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How Technology Has Enabled Positive Progress Despite, and Because Of, COVID-19



Tariq Chauhan, Group CEO of EFS Facilities Services Group, discusses how tech has become a positive new way of life amidst the COVID-19.


Amidst the ongoing trauma that the market is facing, there are indeed traces of positivity. In this turmoil, there is a glimmer of hope on many fronts, and technology is indeed leading that positivity. One wonders, where is this sudden transformation coming from, and what are the critical drivers pushing this agenda? The change of mindsets has influenced the recent technology renaissance that people have embarked. Today, business stakeholders are all eager, more than ever before, to get on the bandwagon.

Surprisingly, technology has been there for some time. However, with new transformative mindsets, people have adopted technology solutions as part of their routine. For instance, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and various other telephony platforms have been there for some time. Still, only limited businesses were holistically using these. Many of these solutions were in waiting to be a part of the mainstream organizations, but the current emergence of technologies and its adaptation has been spectacular. As per a Chinese proverb, there is an opportunity in every crisis. Indeed, this is true; during COVID times, technology is for sure, walking the talk. The meteoric rise of technology has much in the discussion as a way of the core business restitution.

In the business of Facilities Management, tech has arrived with a big bang. From management functions to operations, all roles are riding on this wave of technology transformation. Management and project team’s time and monies that used to get wasted on meetings, logistics and movement of the executives are now being managed more productively. These are indeed proving to be a big boon for businesses. These have not only helped in time efficiency but has given a push to process optimization with help to record and organize meeting notes. In our company, we have been holding two out three interactions through teams that have considerably eased executive lives. These indeed have given them a boost to better leverage their time for operational issues.

Having been back on 100% work for some time at our company, we are in for stark realization of the power of IT, how and post-COVID, IT is transforming our business with these new applications. We are seeing how best these solutions are helping the organization on employee productivity and cost optimization. While project teams can now concentrate on their project supervision and are available with more quality time for their clients and groups and at the same time, finance is patting their backs for lower travel and logistics costs. The same is the case with corporate and board experience on this new telephony. During the lockdown and with social distancing, we were able to hold all our quarterly meetings through these tech telephony platforms. One can’t imagine the cost benefits of such a journey.

The various new systems and applications are fast changing the FM executive’s routines with more productive outcomes. For instance, the new age CAFM systems and mobile apps are helping executives and field teams to monitor live operations through dashboards and webcams. These provide critical information to manage off-site supervision and surveillance through live dashboards during the COVID crisis, and its compliances have pushed the industry to think beyond and aligned FM in express technology mode.

The visitor’s management system is helping to ease the pressure on front desks as well as helping to meet the new COVID-19 compliances on social distancing. Likewise, many other applications from space to document management each are now in place that are making significant strides, which is not only helping in streamlining and consolidating processes but also helping in better time management. Tech is now embedding itself for most FM professionals. In particular, the FM industry with wafer-thin margins is riding on this wave of transformation to achieve cost efficiencies in administrative time management across the various segments, from resource deployment to document and project management processes.

The advent of new technologies empowers the day-to-day life of a facility manager. These are revolutionizing operations both in terms of process optimization through the telephony platform and CAFM optimization supported by tool and machine automation. In the wake of this crisis, FM also bore the brunt with falling revenues and rising costs. FM was on the back foot, and the industry has no option but to transcend on efficiencies. This labour-intensive industry has also helped to sustain its workforce’s engagement and welfare through technological nuances to communicate with a broad reach through multi-media.

COVID-19 has been the only driver that has brought in such mass digital and tech transformation like never before. Like the rest of the businesses, technology is indeed playing a pivotal role. It is serving the long-standing needs of FM in terms of lean and efficient resource management. These have kicked on definitive efficiencies in cost that has helped in easing the pressure where the industry is no more seen as a behind-the-scenes player but as an industry that provides agile and faster solutions along with greater transparency.


Source: Forbes Middle East

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