As recently as 2015, the IFMA published a white paper examining the perception among the C-Suite (CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, etc.) of their facilities management department. The general takeaway was not kind as per the executive summary, which stated that most of the C-Suite still viewed FM as a “support function with minimal strategic value.”
In addition, the key performance indicator that most of these senior executives used to measure their FM departments was “in terms of cost savings.”
These are not the “trends-are-our-friends” direction that facilities professionals would want to see in terms of how they’d want their departments to be viewed. This is in a corporate-work environment in which the hottest topic of discussion is seemingly how companies can better use technology to eliminate jobs and, therefore, salaries and other costs.
However, technologies can also be used to enhance work functions and even whole professions, which has been the ServiceChannel mission since our founding for the benefit of FM pros and their contractors.
ServiceChannel-enabled FM pros know all-too-well the benefits of using CMMS software and service automation to make their jobs easier through efficiency, visibility and transparency. To thrive in today’s measure-everything corporate culture, however, they need to take the additional step of conveying these values to their C-Suite leadership.
And without that approach, they’re likely to remain a cost-center in the eyes of those with budgets that are constantly subject to opportunities for slashing.
Demonstrating Facilities Management Value to the C-Suite & Other Senior Executives
The most successful facilities management teams we know have worked to establish the value of their departments across their organizations. Here are a few helpful tips for FM pros to (figuratively) kick in the doors into the C-Suite and make their case:
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - Numbers Count
These financially minded executives are understandably obsessed with costs and efficiencies, especially in discovering new ways to trim budgets. The pitch to the CFOs should therefore focus on how FM pros can quantify how service automation can track, manage and ultimately reduce facilities-related costs across any number of categories including:
- by store or location,
- by region, and even
- by trade.
CFOs are also nuts about analytics, meaning that the service automation-enabled facilities team can make substantial strides by demonstrating a proficiency with data and reports (on a real-time and historic basis) that can be converted into business insights. Showing savings realized and opportunities to reduce costs can be a powerful approach to demonstrate overall FM program value.
The Chief Technology (or Information) Officer (CTO or CIO) - Systems Matter
These technology-focused executives love when their hardware and software systems work well together as part of a larger solution ecosystem. FM departments who have deployed ServiceChannel know that this platform can be easily integrated through application platform interfaces (APIs) into other corporate systems such as accounting and financial-payment software, which tightly links the FM function into the larger corporate processes.
Today’s tech executives are obsessively concerned with security and costs among other facets of their systems. Working with secure cloud-based platforms provides the CTO/CIO the comfort that corporate data is segregated and protected.
And with the migration away from the never-ending cycle of hardware and infrastructure upgrades, cloud-based service-automation systems ensure a way to have redundancy, scalability and on-demand access in a cost-effective way, always a way to the CTO/CIO’s heart (and purse strings!).
Chief Marketing Officer - Brand is Paramount
Senior marketing executives are happiest when the vision for their company's brand is enforced consistently and properly at every touchpoint with customers and the general public. FM pros can show that they’re playing an essential part of this positive brand experience by maintaining their facilities in the most tip-top shape possible, a concept that ServiceChannel calls, appropriately enough, “Brand Uptime.”
Nowhere is the Brand Uptime concept more important than in the retail sector where delivering a positive customer experience can make all the difference in getting customers into stores in the first place. Thus, a successful partnership between the FM and Marketing department is essential and can have direct ramifications on the success of that business.
Chief Risk/Compliance Officer – Safety First and Always
These executives have the unenviable responsibility of assessing and mitigating significant competitive, regulatory and technological threats to their companies. As FM teams, by the nature of their operations, require the assistance of outside vendors, ensuring that these contractors are properly compliant in terms of their finances, insurance, security credentials and other factors is business-essential these days.
A service automation-enabled FM team can be confident in front of their CRO or CCO knowing that its compliance needs are met through a centralized, dynamic dashboard with contractor management software that can alert both the FM team and its vendors of issues that exist or will arise soon.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Putting It All Together
As the most senior executive, these leaders have the responsibility that every department under his or her control is operating at its peak performance. Underperforming departments risk getting their budgets and headcount slashed, if not eliminated outright.
ServiceChannel-enabled FM departments have a great story to tell to their CEOs by showing how service automation has transformed them into business-savvy, operationally efficient department that collaborates well with other departments throughout the company.
CEOs need to ensure that all of their companies’ locations are operating at top efficiency, costs are in-line, risks are reduced, its brand is maintained, and systems can fully support both expected and unexpected growth. Enabling facilities management departments with service automation is a great example of how to modernize key areas of operations with intelligently applied technologies.
Service Automation Supports Senior Leadership Buy-in
Regardless of a company’s organizational structure, making sure that senior leadership understands the value and benefits of facilities technology is crucial. Service automation-enabled FM departments in virtually every industry are model case studies for how advanced technologies such as SaaS and the cloud can enhance their operations.
While these benefits may be self-evident, it is nonetheless important that FMs rely on data-driven platforms that enable them to show their quantifiable value to the C-Suite leadership on a regular basis. This will get facilities out from being viewed in a ‘cost center’ mindset and can help it gain a ‘seat at the table’ and a voice in future company decisions.