Taking facilities management to new heights: insights from the 2019 IFMA World Workplace

By | 4 minute read | October 23, 2019

Time flies, and never does it move faster than at a bustling customer event … like the IFMA World Workplace conference. For two days in beautiful (and warm) Phoenix, AZ, our TRIRIGA team talked to the professionals keeping our buildings at their best. We got to meet new people, show off Sarah, the interactive virtual assistant and building concierge, spend more time with IFMA members, discuss how to create a more engaging workplace experience, and chat with booth visitors. Here are five of the too-many-to-count insights from our time at the event:

“I’m not lazy, I’m innovative.”

We’ve all heard that half of all facility managers will retire within 10 years. That means that tomorrow’s leaders will come from today’s Gen X & Y workforce. And if you’ve got some preconceived notions about the under-34 crowd, hopefully you had a chance to listen to Yvet Brummelhuis from the wonderfully named World of Yes. This Dutch organization specializes in global development programs for young facility professionals. As she explained in her talk, “How Can You Engage the Next Generation Today and be Future Ready for Tomorrow,” these younger workers often bring new thinking and higher expectations. Plus, Gen Z has characteristics that any employer should value: a thirst for challenging work and a desire to be in a positive environment. Just be prepared to be more flexible, too, as that’s high on the Gen Z list if you’re trying to compete for this new talent.

 “For today’s facility managers, IoT really is here to stay.” 

We asked Calvin Hariman, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Tjene Corp, what he found most interesting at the IFMA event. He pointed out that today’s facility managers aren’t treating the world of IoT as a “maybe.” Previously, the question was “do we want to hook up all these sensors?” Now, that answer is yes, as more of his clients are realizing tangible outcomes from their endeavors. The secret to success is to start with a small use case that is almost seamless to the users, like “hassle-free meeting rooms.” Then, once implemented, the next step is to consider adding on AI for predictive modeling and decision making – especially given the amount of data most facilities generate.

“Meet AI, my new co-worker.”

Speaking of IoT and AI, we learned that your new co-worker may be AI-based, but it’s not taking your job. As our own Tina Scott from the IBM TRIRIGA team discussed in her session, today’s connected buildings are ripe with data. Solutions that include IoT and AI can augment what  managers and operators know about their facilities, especially when it comes to space. We’re quickly moving past badge data to understand the how, when and who of space usage. And that knowledge can translate into real savings. That’s because it gives an organization the right insights to make the data-driven, strategic decisions and right-size their portfolios. Thanks, Tina, for such a great session!

“Your desk doesn’t relate to your job.”

Her title – Experience Manager – caught our attention, and we jumped at the chance to chat with Justine Clure from ISS. She’s a champion for service-led leadership, and she’s the future of facility management. She’s also got a strategic approach for space management using sensor data, a more thorough understanding of employee needs and executive support (and we’ll tell you more about that in a later blog).

We also talked about some of the challenges and opportunities for today’s younger workforce. Outcome-based is her mode of operation, and she speaks for her generation when she says that although some say Millennial don’t want to work, she counters that they do – for a greater purpose. There’s just no appetite to be a paper pusher. if you’re working with a different generation, just remember what Justine said, “Time is a social concept, and I might be late to your meeting but I’ll get the work done.” And we absolutely believe her!

“In the world that we live in, there’s more visibility into everything we do.

Premier IBM business partner, eCIFM, had an IFMA booth directly across from the IBM TRIRIGA booth. So it was only natural to ask Cher Nicastro, VP of Development, her thoughts on trends and the next big thing for the industry. For her customers, it’s all about mobile solutions and having what they need in the palms of their hands. And while not everyone thinks in terms of “digital transformation,” her customers are focused on taking that next step: “I’ve got a great set of data; how do I use that to figure out what I’m doing next.” For both public and private sector customers. it’s also about optimizing space, including consolidation and shared option. For example, public schools may look at weekend space rentals to generate income that goes back into those schools. It’s all about making more with what you already have and being transparent in the process.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth. We hope your found as much inspiration as we did. Feel free to send us your IFMA insights, too, on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Still have questions? 

There’s never enough time to learn, see and experience all you want to at an event like IFMA World Workplace. So if ou still have questions or simply continue exploring, you can read more about the evolution of space planning, why the workplace matters and how you can find value from an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS).

Just keep learning … 

And for the best learning opportunity in 2020, go ahead and mark your calendars for IBM IoT Exchange, March 17-18, 2020, in Orlando, Florida,. It’s two invaluable days of great learning, expert speakers, hands-on labs, unmatched networking and fun! Because at IoT Exchange, intelligence is your greatest asset.

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