Maths teachers used to tell us to learn our way around numbers as we wouldn’t be walking round with a calculator in our pocket. While they were wrong about the latter, the importance of numerical data cannot be underestimated.
As facilities management collects more and more data in order to identify workplace insights and get ahead of the competition, we must ask ourselves what skills are required within the team to turn that data into actionable information. While core on the curriculum, Maths is often a subject people struggle with and indeed, exam results from the UK and Australia, for example, have shown a decline in standards.
However, with problems come solutions. While data will continue to rise in prominence for FM, software vendors continue to work on ways to make it easier to access, analyze and collect it.
Reducing human error
Service Works Global has been surveying the industry for over a decade, with the results showing that ease of reporting was consistently the most desirable benefit of a IWMS system. When using spreadsheets or paper, reporting can be a very time-consuming, difficult process, which is prone to manual error; meanwhile IWMS performs the same calculations in seconds. On-screen dashboards can be customized to show live data relevant to each user. For example, help desk operatives can see graphs and charts relating to the number of jobs outstanding and which operative they have been assigned to, whereas a facilities manager may look at cost per task and resolution times across different services. Data can also be exported to Excel on demand or scheduled on a regular basis to save on administration time.
Integrating PowerBI reporting with IWMS
While Excel is a commonly used business tool, for those looking for deeper insights it can still require a degree of skill in making the graphs and using formulae such as VLOOKUP or pivot tables. Business intelligence software like Power BI has faster processing power than Excel and has been designed not only to allow the user to build complex dashboards but also to make it simple to interpret the insight. Power BI can be linked to QFM software and any other database. Reports can be built from scratch; alternatively Service Works Global provides clients with a set of templates on key KPIs. Information obtained could include:
- Number of open jobs in a date range by contractor or operative, filtered by type (e.g planned or reactive), and status (open, closed or in progress)
- A site-wide overview including total jobs, details for each, and total number of visits, assets and contractors
- Work completed in standard hours vs overtime
- Reactive and PPM works compared to location and cost
- Average completion time by contractor and operative.
Data at your fingertips
Workplace wellness, alongside energy management, is arguably FM’s most pressing concern. More organizations are implementing sensors to capture movement and environmental data such as air quality, temperature and noise levels 24/7. This can generate an immense amount of data, but tools like Power BI allow FMs to focus on areas of interest. This could be cross-referenced with maintenance data – for example to find that when the air conditioning unit was broken, x% fewer employees came into the office; or that area A receives the most footfall and has x facilities compared to area D which is less popular.
While a feel for numbers is handy when working in FM, technology has risen to the challenge of assisting those who don’t. IWMS software is instrumental in collecting accurate data and presenting snapshots, and for those who require a deeper level of slicing and dicing, integration with Power BI takes the hard work and a degree of data know-how out of the equation.
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