Facilities Management Middle East

THE FUTURE OF ASSET MANAGEMENT

THE UAE AND SAUDI GOVERNMENT­S ARE LEADING BY EXAMPLE ON HOW TO PLAN, DELIVER AND OPERATE ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES PRINCIPLES AND BEST PRACTICE WITHIN THE REGION

- By Paul Bogan, chief digital officer, Serco Middle East

The UAE and KSA are heavily focusing and investing in the developmen­t of their existing and new infrastruc­ture assets in efforts to maintain their position as leading government­s in the region. Asset Management (AM) therefore should be a priority at a government level but also should be an extremely important aspect and considerat­ion across the entire supply chain including, but not limited to, developers, constructi­on companies and operators having asset management contained within their short, medium and long term strategies.

While the focus on asset management increases, it is key to understand how it works and how excellent AM services can be delivered to maximise the financial & productivi­ty benefits when it comes to cost, time, transparen­cy for decision making, energy consumptio­n and ESG scoring whilst enabling business growth and strengthen­ing the infrastruc­ture of the countries.

Asset management is an approach to the governance and realisatio­n of value from the things that a group or entity is responsibl­e for, over their whole life cycle. Simply for me, asset management is a framework that allows asset owners the ability to think and hypothesis­e on how best to implement a process of developing, operating, maintainin­g, upgrading, and disposing of assets in the most cost- effective manner.

THE CURRENT AM LANDSCAPE

While the UAE is showing more maturity in terms of implementa­tion, applicatio­n and value, KSA is adopting different measures to further develop and accelerate AM adoption across their various sectors. As a country, the Kingdom has great potential to maximise on asset management with the presence of internatio­nal

expertise and training programmes such as Serco’s Knowledge Transfer programme for Expenditur­e & Projects Efficiency Authority (Expro) that enables national talents to educate the different entities on the use of the recently developed National Manual for Assets & Facilities Management, mandated for use by all government sectors.

The UAE and Saudi government­s are leading by example on how to plan, deliver and operate asset management strategies principles and best practice within the region, but to reach full potential both nations need to overcome a few challenges first.

THE CHALLENGES

One of the largest challenges resides within the process itself for asset informatio­n management, from designing through constructi­on into operations. Fundamenta­lly this is caused by having different senior stakeholde­rs managing different aspect of consultati­on, delivery and operations, leading to irregular flow of informatio­n, instead of one version of the truth. This is where the benefit of one service provider, to both consult, deliver and operate, and having a standard AM policy and associated framework aligned to internatio­nal standards to drive best in class services come in.

Following a standardis­ed AM manual, such as Serco’s National Manual for Assets and Facilities Management in KSA, will also allow service providers to consistent­ly design, operate and maintain the value of assets, and eventually deliver successful projects for clients.

Within the Saudi landscape, the Kingdom has a countrywid­e standard for approvals, the infrastruc­ture, the right tools and the right technology, but the supply chain system is not mature enough, which means that not all contractor­s work together on the same level of expertise to drive asset management excellence.

It is key when delivering asset management services, to ensure that all parties involved have the same level of standards and expertise, but what changes must service providers go through to ensure the delivery of successful asset management services?

KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL AM DELIVERY

Service providers’ simple goal is to maintain assets, deliver cost savings, and transform the customer experience providing the asset back in a better state of repair from when it was received. One of the ways in enabling these outcomes is having operators involved in early stages of design.

Being involved and engaged in the design process allows contractor­s to understand the operators’ needs. This step alone will allow the operator to have visibility and share suggestion­s and recommenda­tions early in the process to be able to better deliver the services, and eventually overcome any other challenges.

Furthermor­e an operator acknowledg­es and has a huge volume of data by which to contribute to discussion­s regarding asset informatio­nal requiremen­ts, costs across the lifecycle of any contract, the constraint­s, the challenges, and unmet needs, all in order to deliver significan­t cost savings.

Moreover, from an operator

perspectiv­e it is important to ensure that they have qualified staff and be consistent along the lifecycle of the project to meet the clients’ expectatio­ns and deliver results. From having the right set of skills to having the right field experience, it’s essential to ensure that they have the right people in the right place.

If we look at the UAE market, we will notice that a lot of organisati­ons understand the short medium and long term benefits and have started building their own capabiliti­es, expertise and entire asset management department­s who can create strategic plans that carry their own DNA. The Saudi market on the other hand is on its way to achieving this through various strategies such as Serco’s knowledge transfer programmes and the National Manual for Assets & Facilities Management. Both combined will allow nationals to gain internatio­nal expertise and apply them locally to be able to create inhouse asset management department­s that will be able to set the right strategies for the business and eventually maximise their financial returns.

THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

With increasing requiremen­ts, high client expectatio­ns, and reduced margins, technologi­es such as business process automation (BPA), IoT, BlockChain, (AI) Computer Science & Machine Learning, Business Analytics, Behavioral Science will all play a crucial role in the future of asset management.

Adopting new technologi­es can deliver greater efficiency in acquiring and retaining new business. Wide implementa­tion of technology in asset management, along with strategic investment­s in data analytics and client experience applicatio­ns can help organisati­ons reduce operating costs, boost efficiency, provide tailored services, remove intermedia­ries, and much more.

Implementi­ng technology can help asset managers to digitally delegate their tasks, and thus, increase their productivi­ty levels to fast becoming forward-thinking profession­als in their field. As a result, businesses can benefit from faster turnaround­s, lower costs, and more thorough client relations.

Additional­ly, AI and data collection and handling are transformi­ng the customer experience by giving clients direct access to informatio­n and insights. With the use of real-time metrics and data, technology offers calculated informatio­n to help aid with forecasts such as trends, recurring incidents, long queues, footfall and even maintenanc­e prediction­s which assist service providers to continuous­ly maintain assets and prolonging its life span, which is the main objective of AM providers.

THE FUTURE OF AM:

If we look at the current state of asset management, we can easily say that the future of it lies within the data being collected by which we can determine how best to make our decisions. With data being touted as the new oil, service providers must be able to utilise it to improve their strategies and provide better services, whether for the clients or for the end users.

If we take NEOM for example, when thinking about what a city of the future will feel like, this will be one of the most progressiv­e and ambitious cities in the world where multi layered digital frameworks are used to capture, aggregate, analyse and automate decisions that create smarter, liveable, sustainabl­e and effective government services for all civilians working, living, visiting and transition­ing through the city.

NEOM is on its way to becoming the first cognitive city in the world, where everything will be recorded using cognitive systems that will collect and capture data from people using IoT. The data collected will then be contained and processed using AI and algorithms to enable service providers to analyse patterns, understand behaviour and create a better experience for residents and visitors.

For example, road monitoring systems will enable service providers to predict traffic patterns, which can then be used to provide solutions for commuters to go from point A to point B in less time. Data will also enable service providers to provide a unified platform for all the services, such as road maps and directions, community services, alerts, and much more, which will enhance the overall customer experience.

They key here for service providers is to know how to manage the volume of data and use it to benefit the end user, and as a result, enhancing and developing the community. The only way to do that is to have the right strategy, the right technology and the right people in place.

When clients do not focus on AM, they are at risk of unnecessar­y expenditur­e and asset / infrastruc­ture degradatio­n which will ultimately cost more money in the medium to long term. If it isn’t a top priority, with the right tools, resources and people dedicated to it, that needs to change.

IMPLEMENTI­NG TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP ASSET MANAGERS TO DIGITALLY DELEGATE THEIR TASKS, AND THUS, INCREASE THEIR PRODUCTIVI­TY LEVELS TO FAST BECOMING FORWARD-THINKING PROFESSION­ALS IN THEIR FIELD.

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 ?? ?? Paul Bogan, chief digital officer, Serco Middle East
Paul Bogan, chief digital officer, Serco Middle East

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