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On Demand

On-Demand Service Making Its Way into Facilities Management

Do what you are best at. Seems like a simple notion, but in reality it is incredibly difficult. That is because the world is a complicated place. So many other peripheral things pop-up and take us away from the what we do best. The depressing, but all important take away from studying economics is the importance of opportunity cost (the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen). Time and money spent doing these peripheral things is time and money not spent on the things that you are best at.

The business landscape seems to be adapting to help with this universal pain point. Now, more than ever before, it is possible to specialize in the things we are the best at. This is due to the rise of microservices, also known as on-demand services. Specialized businesses can outsource almost every task outside of their wheelhouse to a equally specialized microservices.

Using microservices makes sense in a number of ways. Anyone on the cutting edge of an industry knows how much continuous education it takes to stay there. Extra trust is given to specialists because they (should) have the most current knowledge and techniques. Also, microservice arrangements often take the form of a service contract (SaaS, MaaS or any other aaS) and so provide a predictable expense. One of the worst things about doing something outside of one’s core competency is fear of the unknown.

Buildings are businesses. They are complicated businesses that are exposed to natural elements and human stupidity (not sure which is worse, but I have a hunch). Therefore, it follows that buildings are a great candidate for microservices. Quite a bit of specialized services already exist (tradesmen, cleaners, book keepers, event staff), but they are often not contracted under predictable service plans and can be quite a bit of trouble to oversee.

That is where I see great potential in micro-management services. Office managers can stick to making an office run well while delegating time-sucking tasks to on-demand companies like Managed by Q. The New York City-based startup handles everything from weekly catering to appliance repair through a network of highly qualified local service providers. Facilities managers can even offload the painfully esoteric task of ordering HVAC supplies with companies like Ravti. Purchasing a raw service (like a tradesman) can still take quite a bit of work to oversee. Purchasing management services (should) completely take the task away from the buyer.

Anyone with any management experience knows that there are two categories of employee. One that, when asked to do a task, just figures it out and gets the job done. The other asks so many questions it feels at times like it would have been easier to just do the job yourself. The first kind has “management potential” and is more desirable almost every time. Hiring a management micro-service is like hiring the first type, except without the risk of a learning curve.

Buildings are getting more complicated as they become smarter. That means that managers will have to be even more sophisticated in even more specialties to manage them. No longer will one person be able to expertly oversee every aspect of a modern building, unless of course, they are smart enough to hire the right mix of micro-managers and on-demand service providers and then stick to specializing in what they do best — running their buildings.

If you liked this article, then you will love this CRE.tech LIVE educational session!

Event: Facilities Management in an On-Demand World
Session: Demand Based Facilities Management & Operations
Date: January 31, 2017
Time: 7:30 am
Location: 570 Lexington Avenue, Lower Level, New York City

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