Is The Facilities Industry Asking The Wrong Question About Data?


We have a love affair with data. Charts, spreadsheets, databases. It is the answer to validating our existence as facilities managers and service providers. No doubt, data is powerful and becoming increasingly more important.You know information is incredibly important to you decision making process. This information we are gathering takes the emotion out of our decisions by providing concrete evidence. After all, numbers don't lie.Data without workflow is a one way street.

Are we asking the wrong question about data?

The facilities maintenance industry is buzzing about data. Data is the new self-performing.How do we gather the data?What data should we document?What reports do we need to take a look at regularly?These are questions are great questions, but they are not the right question.The right question is, “What are we going to do with the data?Are we overcomplicating the whole process? Are we getting lost in the “Big Data” rhetoric and looking at the wrong talking points?

Collecting data and generating reports will not solve our problems.

Data is viewed as separate from the work that is being done. It is the information about the work being done instead of information for the work being done.You may not agree with this. Let me explain.What happens to the data you collect. Chances are you, a member of your team, or an analyst is charged with the task of analyzing the data, creating reports, and identifying trends.Is this helpful? Sure, but it’s slow. The information you are using is old. You are not catching negative trends in real time.

You are gathering all of this information, but you are still being reactive.

That RTU has already been repaired too many times.Your electrical contractor’s average invoice has already increased. Their response time has already decreased.The warranty on your water heater has already expired before you had an opportunity to schedule a final check up.You are gathering all of this information, but you are still being reactive.The damage is already done by the time you get your reports.

The segmentation of data and work flow.

What are you going to do with the data?If the answer to this question is that you are going to leverage information to make better decisions, you need to have the information at the time you are making the decision.In order to do this effectively, data can’t live in a separate report that is pulled on a scheduled basis. It has to be built into the work flow and pushed at the point where you are making the decision.If you are dispatching a work order, don’t you want to know the average invoice, the rate, or the response rate for that contractor before you send it?If you creating a work order for your cooler, don’t you want to know if it is under warranty without having to check your asset schedule first?If you a warranty is about to expire, shouldn’t you be able to set a notification to remind you before it happens.You need to see the decision making information at the point you are making the decision.Data is great. The more we have, the better our industry will become. We will make better decisions.Just don’t be fooled that having the information is the sole answer. You need to build it in to your work flow.At the end of the day, would you rather be reactive or proactive. You get to make the decision.