Building management personnel responsible for facilities are essential in supporting building owner modernization goals. Specifically, they must introduce and implement technological innovation in the building infrastructure. Facilities managers face the challenge of obtaining funding from executives to build infrastructure and technology upgrades. Securing funds depends on their ability to articulate new technologies’ benefits in reducing business risk or increasing business value. Miscommunications often result in too small budgets to accomplish all the work needed to achieve necessary facility improvements.
How to Ensure Executive Buy-in for Upgrade Projects
We advise budget-constrained facilities clients to partner with their IT department to secure funding and leverage flexible IT budgets. Facilities systems have become increasingly automated and can now be classified as IT systems. This is due to their integration with cloud interfaces. We can now categorize many of these facilities’ power, cooling, and access control systems as IT projects. IT funding mechanisms are more fluid than budgets surrounding traditional facilities projects. The budgetary options can be expanded by partnering with IT for connectivity and network compliance of facilities systems.
Assess Your Facility’s Ability to Gather, Interpret and Act on Data
The ability to collect and analyze facilities data quickly is another key that opens executive funding pocketbooks. Strategically, specific data within a building envelope can indicate how to reduce operational energy costs. Monitoring data from low voltage equipment and power meters, building management systems, and HVAC equipment can help quantify performance and calculate corresponding business impact. The ability to generate analytics places the discussion on the level of business value instead of arguing the technical merits of a system upgrade. Looking at the numbers provides an easy way to prioritize the investment and to place it on the executive budgeting radar screen. The data gathering and analysis exercise can be done internally or with outside help. This is where co-sourcing–working hand-in-hand with a systems integrator– can become an attractive option.
Make it Easy for C-level Executives to Decide
Executives speak the language of opportunity cost, cost avoidance, Net Present Value (NPV) and, beyond the financials, are very concerned with their building’s sustainability footprint. To catch their attention, place the highest priority building improvements into specific buckets to make it easy for executives to make the right investment decision. Those buckets should align to three investment consideration categories:
- Projects with low cost/payback within a year (projects that are quick and easy to implement),
- Projects that fall within the approved internal investment hurdle rate (the agreed on minimum rate of return, which is usually determined by the finance department) within a period of 3-5 years
- Projects representing deferred issues (this can include everything from dealing with serious internal human resource shortages due to retirements or replacing a 40-year old boiler that serves the critical side of a hospital).
If not resolved, some of these issues can threaten the business. Executives can quickly rectify the situation when information about these risk-based issues.
Open Building Automation Architectures Provide a Future-proof Investment
Building owners and portfolio managers focus on long-term investment strategies. The demand for skilled professionals in building infrastructure management has increased significantly. With the advent of the digital age, posing a daunting task for companies to attract and retain qualified individuals. To stay competitive, organizations must devise innovative recruitment strategies to secure the right talent. When facilities personnel recommend innovations that dovetail into the building’s longer-term strategic investment plan, executives pay attention. At Stark Tech, we support this strategic approach by recommending solutions based on open technology platforms. Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solutions enable the integration of facility technology systems at various layers. This approach offers future-proof solutions for building owners and staff, ensuring a predictable ROI in the long term.
Visit Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure website to learn about digitized building automation solutions that enable modernization under an open platform.