5 Reasons Indian Facilities Managers Are Ready To Embrace Technology

A couple of weeks ago I had written about the high hopes I had from our newly signed “Business Partner” relationship with the world leader in Facilities Management Solutions, ARCHIBUS. In that piece, I very briefly touched upon a topic that I believe needs some further examination – why those who manage Indian facilities are eager to embrace technology solutions to become more effective.

The Numbers

First let’s look at some cold, hard facts. Research Firm Markets and Markets, in their 2017 report on the Facility Management Market estimated that the worldwide market would rise from USD 28.90 Billion in 2016 to USD 56.67 Billion in 2021 – over 14% CAGR. Interestingly the report also mentioned that while the largest share would remain with the North American market, the fastest growth over the period would be recorded by the APAC market. The report went on to mention, “The primary driving forces for this growth are changing work culture in organizations and rapidly deployable cloud-based solutions in various industries in the APAC countries, especially India, China, and Japan.” Yes, India is ready for better technology in Facilities Management Solutions – and it’s not hard to make a quantum leap from the current Excel-based facilities management. So, what’s driving this change?

More space to manage

Well, the basic condition is the growth in office space and facilities. As the economy grows so does the need for office space. I recall an estimate by Technavio that almost half of all the office space leased in Asia in Q3 2015 was leased in India. The growing service focus of the Indian economy has led to this boom and nothing fundamentally has changed there. Look at the ITES / BPO sector that is a major driver here – Technavio (again) has estimated that by 2020, 325 million sq. feet in the metros, and 300 million sq. ft in the smaller cities would be needed by these industries. Clearly, the facilities that need better management are there, and the size, scale, and scope is far greater than anything seen earlier.

An enabling workplace

In service-based industries the primary concern of those managing the facilities is to provide an enabling environment that allows the employees to perform at their optimal level always. The facilities must be equipped with the appropriate infrastructure, must be at the professional level expected of the organization, and in many cases, must be of an internationally accepted standard. Achieving all this at the scale today’s large, multi-locational facilities demand is pretty much impossible to do manually – this is where a comprehensive, structured, technology-based solution can make all the difference.

Optimal utilization of resources

Then there is the economic imperative. Real estate is not cheap and neither are the facilities that must be provided. Facilities managers are under pressure to optimize how the money is spent, and the benefits that investment delivers. Organizations want to utilize all available space by adopting approaches like Hot-Desking. They want to minimize the wastage of energy and other utility spends – use what is needed and nothing more. Again, the scale makes this a formidable effort, without turning to technology, that is.

Going Green

Green is the colour of corporate responsibility today. Businesses see real business benefit, better brand perceptions, and maintain a cleaner conscience by being socially responsible – and one of the first places that starts is in being green in their work places. Organizations of all sizes and hues are adopting environmentally responsible policies. This means smarter use of energy, better handling of waste, more recycling, and much more tightly integrated processes across the workplace. Technology can plan a significant role in helping these organizations achieve their green objectives.

A view to the future

It’s not all about the present either – getting ready for the future is also firmly in the sights of the leaders of Indian companies and this is where the technology of Facilities Management is occupying their thoughts. Consider all the air time Smart Cities are getting – with such a concerted push by the Government of India it’s a fair bet that significant changes will follow in India’s cities. When the cities become smart – can the buildings fall behind? Buildings will become more automated and smarter. Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) will find growing adoption in the workplaces of the future in India. And those who manage those workplaces today know that to be ready for that future they must start preparing themselves now.

There is also the personal impact on the Facilities Managers themselves – many will agree that today this is not a particularly prized position or a highly-valued role. My own sense is this is set to change – the role is set to become much more strategic in nature and the adoption of cutting-edge technology solutions will only increase its sheen. I believe that we are on the cusp of a transformation – the world of Facilities Management in India is set to take a more technology driven turn and I’m sure that it will be solutions like ARCHIBUS that will make that change happen. Will you be ready?

(Thank you for stopping by. I want to use this space to share my thoughts on how technology can help to make Facilities Management more effective, with the occasional foray into adjacent areas like Mobility and Software. I would welcome your comments or feedback. You can also follow me on Twitter at @mohankgv.)