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Facilities teams today have access to more data than ever before, supporting data-driven decisions that maximise value for the organisation.
However, if data isn’t accurate or timely, it can create more problems than it solves. At best, it’s not available to support decision making, at worst, it can result in misinformed decisions.
Conversely, data-driven decisions grounded in good data help to maximise return on investment for the organisation. The better the data is, the more informed these decisions can be.
Ensuring data is as accurate as possible starts with building a strong foundation, and robust processes. There are three principals that ensure data can be leveraged effectively for decision making.
These principles are: a robust data structure, investment in a data management system and a data maintenance practice.
Good data starts with a clearly defined data structure that supports the investment decisions you need to make. When it comes to setting up data structures, it’s important to start with the end in mind.
Understand what decisions you need to make, and what information is required to inform those decisions.
Many organisations fall into the trap of creating an overly complicated data structure. Too many levels or categories in the structure are hard to maintain, and make it difficult to extract meaningful information.
Typically, when organisations store data in spreadsheets, it’s at the sacrifice of accessibility, control, and security. Having all your data in a dedicated FM system improves accessibility and accuracy.
Saving asset information across various spreadsheets, creates a lot of unnecessary work, and is a minefield for inaccurate data. The significant margin for error in these manual processes often results in siloed data, updated inconsistently and infrequently, that is difficult to access.
Centralising data into an FM platform, creating a single source of truth, is critical to improving data quality. Consolidating information helps to ensure it is up to date, and accessible when and where it is needed.
When it comes to data management, it is critically important to have well-defined and documented processes in place to guide those who play a part in managing the data.
Ensuring the right users have the right permissions helps to control the data structure. An often overlooked but important practice is limiting the number of “super users” within the solution, and periodically reviewing user permissions.
If extra permissions become a free-for-all, uninformed userscan inadvertently create fields that muddy your analysis and reporting.
Outside of the FM team, facilities users and contractors can enrich your data, if the right tools and processes are in place.
For example, consider work request templates in your facilities management solution. If facilities users can quickly select from a predefined list when requesting work to be done, the right data is efficiently collected. The work can be both efficiently completed and analysed for actionable insights.
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