Recommendations for navigating digital transformation
Following present recommendations for approaching digital transformation (in no particular order):
- Don’t fear digital transformation. Digital technologies are critical for developing solutions for many of the FM industry’s challenges, including developing and servicing spaces that promote occupant health and well-being, reducing facilities’ environmental footprints and impacts, and narrowing and closing the flow of materials, energy and water in buildings, and more.
- Be prepared to partially fail. Applying digital technologies to new challenges involves risk of not achieving at the objectives as set. One can often learn more from failure than from success.
- Be proactive, not reactive. Organizations face ongoing crises —the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, volatile energy supplies and prices, and recruitment challenges. Facility managers need to find ways to shift offline business models online.
- Foster agility among your team. Digital transformation is an iterative process, where learning on the go is critical for success. Gather insights, learn from emerging lessons and be willing to change course when experiences indicate that an alternative approach may be warranted.
- The pandemic has shifted the conversation from evolution to revolution. The FM industry should no longer be satisfied with evolving the delivery of FM with digital tools. FM practitioners must consider how to create a revolution in the industry. If they cannot, they will have tasks taken over by other functional areas.
- Focus on leadership and vision-setting. Digital transformation is about leadership. Without focused and active commitment by an organization’s leadership, there is almost no chance for success. It requires different team members and functions to work together in new ways toward a common goal. Avoid DT efforts devolving into a set of disconnected activities that reinforce or create silos within the organization.
- You don't have to be perfect, but you must take the first step. It is often better to do something than to do nothing. Start small with simply targeted sprints when implementing technology. Develop focused and straightforward metrics to learn quickly and then build on that. Do not try to boil the ocean but resolve to try something simple, learn fast, then try again.
- There are four critical areas where you use DT to create value: Customer Experience, Employee Experience, Operations and Business Model transformation built upon a robust digital platform. Focusing on these areas will help drive digital development in FM.
- Explore the weaknesses that the crisis exposed in your organization, community or society. Growth opportunities lie in the flaws that crises have exposed.
- Focus on inclusivity. Digital transformation removes the boundaries between customers and the organization and the factors that impede employees and their partners from doing their jobs and tasks. The focus should be on ensuring that everyone can contribute and benefit from digital transformation.
- Don't forget the importance of knowledge transfer. Digital transformation risks separating experts from learners, making knowledge and skills transfer more difficult.