Facility Management The Information Challenge

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Facility Management The Information Challenge Powered By Docstoc
The Information

January 2007
In 2006, Aconex partnered with FMA Australia to develop a unique insight exploring the current challenges facing the FM
industry. We surveyed 555 executives and managers from a wide variety of backgrounds to explore the dynamics of information
management in this nascent but increasingly significant industry which is fast reaching a critical stage in its growth and maturity.
Our research has identified and quantified a number of challenges that the FM industry is experiencing in managing vast and
varied information flows.
From lessons learnt in the construction industry, together with market response from other geographies, we have identified a
solution in the rapidly developing field of online collaboration technology. This solution not only allows the industry to overcome
many of the difficulties it is experiencing, but also to optimize performance in an increasingly waste-conscious and
environmentally sensitive marketplace.
We hope that you find the FMA/Aconex report interesting. We welcome your feedback and would be happy to further discuss
any aspect of our analysis and its impact.

                                      Information management is a critical business enabler and new technology has
 Executive Summary                    put best practice information management within the reach of facility management
                                      (FM) professionals. Their work requires managers to find and retrieve information,
                                      collaborate with stakeholders, and capture and store documentation.
                                      This report is based on a survey of 555 members of the Facility Management
                                      Association (FMA Australia) and was prepared by the online information
                                      management company Aconex. It provides an assessment of current FM
                                      information management practices, and a discussion of areas for improvement.
                                      The results indicate there is still a large gap between what FM professionals need
                                      and their current information management solutions. This, in turn, highlights the
                                      need to establish information management practices that will enable industry
                                      professionals to manage increasingly diverse and complex facilities in a competitive

                                      The Information Challenges
                                      Eighty-five percent of respondents state their three biggest concerns as follows:
                                      Finding and retrieving information
                                      •     Use of disparate information management systems means that only 10% of
                                            facility managers can locate all of their information quickly
                                      •     Inadequate information causes financial loss due to missed deadlines in areas
                                            such as lease renewals, contracts and maintenance schedules
                                      •     A quarter of respondents regularly reproduce information because they cannot
                                            find it
                                      Collaborative information access for multiple parties
                                      •     Several people are generally responsible for information management at
                                            a facility
                                      •     Email, phone and fax are the most common methods of communication with
                                            external parties
                                      •     77% of respondents need access to information for more than one facility at a
                                      Capturing and storing information
                                      •     Excel spreadsheets, shared network drives and hard copy filing are widely used,
                                            but each has inherent problems
                                      •     At present, 40% of information is stored electronically but the industry believes
                                            that in 2 years this will double to 80%
                                      •     Facility managers are facing legal disputes due to lost or inaccurate information
                                      Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they want to move towards electronic
                                      information management. Therefore the solution to information management issues
                                      will most likely be resolved by technologies that utilize electronic document
                                      management and storage.

                                      The IT Solution
                                      Collaboration technology
                                      The report builds on recent research from the UK which found that online
                                      information management can benefit FM professionals. These web-based systems
                                      store all facility information in one central location from where it can be accessed
                                      and distributed electronically. File revisions are tracked and all documents and
                                      correspondence are securely archived.

                                                      Proving Collaboration Pays Study Report, Benchmark Research
                                          NCCTP (2006),
     Organizations implementing collaboration solutions to manage facility information
     experience substantial benefits:
     •   Faster creation and retrieval of documentation
     •   Ability to change documents frequently, quickly and easily at low cost
     •   Easier compilation of, and access to, operations and maintenance manuals
     •   Usable archive of facility-related data, including occupational health and safety
     •   Time savings
     •   Reduction in litigation and disputes
     •   Improved ability for small companies to collaborate with larger companies
     •   Assistance with quality standard compliance
     As these benefits directly address the pain points identified by facility managers
     in the FMA/Aconex survey, our research confirms that organizations that implement
     collaboration technology solutions will solve many of their facility information
     management issues – reducing costs, improving productivity and reducing their
     exposure to risk.


 Table of contents                    1.   Introduction                                                                  1
                                           1.1     About this report                                                     1
                                           1.2     Methodology                                                           1
                                      2.   FIM Challenges                                                                2
                                      3.   Finding and Retrieving                                                        3
                                           3.1     Defining the information need                                         3
                                           3.2     Issues with finding and retrieving                                    3
                                           3.3     Watching the clock                                                    4
                                           3.4     Counting the costs of missed deadlines                                4
                                           3.5     Information reproduction                                              5
                                      4.   Collaborative Access Among Multiple Parties                                   6
                                           4.1     Issues with collaborative access for multiple parties                 7
                                      5.   Capture and Storage                                                           8
                                           5.1     Issues with capture and storage                                       9
                                      6.   Collaboration Technology in FM                                               11
                                           6.1     How does collaboration technology work?                              11
                                           6.2     Research supporting the use of collaboration technology in FM        12
                                      7.   Conclusion                                                                   13
                                      APPENDIX                                                                          14

                                      Figure 1:    Three most important aspects of managing facility information         2
 Table of figures                     Figure 2:    Facility information searches                                         3
                                      Figure 3:    Ability to locate information                                         3
                                      Figure 4:    Finding information in under 10 minutes                               4
                                      Figure 5:    Financial loss from missing deadlines                                 4
                                      Figure 6:    Frequency of information reproduction                                 5
                                      Figure 7:    Scope of responsibility                                               6
                                      Figure 8:    Respondents needing information from more than one facility
                                                   simultaneously                                                        6
                                      Figure 9:    Number of employees primarily involved in managing information        6
                                      Figure 10:   Communication with external stakeholders                              7
                                      Figure 11:   Filing or document management systems                                 8
                                      Figure 12:   External information access for respondents using shared network
                                                   drives                                                                8
                                      Figure 13:   Facility lifecycle                                                   11
                                      Figure 14:   Current practice vs perceived future practice                        11
                                      Figure 15:   Benefits of using collaborative solutions for the facility management
                                                   industry                                                              12

1. Introduction                   1.1 About this report
                                  Within the fast-growing discipline of FM, facility managers have responsibility for
                                  multiple services. These range from property strategy, space management and
                                  communications infrastructure to building maintenance, administration and contract
                                  Fundamental to the facility manager’s role is the need for effective information and
                                  correspondence management. Documentation such as reports, manuals, lease
                                  agreements, drawings and registers needs to be held securely and accessed easily,
                                  and correspondence with suppliers and stakeholders needs to be efficiently
                                  Although effective information management is vital for FM professionals, there is
                                  little current validated data on how information is managed, or how processes can
                                  be improved and best practice achieved.
                                  The online information management company Aconex partnered with the Facility
                                  Management Association (FMA Australia) to survey the practices, systems and tools
                                  used in the Australian FM industry, and to assess technology solutions that may
                                  take the industry forward. We believe the challengers highlighted together with the
                                  collaboration technology solution we discuss, represent international concerns
                                  within the FM industry and the genesis of a global solution.
                                  The overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) identified the following three areas
                                  as most critical to Facility Information Management (FIM):
                                  1. Finding and retrieving information
                                  2. Collaborative information access among multiple parties
                                  3. Capturing and storing information
                                  This report details the findings of the study, assesses the implications of the results
                                  and discusses the merits of a fast-growing solution to FIM – web-based
                                  collaboration. It demonstrates that FIM practices can be considerably improved at
                                  comparitively little cost while enabling FM professionals to optimize their
                                  1.2 Methodology
The 555 respondents cover a       Research for this report was conducted via an online questionnaire, which was
broad range of FM interests.      completed by 555 FMA Australia professionals. Aconex partnered with FMA
                                  Australia to distribute and promote the survey and to report its findings.
                                  The questionnaire was distributed using the FMA Online e-newsletter, and was
                                  followed by two email reminders to members. More than 4,000 FM professionals
                                  were contacted to participate in the survey, and the 555 respondents represents a
                                  14% response rate. The research was carried out from 25 July to 11 August 2006.
                                  The 555 respondents represent all Australian states and territories and work in a
                                  variety of built environments. The majority of respondents are facility managers.
                                  Directors, general managers, project managers and consultants are also

80% of respondents are            80% of respondents are responsible for multiple sites. This corresponds with the
responsible for multiple sites.   findings of the 2005 FMA Australia–Hays Montrose Salary Survey2 and is a reflection
                                  of the rationalization of property ownership, where a smaller number of organizations
                                  are responsible for a growing number of properties. Technology has enabled this
                                  shift but, as the following results show, this has not been without cost. (See
                                  Appendix for further breakdown of respondents.)

1                                                            ‘Salary
                                      Hays & FMA Australia , 2005 Survey 2005’, www.fma.com.au

                                      As organizations seek to optimize management of their assets and to achieve
 2. FIM Challenges                    economies of scale, facility managers are increasingly reliant on their documentation
                                      and communication processes to manage their responsibilities, including the
                                      mitigation of risk.

 85% of respondents share the         85% of survey respondents stated that the three most critical aspects of FIM are
 same top three concerns.             finding and retrieving information, collaborative information access among multiple
                                      parties, and capturing and storing information.

                                           In your experience, what are the three most important aspects of managing
                                           facility information?

                                                    8% Distributing
                                                                                                   3% Other

                                                                                                              19% Capturing & storing
                                              4% Copying & printing

 Three biggest facility
 information management
 challenges: Finding & retrieving
 information, collaborative               25% Collaborative access                                            41% Finding & retrieving

 access among multiple parties,             among multiple parties

 capturing & storing information.
                                      Figure 1: Three most important aspects of managing facility information

                                      Whether the nature of facility management is operational, managerial or strategic,
                                      and regardless of the type of facility, the priority of issues remains the same. Facility
                                      managers are therefore not unique in their perception of the challenges they face -
                                      information needs are standard across the industry.

                              By far the greatest area of concern is finding and retrieving information. As the
3. Finding and Retrieving     industry grows and practitioners become responsible for an increasing number of
                              facilities, their reliance on timely access to current and accurate information will
                              become critical. Through effective information management processes, industry
                              professionals can more easily meet increasing regulatory, compliance and
                              maintenance challenges, and mitigate commercial and legal risk.
                              3.1 Defining the information need
                              The research provided interesting results in terms of the documentation sought by
                              respondents. Predictably, given the breadth of responsibilities within the profession,
                              all managers need to access a comprehensive suite of information.
                              However, finding the information remains an area of significant cost, both in terms
                              of time spent searching and in terms of consequential damage as a result of dealing
                              with dated and/or inaccurate data.

                              What are the top 5 types of facility information you most often need to find?

                                   15% Routine maintenance
                                                                                                       9% Tenancy layouts

                                    11% OH&S documents                                                          13% As builts

                                     7% Warranty information
                                                                                                                 12% Asset registers

                                    12% Operations manuals
                                                                                                         10% Lease agreements
                                      11% Architectural/structural drawings

                              Figure 2: Facility information searches

                              3.2 Issues with finding and retrieving
Only 11% of respondents are   The survey revealed respondents regularly use disparate information management
able to locate all of their   systems (explored later in this report) and as a consequence only 11% are able to
information quickly.          locate all of their information quickly.

                                  Which statement best describes your ability to locate facility information?

                                                   I can find everything quickly                                        11%
                                      I can find the documents I regularly need                                         27%
                                      I know where most information is located                                           46%
                                         I often have to search for what I need                                         15%
                                    I always seem to be looking for information                                          1%

                              Figure 3: Ability to locate information


                                      3.3 Watching the clock
 Only 25% of respondents              Disparate information management systems require varying degrees of manual
 can find facility information        input. In most cases the information is not centrally or easily located. Only a quarter
 in less than 10 minutes.             of respondents feel that they can find 80% or more of their facility information in less
                                      than 10 minutes.

                                          What percentage of the time can you find the facility information you need in under 10 minutes?

 4. Finding and

 Retrieving (41%)                                                         0–19%                                                 9%
                                                                        20–39%                                                  17%
                                                                        40–59%                                                  22%
                                                                         60–79%                                                 27%
                                                                       80–100%                                                 25%

                                      Figure 4: Finding information in under 10 minutes

                                      3.4 Counting the cost of missed deadlines
                                      Furthermore, a significant number of respondents stated that their organization
                                      has suffered financial loss due to missed deadlines on maintenance schedules,
                                      lease renewals/agreements or service contracts. As with most responsibilities under
                                      the respondents’ control, missed deadlines, especially in the case of lease renewals
                                      and agreements, can have significant financial consequences.
                                      The ‘Other’ category included key performance indicators, tenders, EPA returns,
                                      Essential Services Certification, invoices, WorkSafe notices of improvement,
                                      demolition works not completed on time and project delivery. Proper documentation
                                      in relation to regulatory compliance, contractual performance and financial control
                                      has become essential to the industry, and the need for effective information
                                      management has never been greater.

                                          Has your organization ever suffered financial loss due to missed deadlines on:

                                                          Maintenance schedules                                                24%
                                                       Lease renewals/agreements                                                32%
                                                                Service contracts                                              31%
                                                                           Other                                                32%

                                      Figure 5: Financial loss from missing deadlines

                                      Escalating litigation in OH&S and the increasing responsibility of FM professionals,
                                      CEOs and building owners for work safety practices for their own staff, as well as for
                                      contractors and sub-contractors have also raised the prominence of risk mitigation
                                      Since the application of best practice risk mitigation measures still leaves what is
                                      known as ‘residual risk’, an effective information and documentation management
                                      strategy is the best defence when disputes arise. It can be a valuable asset in
                                      demonstrating accountability to board level management.
                                      It is therefore of concern that 70% of respondents stated they had worked from
 70% have worked from
                                      out-of-date documentation and a further 11% knew of instances where this had
 out-of-date documentation.
                                      happened on other facilities. This is particularly true of as-built documentation. The
                                      possible OH&S consequences of working from outdated or inaccurate plans should
                                      be borne in mind.
                                   3.5 Information reproduction
                                   Around 25% of facility managers reproduce information regularly because it is lost
                                   or missing.

One in four facility managers
                                         How often does information need to be reproduced because it can’t be located?
regularly reproduces information
because it is missing or lost.                                                                                           Response
                                                                               Never                                       29%
                                                                       Rarely (yearly)                                     22%
                                                      Occasionally (every 6 months)                                        22%
                                              Regularly (weekly, fortnightly, monthly)                                     27%

                                   Figure 6: Frequency of information reproduction

                                   The following information is most frequently reproduced:
                                   1.     As-built drawings                                   34%
                                   2.     Routine maintenance registers/reports               24%
                                   3.     Procurement (e.g. contract information)             22%
                                   4.     Operations manuals                                  10%
                                   5.     Managerial reports                                  10%
                                   6.     Asset register                                       7%
                                   7.     Financial data                                       7%
                                   8.     Lease agreements                                     7%
                                   9.     Project information                                  5%
                                   10.    Architectural/structural drawings                    4%
                                   11.    OH&S                                                 3%
                                   12.    Certification documents                              3%
                                   In the case of as-built drawings in particular, the financial and time costs of
                                   reproducing documentation can be significant. Further analysis revealed that
                                   sourcing as-builts from a local council can incur a fee of $100 to $200 for an
                                   A3 print, and that the document provided is often outdated.
                                   If this is not an option, CAD services might charge over $1,000 per item (@$80 per
                                   hour) to produce a basic file, but not before the area concerned is inspected and
                                   measured, and all the services such as fire, mechanical, electrical and emergency
                                   evacuation are included, at further significant cost. Time lost in this process might
                                   easily amount to a week or two, and, of course, would further add to the cost.
                                   Operations and Maintenance (O&M) manuals are another information source that
It costs $150,000 per project to
                                   impact critically on the ability to manage a facility. While the cost of reproducing
recapture data post hand-over.
                                   these manuals can vary according to their quality and format, the bill can easily
                                   amount to tens-of-thousands of dollars when this has to be done post hand-over. A
                                   director at a government health facility indicated that the cost of recapturing data
                                   post hand-over was estimated at $150,000 per project.
                                   In many cases, O&M information consists only of product brochures gathered by
                                   subcontractors and inserted into a folder with a rough indexing system. These
                                   folders are often placed in storage boxes and archived off-site - their very existence
                                   unknown by facility managers. No process may exist for retrieving the information,
                                   or to do so may simply be considered too time-consuming. Changes in staff can
                                   also affect retrieval of information as the knowledge of its location is lost.
                                   When the annual cost difference between optimal operation and poorly operated
The financial impact of not
                                   plant and equipment (such as HVAC or Building Management Systems) can be
having O&M information readily
                                   in the range of $80,000 to $150,000, the financial impact of not having O&M
accessible can be $80,000 to
                                   information in an accessible location and format can be sizeable.


                                      Our research indicates that respondents are faced with the task of managing
 4. Collaborative Access              multiple sites, managing teams of varying numbers, dealing with multiple
    Among Multiple Parties            stakeholders such as outsourcers, contractors and sub-contractors, and since 76%
                                      of facility managers answer directly to the CEO or another senior manager3,
                                      providing current and accurate information to senior management. It comes as no
                                      surprise that collaborative access among multiple parties is the second highest
                                      priority for facility managers.

 80% of respondents are
 responsible for multiple sites.            Which best describes the scope of your responsibility?

                                                                             Single site                                         20%
                                                              Citywide (multiple sites)                                          22%
                                                              Regional (multiple sites)                                          15%
                                                             Statewide (multiple sites)                                          20%
                                                               National (multiple sites)                                          24%
                                                           International (multiple sites)                                         6%

                                      Figure 7: Scope of responsibility

                                      The outsourcing aspect of facility management adds another layer of complexity
                                      to the process and again underpins the need for effective documentation and
                                      communication control (see Appendix). In addition, 77% of respondents need to
                                      access information from more than one facility at a time.

                                             How useful would it be to access your information from anywhere?

                                                                 23% No                                             33% 10 facilities

                                                                                                                    6% 7–9 facilities
                                                       23% 2–3 facilities
                                                                                                                    15% 4–6 facilities

                                      Figure 8: Respondents needing information from more than one facility simultaneously

                                      The information chain is multi-faceted and increasingly complex. The results of the
                                      survey show that while half the respondents have up to ten staff managing data, in
                                      a third of cases this number exceeds twenty.

                                             How many people at your facility(ies) are primarily involved in managing information?

                                                                                     1–4                                          31%
                                                                                     5–9                                          22%
                                                                                  10–14                                           13%
                                                                                  15–19                                            5%
                                             >2                                         0                                         29%

                                      Figure 9: Number of employees primarily involved in managing information

                                                           Andersen Research Industry Sizing Study, Australia
                                          FMA Australia (1998),                                           .                               6
    4.1 Issues with collaborative access among multiple parties
    Communication with external parties has not been without problems. While
    technology has assisted organizations to communicate with outsourced service
    providers, it has not provided the processes needed to ensure effective information
    Inter-company communication tools, in order of preference, are email, telephone,
    and fax, and (to a much lesser extent) mail. Few organizations are using other

        How do you communicate your facility information with external organizations and contractors?



                         Phone     Fax    Email   Courier   Extranet   FTP    Other     Mail
                                                              site           software

    Figure 10: Communication with external stakeholders


                                      software tools or extranet sites.
 5. Capture & Storage
                                      Capturing and storing information is the third greatest area of concern for
                                      respondents. Effective storage practices that provide for information retrieval make it
                                      easier to share information. Correct storage therefore greatly reduces the problems

 65% of respondents use a
 shared network drive.                    What type of filing or document management system do you use at your facility(ies)?

                                           Ex                          cel spreadsheet                                                  61%
                                                                       Other database                                                   52%
                                                                       Intranet website                                                 37%
                                                                  Shared network drive                                                  65%
                                                                          Filing cabinet                                                60%
                                                                       Storage boxes                                                    27%
                                                       Other web-based application                                                      24%
                                          I usually contact someone else for information                                                5%

                                      Figure 11: Filing or document management systems

                                      associated with finding and sharing information.
                                      Eighty-three percent of respondents use a filing system of some sort, be it a shared
                                      network drive, spreadsheet or other database, or a filing cabinet. Each system
                                      presents its own inherent problems.
                                      The shared network drive is the most common way to manage facility information.
                                      However, users still have to know where to look, locate the appropriate folder, and
                                      then deal with the lack of document auditing which provides data such as when
                                      updates were made and by whom. If this data is kept, it is often recorded manually,
                                      in a time-consuming process that is open to error. Folder structures offer the
                                      opportunity for the same document to exist in several places, with no reliable means
                                      of identifying the latest version. The result is an over-reliance on the information
                                      administrator’s memory and filing procedures for information sharing to stakeholders.
                                      These issues can lead to incomplete information, making meaningful searches and
                                      analysis impossible.
                                      Furthermore, for all stakeholders to find and retrieve information from a shared drive,
                                      the drive must be connected to a network for external access. As figure 12

                                         How useful would it be to have access to your information from any location
                                         (for example, using a secure Internet login)?

                                            Skipped this question (117)
                                                                                                                      41.5% I already do this (182)

                                          2.7% Don’t know (12)

                                            1.8% Not useful (8)

                                          14.8% Quite useful (65)

                                                                                                                     39.2% Very useful (172)

                                                                                           Total respondents (439)

                                      Figure 12: External information access for respondents using shared network drives

                                    illustrates, of those using a shared network drive, only 41% can access their
                                    information from anywhere while a further 54% would like to be able to do so.
                                    Even companies with internal document management systems can lose information
                                    as documents are transferred from one system to another, due to system
                                    incompatibility and the need to manually re-enter metadata.
                                    Predictably, spreadsheets are favored by many respondents. Human error in
                                    manually inputting data is a significant problem with this format. Spreadsheets are
                                    also dependant on individual filing practices or company procedures, which is not
                                    desirable when collaborating with stakeholders from other companies.
                                    Legacy systems such as filing cabinets are still used largely because:
                                    •     The majority of ‘paperwork’ is still generated as paper
                                    •     The initial need for information is often individual and not collaborative
Traditional information practices
result in 3 to 5% of a company’s    •     Some still value the sensory derived notion of accessibility (touch it and feel it)
files being lost or misplaced at    If lessons can be learned from research into the related construction industry,
any given time.                     traditional information management practices result in:
                                    •     $3,350 per year spent maintaining each 4-drawer filing cabinet
                                    •     Taking 10 minutes to retrieve and re-file a paper document
                                    •     Between 3 and 5% of a company’s files being lost or misplaced at any given time
                                    •     $150 being spent searching for each document
                                    •     $330 being spent recreating each lost document
                                    •     Workers spending up to 30% of their time looking for information4

                                    5.1 Issues with capture and storage
                                    Facility management professionals must ensure that information is of a uniform
                                    format and standard to maximize its value to the organization. This uniformity of
                                    format provides internal team members, outsourced stakeholders, contractors and
                                    sub-contractors with the accurate and current information they need to carry out
                                    their roles.
                                    The obstacle to providing a uniform information management platform for all
                                    stakeholders is that most of the current information management systems are either
                                    introduced or enforced through organizational business practice, or instituted at a
44% suffer financial losses from    personal level, using whatever documentation and communications resources are
missed deadlines.                   available at the time.
                                    While FIM practices that are influenced by organizational culture would most likely
                                    work well enough within the organization, issues such as inaccurate or outdated
                                    information still arise, particularly when dealing with other organizations (with their
                                    own information management systems). Also, user-controlled capture of information
                                    into internal document management systems is often either not done or not done in
                                    a timely and accurate manner. Nearly half (44%) of respondents highlighted financial
                                    loss arising from missed deadlines in the following instances: maintenance
                                    schedules (24%), lease renewals/agreements (32%), service contracts (31%) and
                                    other (32%) (See Figure 5). Furthermore, one in three respondents needs to access
                                    information from more than ten facilities at any given time.
                                    The survey results also demonstrate that 14% of facility managers were either
                                    involved in a legal dispute due to lost or inaccurate information, or knew of


9                                       IDC (July, 2006), The Information Lifecycle Imperative, USA

                                      instances where this had happened. Respondent bias (an unwillingness to
                                      disclose negative details) may have resulted in a low figure on this measure.
                                      While good information management practices may have been implemented
                                      by individual respondents, this serves to highlight the lack of an industry-wide
                                      information management standard. The survey results demonstrate that this
                                      can be an issue in succession circumstances, where only 7% of facility managers
                                      stated they could find all the information their predecessor had managed.
                                      Forty-four percent of facility managers stated that ‘Not Much’ to ‘Almost None’ of
                                      the design and construction information was available to them at handover.
                                      Participants in the study were asked: ‘How useful would it be to capture documents
                                      and correspondence into a central facility management archive from the start of the
                                      design and construction phases of a project?’. 98% replied that it would be ‘useful’
                                      or ‘extremely useful’. Considering that the information captured at this stage

                                   represents almost 55% of all the information a facility manager uses, this answer
                                   should cause little surprise.
6. Collaboration
Technology in FM                   Usage of collaboration technology in the construction industry has doubled each
                                   year for the past five years. Collaboration technology has been embraced by the
                                   construction industry largely because of the volume and changing nature of
                                   information generated by development projects. More recently, an increasing
                                   number of facility managers have started to use such solutions.
                                   In doing this, they have two options. A migratory approach involves progressive
                                   use of the collaboration system, with increasing benefits as more and more
                                   documents are stored. The second option is available when a collaboration
                                   solution has been used during the construction phase. In this case, all
Collaboration technology has
                                   documentation can be handed to the facility manager on the same platform.
doubled each year for the past 5
years.                             The construction and facility management industries face similar challenges with


                                                              Facility                        Development

                                   Figure 13: Facility lifecycle

                                   regard to the integration of people and business processes, including information
                                   management. Each is an integral component of the built environment’s lifecycle and
                                   interfaces with the other at the hand-over stage of a project’s development.
                                   Responses to the FMA/Aconex survey indicate that the FM industry sees a need to
                                   move towards electronic information management formats. However, there is a
                                   significant gap between current information management systems and the situation
                                   respondents expect in two years’ time (see Figure 14).

                                       How do you store facility information now?
                                       How do you think this will change in the future?

                                                                     Now                      2 years
                                              40%                                                                20%
                                          Electronic                                                             Paper

                                              60%                                                                80%
                                              Paper                                                              Electronic

                                   Figure 14: Current practice vs perceived future practice
                                   This suggests that while ease of information retrieval, accessibility and storage might
                                   be very much a focus, the industry is yet to fully appreciate the benefits of ensuring
                                   document security and currency in a shared situation.
                                   6.1 How does collaboration technology work?
                                   Collaboration technology solutions are web-based systems that allow users to store,

                                      track and share documentation online. In practice, this means that documents such
                                      as tenancy layouts, health and safety information, as-built drawings, lease
                                      agreements, structural drawings, asset registers, and O&M manuals are archived in
                                      a central, online repository, where they can be retrieved or distributed.
                                      Because the system is web-based, consultants, designers and other suppliers
                                      are able to deposit, update and distribute documents electronically in real time –
                                      streamlining communication between facility managers and their supply chain.
                                      The solution allows information for any number of properties to be archived centrally
                                      and accessed instantly – helping facility managers control physical assets and better
                                      manage relationships with tenants and other stakeholders.
                                      Revisions of each document are tracked, and automatic updates are sent to
                                      stakeholders such as tenants, property owners and suppliers. This means that
                                      everyone accesses a common set of information and that the risk of working
                                      on outdated information is effectively removed.
                                      Because staff and consultants access and view information online, printing,
                                      distribution and storage costs dramatically decrease. It also means that people
                                      only receive the information they need, rather than full drawing or information
                                      packs, much of which may be surplus to requirements.
                                      For facility-related information, collaboration solutions can provide lower
                                      maintenance and distribution costs, a faster, easier way to update documentation
                                      and better document security.
                                      6.2 Research supporting the use of collaboration technology in FM
                                      Recent research from the UK indicates that online information management systems
                                      (also known as collaboration tools) could provide considerable benefits to the FM
                                      The UK research was commissioned by the Network of Construction Collaboration
                                      Providers (NCCTP) and undertaken by Benchmark Research Ltd. A total of 272
                                      users of collaboration technology from 195 companies took part in the study –
 78% said it costs less to
                                      including property managers, consultants, designers and clients. Of those surveyed,
 maintain documents with
                                      105 have a direct involvement in facility management or hand-over and were able to
 collaboration technology.
                                      answer questions about the role played by collaboration technology in the process.
                                      The study found that, in terms of hand-over, commissioning, operations and

                                          Factor                                                       Substantial Benefit   Moderate Benefit
                                                                                                        (4 or 5 out of 5)      (3 out of 5)
                                          Documents can be accessed 24/7                                      86%                  6%
                                          Provides a more usable archive of health and
                                          safety information                                                  66%                  20%
                                          Provides a more usable archive of facility management
                                          information                                                         64%                  24%
                                          Costs less to maintain documents                                    61%                  17%
                                          Amendments to documents can be made faster and
                                          more easily                                                         60%                  25%
                                          Documents can be changed frequently, quickly and
                                          easily at little cost                                               59%                  26%
                                          Makes O&M manuals more accessible and usable                        59%                  25%
                                          Documentation can be created faster and more easily                 54%                  30%
                                          Documents are more complete at hand-over                            48%                  30%

                                      Figure 15: Benefits of using collaborative solutions for the facility management industry5

                                      maintenance: 92% of collaboration technology users benefit from being able
                                      to access documents around-the-clock; 88% benefit from having an archive
                                      of FM information; and 78% said it costs less to maintain documents. Furthermore,
                                      85% said they can change documents more quickly and more easily and 78%

                                                      Proving Collaboration Pays Study Report, Benchmark Research
                                          NCCTP (2006),                                                        .                          12
                said documents are more complete at handover.
7. Conclusion
                A comparison of the UK results with the findings of the Aconex/FMA study suggests
                that use of collaboration solutions can address the three ‘pain points’ identified by
                facility managers, i.e. 1) Finding and retrieving information; 2) Collaborative
                information access for multiple parties; and 3) Capturing and storing information.
                Industry professionals strive to deliver excellent facility management outcomes for
                their clients and their own organizations, despite the limitations of legacy information
                management systems.
                This research identified the difficulties and consequential damage caused by these
                traditional systems, at a time when the industry faces mounting management
                responsibility and an increasingly competitive business environment.
                The FM industry is constantly challenged to present the business case for cost
                optimization rather than cost reduction. It is beginning to appreciate the cost (in
                terms of time, information reproduction charges and litigation risk) of not using
                improved information technology.
                Results from the NCCTP study demonstrate that collaborative technology addresses
                the most critical information management concerns of the FM industry: Finding and
                retrieving information; collaborative accesses among multiple parties; and capturing
                and storing information. The adoption of collaborative systems also offers significant
                time savings, capacity to handle greater amounts of information, risk mitigation,
                continuity following staff changes and, most importantly, improved service


 APPENDIX                             to clients.

                                         Which of the following best describes your title?

                                                                 Facility Manager                                35%
                                                              Property Manager                                   5%
                                                               Building Manager                                  4%
                                                            Operations Manager                                   6%
                                                                Project Manager                                  9%
                                                                      Consultant                                 7%
                                                       Director/General Manager                                  11%
                                                                  State Manager                                  1%
                                                              Regional Manager                                   2%
                                                               Portfolio Manager                                 4%
                                                             Contracts Manager                                   3%
                                                                Supplier/Vendor                                  3%
                                                                           Other                                10%

                                      There is evidence that the effective tools and systems provided by collaborative
                                      technology have delivered significant and measurable benefits to the construction
                                      industry and that such technology would also provide an invaluable information
                                      management tool for the facility management profession.
                                      1. Respondent title
                                      The ‘Other’ section included a variety of titles such as Group Manager FM Support
                                      Services, Group Facility and Services Manager, Head of Corporate Services,
                                      Business Development Manager, National Project Manager, Project Facilities
                                      Coordinator and Director Strategic Planning, and is an indication of the diversity
                                      of title and functions that represent facility management and related industries.

                                          Which of the following best describes your facility(ies)?

                                                                       Residential                                8%
                                                                            Retail                               13%
                                                                            O ce                                 50%
                                                                       Education                                 17%
                                                                      Healthcare                                 10%
                                                               Hospitality/tourism                                5%
                                                             Defence/corrections                                  6%
                                                             Research/laboratory                                  6%
                                                    IT/communications/call centre                                 6%
                                                                            Other                                27%

     2. Built environment sectors
     A wide range of built environment sectors was represented. While the commercial
     office sector was the largest (50%), others such as education and retail were also

        Which of the following best describes your role?

                                         Strategic                                      26%
                                       Managerial                                       44%
                                       Operational                                      30%

     well represented.
     3. Role
     Survey respondents were from all levels of management. While most described
     their role as managerial (45%), representation was well balanced with operational at
     29% and strategic at 25%.
     4. Outsourcing
     Outsourcing in facility management is not new and there is evidence in Australia
     and abroad that suggests outsourcing tends to be cyclical. The survey results
     indicate a tendency to outsource operational aspects only (48.5%), while retaining

        Which of the following best describes the management of your facility(ies)?

               We manage the facility(ies) inhouse                                      35%

            We manage the facility(ies) inhouse and
                outsource operational aspects only
            We outsource facility(ies) management                                       9%
                                             Other                                      10%

About Aconex
Aconex is a document management and collaboration system that uses the internet to manage the storage and flow of
information for facility management, construction and engineering. Aconex improves communication and collaboration by
storing all information online in one central site. This enables users to view, track and share their documents at any time, and
from any location.
The benefits of implementing Aconex include: saved time through quick and easy information access; reduced costs such as
couriers, printing and stationery; and reduced risks such as information loss and disputes.
Aconex now manages more than US$210 billion worth of projects and has 37 offices worldwide servicing clients in over 70
For further information about this report, collaboration solutions or any of our products and services please visit
www.aconex.com   Offices in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand