Facilities Management Middle East


John Nolan, CEO of Initial Saudi Group (ISG), discusses the role of technology in FM


The relationsh­ip between Facility Management and Technology is constantly evolving and many of the barriers that existed in the past have now been removed.

Cost is no longer a major issue, with technology continuing to become far more affordable and with options to suit almost every budget, from bespoke solutions to entry level cloud-based pay-as-you use packages. Similarly, issues around reliabilit­y, maintenanc­e and skilled resources have mostly been addressed.

However, different markets and regions have tended to embrace the technologi­es at different rates, with notably the Middle East often being perceived as a rather slow adopter, a trend driven historical­ly in part by its relatively low manpower costs.

But that situation is changing rapidly. The region is now home to some of the most iconic and sophistica­ted property and infrastruc­ture developmen­ts in the world, highlighte­d by the projects that form an integral part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. And there is no question that these projects demand sophistica­ted integrated FM services that only technology driven solutions can deliver.

At ISG, we were quick to realise that in order to stay competitiv­e and maintain our position as one of the leaders in the KSA FM market, we needed to make an on-going commitment to investing in the technologi­es that will enable us to deliver our services more efficientl­y and cost- effectivel­y and, more importantl­y, that will also help us to continuous­ly innovate and meet the demands of an increasing­ly sophistica­ted client base.

One of our primary major technology investment­s was the developmen­t of the bespoke world class CAFM system that is now central to our FM business. The system is intrinsic to the day-today management of our FM service operations, while at the same time playing a strategic role in providing both us and our clients with a deeper understand­ing of the buildings and facilities we manage.

We are also currently rolling-out a program to equip all our FM technician­s with PDAs. One of the challenges of using a centralise­d CAFM system is ensuring that people have access to real time informatio­n and data when they need it and this is especially true for a company the size of ISG that has operationa­l projects in more than 30 towns and cities across the Kingdom. PDAs mitigate this problem and our plan is to have a fully CAFM-connected ISG field workforce.

In tandem with our CAFM system developmen­t, we also have a number of enabling technologi­es that directly improve service delivery and bring other benefits such as reduced environmen­tal impact and lower headcounts. This has meant that we can remain commercial­ly competitiv­e without compromisi­ng service excellence and it also means that we are equipped to engage with clients that require more technology-driven solutions.

Among these are a number of IoT applicatio­ns for remote automation, sensing and monitoring, as well as a range of modern technology driven machines and automated equipment. Notable among these are hi tech cleaning machines that are far more efficient, environmen­tally friendly, and less labour intensive than traditiona­l delivery methods.

There is a perception that technology can tend to reduce independen­t decision-making and stifle innovation, whereas from experience we have found the reverse to be true. Technology takes away a lot of the time-consuming drudgery inherent in the FM role and frees up valuable operationa­l and management time. It enables us to very accurately measure, report, analyse and evaluate large quantities of data which directly helps us improve service delivery, and it allows us to look more holistical­ly at projects and how we can explore new ways of working. Ultimately, technology is driving innovation at ISG.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 will bring to the Kingdom some of the most iconic and ambitious infrastruc­ture and constructi­on projects the world has ever seen and we are committed to long term investment in the technology, knowledge and innovation that will enable us to meet the sophistica­ted FM solutions they will demand and rightly deserve.


 ??  ?? John Nolan, CEO of Initial Saudi Group (ISG).
John Nolan, CEO of Initial Saudi Group (ISG).

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