Monday, October 26, 2009

Too Beautiful Not to Post

This post has nothing to do with facilities, operations, sustainability or leadership. Those normal subjects take a back seat (if there was one) to these beauties. For the car enthusiasts and speed freaks among us....enjoy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Solar Power Goes Racing

Australia's World Solar Challenge race is off and running.

A Shifting Global Economy - Who’s Gaining and Who’s Losing?

You need look no further than the large corporate merger and acquisition scorecard to see that economic power is shifting around the globe. Ken Smith’s article in the June issue of the Harvard Business Review makes the case nicely and points to both risks and responses. But first, who are the gainers and the losers?





























Czech Republic




Hong Kong










As with any shift scenario this one presents opportunity and risk. Organizations involved will need to work out operational details, resolve cross-border governance and decide how deep the shift will go. Will executive management location for the acquired unit remain or move to the gaining country? That is a key decision since moving the executives means that other key support functions such as Finance and Corporate Real Estate are likely to follow in order to maintain strategic and operational alignment.

Competitors will feel pressure to match an acquisition if they percieve a need to match either growth or offering expansion. Doing so smartly can help maintain competitive balance, executing poorly can create competitive separation.

As these M&A’s occur CRE and FM groups are challenged to keep pace. Operations must be aligned; and reporting and management systems must be integrated or shifted. Portfolio strategy and key alliance relationships will inevitably be affected, and CRE’s/FM’s must be proactive in doing so.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If You Can’t Follow the Moon Then Live in the Cloud

In the July 26 post to this blog I discussed the “follow the moon” strategy being implemented by some data operators. As beneficial as the moon strategy may be, however, it is only viable for organizations which possess both the need and capacitiy for such a distributed infrastructure. Most companies do not fall into that category. What then is a small to mid-size organization to do by way of providing needed computing capacity and application diversity while still supporting a green data initiative? One answer is cloud computing. Reduced to its basics, cloud computing is an infrastructure in which applications and their attendant servers belong to someone else. This “software as a service” (SaaS) approach allows you to access applications that are held remotely while the resulting files are maintained locally. Your subscription fee for the service then pays for not only the application license but also your proscribed share of development and operating costs.

David Bradshaw, International Data Corporation research manager for European software as a service, says "… it is clear that SaaS has become accepted by the mainstream of user organizations around Europe. This will result in continued strong growth, making SaaS a rising star in a very largely depressed European software market." He goes on to note that that the overall European SaaS market will grow from €237 million in 2004 to a projected €6,005 million in 2013 (as of April 2009).

Here in the U.S. we see a similar pattern. One noteable market segment that is shifting to cloud computing is the education sector. In some cases entire college districts or systems are converting to a cloud architecture, allowing the system or students to purchase netbook computers at a typical cost of $200 USD instead of something ten times that amount. This is a good example of a disbursed enterprise with diverse computing needs. The cloud solution allows standardization on an affordable computing platform with access to a wide array of software.

In a small business context the solution may be as simple as Google Apps, Yahoo’s Zimbra or one of the other products of similar ilk. Again, this allows you access to a wide variety of software at a fraction of the cost of owning the software, shifts responsibility for software updates and maintenance to the provider, and allows you the option of downsizing the cost of your computing hardware.

Following the moon isn’t for everybody and neither is cloud computing, but the cloud offers substantial benefit to a much wider set of enterprises. Software diversity, cost avoidance, time saved supporting your software and other advantages are all make the cloud an attractive solution.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Report on IFMA WorldWorkplace 2009

As you no doubt noted from my last post, there was no shortage of fun in Orlando. But, we also networked, sat through numerous educational sessions and walked our way through the exhibition floor learning about new products and technologies. Although the event was smaller this year (no surprise there) the content quality that I experienced seemed to have improved over my last visit to WorldWorkplace. Kudos to the IFMA team, volunteers and especially to those who took the time to prepare and present information that FM practitioners need to improve our own quality and outcomes.

As you might suspect renewable energy, LEED, and all other things green were in prominence. It was appropriate then that Andrew Winston, author of Green to Gold present the opening keynote address to set the tone. In some regard this felt a bit like “preaching to the choir” since FM’s are keenly attuned to the issue of environmental responsibility. Still, there were good reminders and insights that may help you make the green case in your workplace. Here are a few attention getters from Andrew:

75% of MBA students believe that Corporate Social Responsibility is a requirement.

Every year China builds the equivalent of 31 Manhattan’s – not one year, every year.

Being “lean” is no longer just smart, it is becoming a necessity as resources are diverted to developing and emerging economies.

The U.S. automobile industry didn’t collapse so much because of the credit crunch as to market forces. Companies like Honda, Nissan and Subaru all grew year over year because they had the right energy efficient products.

Toyota’s Prius is the most successful green product ever (to date).

In another session Dave Alpert focused on recent and developing environmental legislation in California that will directly affect FM’s operating in the state. Assembly Bill (AB) 32 for example requires renewable energy be a part of every development project. Exactly what that means is yet to be determined, but the message is clear. Renewable energy is a key element of California’s forward strategy. AB113, modeled after European Union regulations will require the monitoring and reporting of energy use by large facilities. And in Dave’s and multiple other presentations it is clear that Cap and Trade legislation is now presumed. Some companies are investing in green technologies to lean new projects underway now in anticipation, spending now to create a new revenue stream when Cap and Trade legislation becomes law.

Those are just a few of the many highlights. To those of you who missed the trip we’re sorry you weren’t there and hope to see you next year in Atlanta.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IFMA WorldWorkplace - Orlando

More to come later but for now, check out the happenings in Orlando.

A smaller crowd this year as expected, but a lively one none the less. Lots of good info and maybe just a bit of fun as well.

Here's a product for your new home office

Break time

Exhibition Floor

OK, we had some fun too

Monday, October 5, 2009

Green Bites to Start the Week

Energy storage gets its own agency

Helix to power cell phone towers

Who knew California has money?

I knew I need to visit Australia!

Really small things could have big impact

If we can’t turn water into fuel then why not water bottles?

Smart grid, smart choice

Vermont (among others) does the right thing

Solar roofs without the ugly

Soap Box Derby goes green?

So you wanna race ‘green’ cars huh?