Woman working on her laptop in a conference roomFor most organizations, growth is always at the forefront. The pursuit of new service lines, new customers, and new regions motivates business leaders to adopt bigger office spaces, expanded retail locations, and additional franchises. While these aspirations drive each company to bolder aspirations, they do so with a cost. Real estate and facilities management alone account for a third of most organizations’ annual spend—second only to personnel—with facilities management occupying anywhere from 10 to 25 percent on its own.

It’s easy to understand why. As businesses grow their sphere of influence and move into new locations, managing each of those facilities becomes more and more difficult. Every city offers its own pool of maintenance vendors, utility companies, and cleaning solutions. Every region brings unique environmental and climate conditions. Every population has its comfort preferences. Frankly, creating consistency, communication, and visibility in a single facility is hard enough, let alone in two, 12, or 20.

The future of facility management

For those charged with managing multiple facilities, visibility is the key to controlling costs. Today, most facilities simply lack the resources to track, assess, and revise their site operation standards, which makes securing that necessary oversight incredibly difficult. Scaling those operations across multiple sites requires a combination of automation, tracking, and data democratization.

At Microsoft, our Real Estate and Security (RE&S) team manages over 34 million square feet in more than 1,000 buildings across over 110 countries. Traditionally, we partnered with local vendors to manage many of these locations, but over time, that decentralized model made it nearly impossible to track work orders, manage SLAs, acquire data, and control costs. Likewise, organizations like Siemens and MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions (MMFS) rely on consolidated data to help manage energy systems across buildings, regions, and industries.

Smart Buildings Solutions works in three tenants to create more efficient and effective facilities:

  1. Foundational services: Creating smart energy management systems, predictive building maintenance, and building automation that handle the day-to-day optimization of power, air, water, and data services for any building.
  2. Access, occupancy, and security: Implementing new solutions to manage people-focused logistics like intelligent lease administration, access control, video surveillance, parking and booking, and space utilization analysis.
  3. Organizational analytics: Maximize operations and productivity, specifically for customer service and tenant support, with virtual concierge, dynamic space planning, and ambient intelligence.

Together, Smart Building Solutions have helped to:

  • Increase business agility.
  • Improve data security and governance.
  • Create a more efficient inventory management process.
  • Reduce maintenance costs.
  • Improve overall user satisfaction.

With a new lease on our facility management processes, we hope to bring these insights and opportunities to operation and facility managers around the world. If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Smart Buildings Solutions, you can click here to schedule a demo or set up an envisioning session with our customer success team to start imagining how new technologies can shape the future of your facilities.