Facilities are mission critical for any organization. From military bases to hospitals, schools, office buildings, and government buildings, your organization cannot function unless your facilities are open for business. But they are costly: facilities-related costs are typically the second largest expense of most organizations right behind salaries and wages.
Facility managers are charged with ensuring that these mission-critical assets are performing optimally. The challenges facing modern facility managers are numerous, wide ranging and growing. Each day their teams are measured by their ability to increase occupancy and utilization rates, reduce energy consumption, decrease work order response times, reduce lease costs, increase lease revenues, reduce deferred maintenance backlogs, and impact a myriad of other key metrics. In addition, the facility management team is expected to ensure compliance with the organization’s sustainability plans and a broad range of environmental health and safety regulations, ensure that access is appropriately secured, and that the overall portfolio is safe from a wide range of natural and human-generated risks.
Modern facility management is an information-intensive business. Unfortunately, the information that a facility manager needs to obtain a holistic understanding of how the portfolio is performing is likely to come from a variety of disparate enterprise information systems. Space assignment, lease financials, asset and work management, energy consumption, physical plant operations, environmental health and safety, and security operations all have intensive information needs that are being served by many different systems. To tie all these various information sources together into a single comprehensive view of the portfolio, facility managers are increasingly turning to GIS (geographic information system) as a unifying technology platform.
GIS provides a map-centric visualization, analysis and systems integration platform that is valuable to many different business requirements across the facility lifecycle. When combined with information from other systems and sources, GIS can enable facility managers to:
- Ensure their portfolio is geographically aligned with an organization’s mission.
- Understand how those facilities are performing.
- Determine how to most effectively deploy resources.
Within a facilities GIS, a facility manager is able to view, understand, question, interpret, visualize and manage data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts. GIS can be used for portfolio planning and management, operations and maintenance, and safety and security, as well as many other applications. GIS is also an ideal integration platform for combining information from a wide variety of sources and presenting a consolidated visualization in a map-based interface.
Of course, like any other enterprise information system, GIS relies on sound data to reveal its value. New data interoperability tools and a collection of thoughtful data standards along with evolving service-oriented architectures are reducing the complexity and effort required to integrate data and capabilities from disparate systems. Many organizations are gaining significant value today from very modest investments in facilities GIS.