The priority of any savvy FM – beyond remaining commercially viable – is to deliver the best possible service to clients. But with the IT space evolving faster than ever before, supporting customers with document and data management is tough. Here, Tim Mercer, CEO of Vapour Cloud advises how to use technology to aid data management compliance and efficiencies…
Is modern tech an FM’s nightmare or the key to greater efficiency and compliance?
The explosion of the cloud technology market has presented organisations with a number of secure applications capable of transforming the way we do business. Even processes that companies didn’t know they could do better, are now becoming slicker – as standard – because tech is getting so intuitive. As innovations evolve and the sector matures, these sophisticated solutions deliver more commercial robustness, and customer expectations are increasingly rising as a result.
The potential for facilities managers to deliver an even greater level of service to clients, is therefore vast. It could even be argued that if FMs don’t harness the technologies that organisations are so readily demanding, they will soon get left behind.
But the advanced nature of some of these applications means they need experts to support them. FMs therefore face a distinct challenge – try to deter clients from the opportunities that modern data management solutions bring, in favour of pushing older tech that may no longer be fit for purpose. Or, embrace the tech but struggle with the ongoing service delivery that clients seek.
There is a third option of course, which is to build collaborative relationships with tech partners, so that the solution is provided to customers in tandem. By doing so, FMs can concentrate on what they’re good at, safe in the knowledge that the client is satisfied with the systems they are now utilising.
The evolving space
Previously, hosted comms was easy. FMs provided the internet and consequently clients had the connectivity they required to do business. But the space is getting tougher to navigate. Cybercrime is on the rise, GDPR has overhauled our security considerations and disaster recovery strategies are now commonplace. However, familiar only with WiFi provision, many FMs still leave customers – or their IT firm – to organise their own backup and firewall, for instance. This limited model certainly presents less of a tech headache for the FM, but not from a customer experience perspective. When something goes wrong, out comes the finger of blame, which is usually far from helpful.
This is not to say that FMs need to become data management gurus themselves. But they should consider moving away from the prescriptive approach they have long adopted. Clients want options and with the need to boost the robustness of their comms infrastructure, they’re often willing to pay more for a savvier alternative. Providing only one ‘cheap and cheerful’ solution may therefore restrict compliance potential, hinder client efficiencies and limit FMs’ margins.
Telecoms is another area to consider. Delivering basic voice comms is relatively straightforward. But as the unified communications space progresses, so too do client demands. They want call recording as standard – but where should the resulting data be stored and how do clients recover it? They want to empower staff to work from home in a growing era of flexible working and with WebRTC capabilities becoming ever smarter, this should be no problem – but will their comms provision enable them to do that securely and effectively? They want to have video comms without needing to rely on the instability of Skype, but is this even an option?