The Age Of Disruption

My son is three years old and – already – I know what to get him for his 8th birthday. Right now a digital printer is capable of printing intricate 3D objects and costs in the region of £4,000. By the time my son reaches eight, I’d imagine the same printer will cost £125. It also means that after his 8th birthday, I will never have to buy him anything again – except insurance for his 3D printer!!

What we knew 15 years ago is almost unrecognisable now. Until 1994 if we wanted books we would go to WH Smith, if we wanted music we went to HMV and now it would be heresy to consider doing anything other than buying or leasing music from Amazon or downloading on iTunes™. We cannot dispute the effect that technology has had on shaping the way we work and the impact it will continue to have. It is an accepted fact that technology doubles in capability and halves in cost every two years – it’s what we call disruption. Disruption is defined as: ‘radically reconfiguring a business or sector by implementing new technology’. That’s what Urbanise is doing in the FM sector…

Disruption is driven by the consumer… it starts when sectors are disrupted by service providers who design everything they do to satisfy the consumer.Any sector that has been disrupted, whether music, travel or books has focussed on three key elements:

• The needs and wants of the consumer • Ubiquitous access to that service • The affordability of the product as seen in the eyes of the consumer

When it comes to the FM sector, I’d argue that it is an industry that remains the same, and hasn’t – as yet – been disrupted by technology.Expensive technology has been wrapped around highly inefficient processes designed by engineers for engineers, not by consumers for consumers.But it is clear to see disruption has started – give it six years, and it will look very different…

The True Cost Of Buildings

One of the largest costs to any corporate organisation is the construction,management and energy costs associated with buildings.The lifetime costs of a building are 3x the initial construction cost.

The question is, realistically how many people need to be in a building to do their job? And if they need to be in a building does it need to be your building? What I am not saying is that all employees should work from home,my point is that if they are not working in your building are you helping them work from wherever they want to work?

Do You Really Need Reactive Maintenance?

How about this for an idea? Instead of relying on your building managers to tell you something has gone wrong, why not get assets to start monitoring themselves, and when they sense something is deteriorating – they either self-repair or go to the right person for help?

If assets are not yet capable of diagnosing themselves how do you cost effectively diagnose the status of assets and respond when they need you to respond? You don’t need a 3 million pound solution for the building you are going to build, you need a £3/asset retrofit solution for the building you have had for 10 years. Companies are doing this now? If consumers are managing the sector and people are working from random, the sector is being disrupted and assets don’t need PPMs – my question is: what is happening to the service providers?

Large established service providers are undertaking mergers and acquisitions at a rate never seen before. As FM providers get bigger are they really equipped to be as nimble as you need them to be?

You are going to be dealing with consumers wanting to buy services from you,staff working anywhere, assets are going to be saying don’t come to see me today. I’m far too busy for a 6-month planned preventive maintenance service. As disruption starts the rate of change is going to be unrecognisable so can existing FM providers cope with this pace? As your needs change a more flexible approach such as staff on demand is needed. There are going to be less people in your buildings so you won’t have to maintain them as often and soon the buildings will be managing themselves and managing your service providers. If you were to use local coordinated trades then you could also support your employees by helping them maintain their homes which would be a major benefit to your employees?

We consider this a real possibility, one which is scalable,repeatable and beneficial to you, your employees and the local community? Companies are doing this now.

At Urbanise, we believe that service delivery is fundamentally different to product delivery. Service delivery has a lifecycle, things change and you need software that has been designed to deliver a service not a product. At the same time Amazon Web Services has transformed the ability for organisations to provide software to either one person or millions of people instantaneously, unlike traditional software you can decide who has access and what they have access for.Cloud based computing has removed the constraints about scaling or having a flexible business model – it enables disruption. In The Future…

• Consumers (your employees) will be unable to distinguish their working hours from their social hours and can interact with either in a consistent way. • Smart Assets will look after themselves and if they need help they will ask for it • More people will be working from buildings that you don’t own, lease or manage. • Large service providers will be displaced by local co-ordinated supply chains of providers who are more flexible and cost effective • The FM sector will have undergone disruption, because – let’s face it – it needs to

Urbanise software has been designed to accommodate these different scenarios. A revolution is coming… Graham Salters is the Regional Director for Europe at Urbanise, a cloud-based service delivery platform. To contact Graham email: Graham.Salters or for more information visit: