Facilities Data That Captures C-Suite Attention
Buildings talk — but do they talk to your CFO? If you listen carefully and through the right system, your facilities could tell you how to reduce operational failure risk, increase energy efficiency, and anticipate capital expenditures.
Chris Browne, Director, Corporate Solutions Operations, Jones Lang LaSalle (November 2012)

{{RELATEDLINKS}}CFOs may not think they need to know the status of a HVAC unit in a data center hidden in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. And they may be right — sort of. What the C-suite does need is confidence in the reliability and efficiency of facilities equipment throughout the global real estate footprint. Ask any manufacturing line manager: Plant shut-downs cause ripples throughout the global supply chain that cost millions in both dollars and customer sentiment. The C-suite notices.

Creating Meaningful Business Analytics

Today’s emerging facility management platforms are generating data that, more than ever before, can be aggregated in a meaningful way to inform business strategy at a high level — both in terms of managing risk and informing strategic planning. Within many of the most popular facilities management systems in use today, building automation merely drives the efficiency of individual systems and components, which certainly has value in and of itself. But today’s integrated facility management encompasses far more than individual building efficiencies — rather, it provides a global approach.

Through new open-platform, remote facility monitoring and data aggregation systems, corporations and other building owners now have the ability to gather operations data from their facilities around the world. And with that ability to gather source data also comes the technological muscle to create meaningful business analytics.

But let’s speak in the language of the CFO. Integrated facility management platforms have evolved to provide comprehensive facilities intelligence. Coupled with skilled professionals to implement and interpret trends, a sophisticated integrated facilities management system will:

Information Is Power
Operational data for individual buildings or a global portfolio can be surprisingly hard to come by — and even harder to aggregate. When you lack data, an apples-to-apples comparison of locations in different parts of the globe becomes nearly impossible, and benchmarks are challenging to establish. But new technologies are bringing this data together, and to dashboards fit for an iPad in some cases.

Following is an analysis of several new trends in integrated facilities management, and how they can help corporate real estate departments to drive positive business outcomes:

Talking the Talk
CFOs typically want to know how soon systems can be aligned following building purchases or an M&A. In fact, platform-agnostic systems like IntelliCommand can make systems integration much easier, since they work with nearly any standard building automation system in use today. Using the information gathered through such systems, an integrated facilities management team can diagnose and resolve any issue in real-time, 24/7, fine-tuning operations for optimal performance through proactive and continuous monitoring.

Building productivity is the holy grail of creating savings through strategic portfolio management. At CoreNet (November 2011), Jones Lang LaSalle launched IntelliCommand™, the industry's first integrated building management solution that combines cloud-based, smart-building technology with a world-class team of engineering and operations professionals to enable 24/7, real-time remote monitoring and control of facilities and portfolios worldwide. Chris Browne describes how predictive analytics can pinpoint building maintenance and management issues through more productive and efficient management.

But the full value of smart building facilities management systems is realized only when system-enabled buildings are connected to a smart grid. For example, such systems can act as a translator between individual buildings themselves and other energy systems — including managing the inflow and outflow of building energy. Imagine new revenue streams from selling excess heat generated by a building rather than the expense of covering a spike in air conditioning. The possibilities are in their infancy since most cities lack smart grid infrastructure, but this open communication between buildings and the surrounding grid lays the groundwork for significant energy efficiencies and cost savings.

Location selection has always relied on economic, real estate, and labor market statistics to inform decision-making. But as smart buildings, smart integrated facilities management systems, and smart grids become increasingly available, CFOs and corporate real estate executives are likely to find that these technologies affect where — and what types of — facilities should be located to best support innovation, cost-efficiency, and productivity.