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Today, digital assistants link innovative in-house Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) and the IT of service providers. The highlight: Easily customizable service apps and flexible interfaces simultaneously ensure perfect data exchange between all parties involved.

Innovative building operators on the one hand and their service providers on the other have now entered the digital age. The result: everyone performs their operator duties digitally, and each with their own software. Efficient and “neutral” information exchange is therefore desirable, because no dependencies are to be created between the building owner/operator and his service providers via the software.

Actually, the solutions for the exchange of content-related information from different software systems are well known: Define a standard to which everyone adheres and connect your own software to the other system via connectors or interfaces. And then it should work. It should.

But the world of facility management is a bit more complicated. Often highly complex Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software of the operators meets a variety of potential dialog partners at the service provider(s): The spectrum here ranges from simple paper management or Excel, for example, of cleaning companies, to mobile order management in FM SMEs, often also self-built, to complementary CAFM systems of universal internationally active service providers.

And then there are the special requirements of the operator: He wants the digital mapping of special and company-specific facility services, because the objects for repair, maintenance, cleaning, installation and disposal require a very special procedure. Or even because the building user’s business model or ongoing business operations are involved in these service activities.

How do you overcome this challenge? The magic words are “apps” and “lowcode. A methodology in which facility service apps are created in hours today where months of programming were required in the past. Application logic and interfaces are programmed little or not at all, while they are predominantly designed via browser and mouse click. Customized service apps are created in a digital “facility service” assistant. The assistant supports the person in charge and his team in the property and forms the bridge between the world of in-house CAFM and the diverse world of service providers. The work is coordinated, distributed and monitored via a “janitor portal”, and the team and service provider complete their tasks via the employees’ “service apps” – or separately via the service provider’s own software.

All in all, this results in a win-win situation for everyone involved:

  • Building owners and operators achieve maximum transparency about building status and active service providers, cost leadership and independence, because they can change service providers without major disruptions in digitally accompanied performance.
  • Service providers using digital assistance increase their sales opportunities with all operators using CAFMs with assistance extension.
  • If an important operator task is fulfilled by a now very flexible facility service, this is a significant advantage for operators, service providers and software suppliers. For example, when plant master data and maintenance schedules are immediately available digitally to the service provider and work can be carried out ad hoc, precisely and as required.

The bottom line is: digital assistance provides the operator with the decisive increase in transparency, cost leadership and independence. The in-house CAFM system is and remains the permanent source for all building facts and decisions. The assistant as an intelligent CAFM extension and mediating instance supports the operator team with flexible service apps and all linked service providers with interfaces. Service provider-own assistance is added on demand. For the service providers, the efficiency and effectiveness of their daily work increases, and for everyone involved, the overall benefit. 

About the author:

Dr. Dieter Kramps is managing director of cobago GmbH. cobago is a specialist for industry-independent digital assistance systems, lowcode apps and interfaces in heterogeneous application landscapes.