5 Data-Minded Questions to Ask In Your Next Facilities Management RFP

​Data and technology can no longer be ignored in the commercial real estate industry RFP process.

Imagine catching equipment failures before they happen. Or having a single view of all of your systems, in all of your buildings, that combines BMS, EMS and CMMS systems. Or reliably saving money on equipment, materials and inventory because you can predict what your facility will need and when.

All of that is possible. Right now.

The corporate real estate and facilities management RFP process should connect building owners with the all the essential resources and knowledge that are cost prohibitive to build in-house – but it doesn’t. The technology that runs buildings has changed, but the RFP process has not, making many of today’s proposals for outsourced facilities management services incomplete.

What has changed?

Large buildings are rapidly incorporating “smart” technologies into core operations, allowing for cost savings on lighting, security, elevator and HVAC systems that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Building owners and facilities managers can now collect data from those critical assets. However, most facilities professionals have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with the data available to them and have not yet realized the potential to improve building performance and profits.

The fix.

Just as building owners outsource skilled engineering and operations talent to real estate service providers that scale and learn across hundreds or thousands of properties, it’s important to outsource data management to experts who can aggregate information and learn across thousands of asset fleets to benefit your own. Data run through a machine learning platform drives enormous predictive value, separating the haves and have nots across major industries, and moving building operations from reactive to proactive.

Predictive analytics are also shifting the corporate and commercial real estate industry toward a performance- and outcomes-driven model from a traditional cost-focused model.

The current facilities management RFP process omits this new, critical element of building operations.

5 data-minded questions for your next RFP.

Before issuing – or responding to – another RFP, ensure all facets of the value chain are considered by including data and machine learning. Below are five important questions to ask in your next RFP:

  1. Describe your facilities management IoT technology capabilities, skillsets, and philosophy.
  2. What is your firm’s approach to facilities services and building automation?
  3. Describe how you are able to leverage available data and provide clients actionable insights with respect to capital budgeting, building performance, service level agreements, and preventative maintenance?
  4. What resources do you employ within your organization to stay on top of this rapidly evolving area of facilities management?
  5. What software do you use? Is it in-house? If not, what third-party platform providers do you work with?

The answers to these questions will be telling about how current and forward-looking your potential service providers are. Those that are ready to thoughtfully incorporate data into their offerings should go to the top of your list for offering cutting edge technology and being an organization that adapts when tools become available to the industry. Those that are not ready or can’t provide complete information to these questions may still be behind the curve when IoT technology is commonplace.

The experts agree: the business model is changing.

Vik Bangia of Verum Consulting has more than 25 years of experience in the corporate real estate and facilities management field. Having experienced the need for predictive analytics in the “smart buildings” space, he started working with Uptake this summer to design actionable insights products that will work in the corporate and commercial real estate industry. “If more of the CRE and FM leaders in this industry knew about machine learning solutions, and if service providers were willing to invest in providing such an obvious solution that cuts costs, it would revolutionize the facilities management industry,” Bangia said. “It’s a race with a definite first-mover’s advantage. As I’ve said before, five years from now, no one in the facilities management industry will be able to say they didn’t see this coming. What interests me most is the possibility that one of the smaller players in the industry will leapfrog at least one of the majors if they invest in FM IoT technology.”

Let’s talk.

Uptake works with professionals on all sides of the commercial real estate industry – from equipment manufacturers to university campus managers, and facilities management companies to commercial franchises. Contact us to learn more about the value of actionable insights software for your business. Let’s challenge what is possible for the future of the commercial real estate industry.

Sonny Garg is the energy solutions lead at Uptake, a SaaS-based predictive analytics technology company. He was previously the president of Exelon Power and the chief information and innovation officer at Exelon Corporation.