Every once in a while it is fun to gaze into the crystal ball, not only for the amusement factor but also because it is a strategic activity. Strategic in the sense that you look outside your current circumstances and try to discern likely futures, and doing that can in turn shape the shifts you make in anticipation.
So let’s do a bit of strategic gazing. As we look at the future of Facility Management what do we imagine might be different in the coming years? Here are a few suggestions.
Budgets will be determined at the strategic level and given to FM to prioritize and manage. This shift will be driven by the need for agility in executing corporate priorities and the importance of aligning capital spend and operations in an increasingly complex and integrated technology environment. It recognizes that executive leadership is best positioned to prioritize strategy while business unit leadership is best positioned to prioritize investments within a strategy.
FM will be elevated to the C-Suite. There will be a second “CFO” in the suite, the Chief Facilities Officer (alternatively, the Chief Asset Officer). The sheer value of FM is rising to the level that it demands front office executive attention. As a result, business acumen will become the number one FM executive skill and many FM units will be headed by leaders who do not have a technical background. MBA’s will lead FM, PE’s and professionals will remain in their traditional roles.
Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) will be prioritized to extend asset life cycles. Financial investment in capital assets will be recognized as a significant lever on the overall health of an organization. With this the primary emphasis of SLA’s will be shifted to maximizing the life of assets and contributing to productivity.
Global recession fallout will be with us for the foreseeable future. The forms this takes will be many. Reduced capital availability and higher cost will limit options, placing an emphasis on space efficiency. Coupled with a younger workforce and their work lifestyle expectations the trend towards increased use of alternative office strategies will continue.
The line between FM and IT will continue to blur. Said another way, FM will become more and more dependent upon IT. The mantra will continue to be streamlined processes that operate intuitively and require less and less intervention. By definition that means a more complicated data sharing and dependency environment.
Worker productivity will be the measure for everything. FM value will be stated in productivity terms, including how the workspace is organized and maintained. Service initiatives will support increased productivity and outcomes for most projects and initiatives will be measured and reported. Why? Because productivity is a root issue. It leads directly to revenue, space, cost of services and everything else that affects the bottom line.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) will be the development vehicle of choice. BIM and IPD are here to stay, and that’s a good thing. BIM contributes to both the development goals of a project and its life long efficiency and sustainability. IPD is simply what it says, a fully integrated approach to delivering projects. It means partnering and working in truly integrated fashion, including sharing risk and rewards. The payoffs are faster delivery, lower first and life cycle costs, higher satisfaction and more opportunity.