tasks in a facility manager’s remit has always had advantages, but the challenges of a world during and after a pandemic like COVID-19 makes it by far the most prudent way forward.
So how do you find the cloud solution that is most fit for purpose?
There are a number of characteristics that you should look out for, the first of which is agility. As organisations and companies begin to negotiate an economy that has taken a battering and find that the current landscape is evolving in previously unforeseen ways, a huge asset will be the ability to move and adapt quickly.
A flexible and mobile FM cloud provider is the natural partner to do this. Urbanise is able to mobilise a solution in 10 working days – with all the assets fully loaded and implemented, and all users comprehensively trained in the software.
Agility and efficiency should never come at the expense of flexibility, though. With any uncertainty regarding future operations, it is imperative that the FM cloud software an organisation implements is scalable and highly configurable to your business needs. There are tier 1 systems available that may seem impressive at first glance, but once they are installed any changes come with hefty fees or require a team of specialists to administer it. Seeking out a provider that can tailor a solution for your particular business processes will circumvent later issues.
The use of cloud software like Urbanise will also allow and improve processes for remote working. Whether we are constrained by the realities of a global pandemic or not, providers are able to operate across the world and respond to any issues as they arise without the need for excessive travel.
As we move into a post pandemic period, this will be an important factor for months and possibly years ahead, as returning to workplaces, domestic and international travel remains restricted or is re-evaluated by organisations looking at how their operations will adapt to the ‘new normal’.
Above all, facility managers need to be assured that the cloud solution they implement is safe and secure. A provider that is ASX listed means that users can relax, knowing that they are in the safe hands of a reliable organisation that is heavily audited, and brings with it the promise of good governance and greater security.
It doesn’t matter if it’s state-driven, national or global, with the right cloud-based FM solution, superior analytics and reporting will drive every piece of relevant information back to you in real time. The innovative nature of cloud technology in today’s current climate enables facility managers to perform to the best of their ability in challenging circumstances.
Ashley Austin is the global customer development director at Urbanise.