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FM Insider

Qube Global Software's CEO John Cuppello takes a seat in the Facilities Managers chair in an interview with FMJ. John's interview highlights the benefits of Business Intelligence whilst discussing how he would approach the challenges facing Facilities Managers in today’s market. Challenges that include cost cutting, developing long term relationships with service providers to using technology to enhance the profession’s status.

FMJ (Facilities Management Journal) is a leading publication for professionals across the entire industry. The long running FM insider column invites service professionals to imagine they are sitting in a Facilities Manager’s chair and to provide advice and insight on how to solve their problems.

1. How does it feel to be standing in the FM shoes?

A little daunting and challenging. The FM role is so diverse and varied, from managing one building to a whole portfolio of buildings and ensuring that they are run smoothly; ultimately contributing to the organisations success. The FM brief is becoming ever wider from environmental issues and legislation to covering the whole property lifecycle and managing total costs of occupancy.

2. What are the challenges facing FM’s in today’s market?

Due to the overwhelming evidence of the existence of global warming and the resulting government legislation and public opinion; FMs are eagerly pursuing ways to reduce their organisation’s environmental impact. Energy consumption and waste are two areas that can be improved through effective management of buildings. A good ‘computer aided facilities management’ (CAFM) system can help FMs monitor their organisation’s energy use and reduce carbon footprint. FMs also need to maintain standards in all aspects of their facilities. From cleaning through to lift maintenance to ensuring compliance with Health & Safety requirements, on a budget that may have been frozen or even reduced.

With such a wide area of responsibility, FMs can be so busy with day to day operational issues that they have limited time available to plan ahead and take a more strategic viewpoint; such as managing present and projected costs. This is another area in which the implementation of a good FM software solution can help, through quickly turning provided data into a range of schedules and Business Intelligence (BI) reports. This can include long term budgets, work identified and planned as a result of condition surveys, along with detailed information on likely planned and reactive maintenance costs. It also enables a focus spend in areas that have a more direct impact on the company’s prime business operations. BI can also help FMs collect accurate data; allowing management to make informed decisions by turning data into information and information into knowledge.

Space management is another growing requirement. Through system integration, the convergence of property and facilities software can allow FMs to manage the facilities in the buildings and to measure how much usage they are getting from a particular space.

3. What expertise would you bring to the arena?

Qube Global Software has 30 years experience in implementing property and facilities management software into over 850 organisations. Over the years I have witnessed different ways in which FMs work, giving me an in depth understanding of Best Practice – what works and what doesn’t.

The need to measure and target performance against Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) is crucial in the FM Industry. We have always made it easy to use our software to manage these processes, so I could impart advice on how to implement and work to SLA’s effectively, and report on them efficiently and accurately.

4. Will cost cutting be your mantra or would you differentiate your methods?

With the current climate’s spending review and cuts to the Public Sector, which in turn will affect the Private Sector, cost cutting is an important factor for FMs. That is why FM systems play such an important role. While a good FM system will improve organisations efficiency and therefore cut costs, a more sophisticated FM system will have the additional benefit of BI. I understand how important it is for business processes to run efficiently with access to accurate information and if well applied, Executive Dashboards can drive improvements in profitability and substantial increases in customer service and sales performance. Dashboards allow for comparisons, ‘what-if’ scenarios and questioning of data, allowing the viewer to interact and collaborate with data thus determining new insights such as possible trend lines or modelling outcomes. FMs can take a clear and accurate look at their facilities and see what is costing the most to maintain as well as visualise property performance by geographical location. The experience I have gained of filtering data for the most relevant information and creating subsequent reports which are easy to run and interpret, gives me a thorough understanding of how to analyse performance and drive continued improvements.

5. What mistakes can you learn from?

I have found that some FMs are ambitious and eager when installing FM systems but do not always have the right tools, which can sometimes hinder the systems performance in the long run. It is important to remember that installing a FM system it isn’t a short term solution to cost cutting, but a long term solution to running businesses more efficiently. Service Providers should be seen as a long term partner; working together ensures a successful implementation. The Service Provider will be able to contribute to the organisation beyond the realms of the software itself such as help with business processes and working with you throughout the life cycle.

6. What would be your big idea?

The Facilities Management industry is key to how we use property and we should use technology to make buildings intelligent and better environments to work in. Using technology to continually develop intelligent buildings is a way to overcome both environmental and economic challenges, such as using less energy with movement censors for heating, air conditioning and lights; saving paper by using PDA’s for directions to meeting rooms, layout of meeting rooms and agenda’s; save time and create efficiency through automatic room cancelling; if you don’t confirm a room booking 20 minutes before the set time the room automatically becomes available.

Use technology to create a new role for Facilities Managers by enhancing their status. Let technology deal with the day to day tasks so FMs can deal with the more important duties. Complying with regulations takes up an increasing amount of their working day so let technology deal with the day to day tasks so FMs can deal with the more important duties

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