Collaboration and Cloud Computing by Michael Schley

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

cloud computing and bim

Image courtesy of FM:Systems, Inc.

A second technology trend, cloud computing, is underway throughout the business world in general, following BIM’s steadily expanding role in the world of FM.

Cloud computing provides significant benefits to users by reducing IT management costs.  More interesting to facility managers however is the potential for cloud computing to provide a platform for collaboration.

Over the past decade, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has transformed the fields of architecture, engineering, and contracting. 

In the next decade, we can expect BIM to also transform the way buildings are operated and managed.  BIM with its rich source of information will provide more robust and usable base data for facility maintenance, planning, and operations.

Cloud Computing will help FM’s use BIM in collaboration with other resources and information sources.

Facility management comprises a wide variety of skills, trades, and specialties.  Although some of these tasks are done with in-house personnel, major portions of the work in managing a facility are done with contracted staff. 

For example, maintenance, security, real estate administration, facility design, and custodial tasks are usually done by outsourced personnel.  This is all well and good until companies try to use shared information to drive efficiency in facility services. 

With traditional on-premise computing, corporate information is secured behind a corporate firewall with the unfortunate consequence of not allowing reasonable access by business partners.  This is a significant impediment to the effective use of information in facility management.

Fortunately cloud computing provides a solution.  Because data for cloud-based computing is housed outside of the corporate firewall, selective access can be granted to contractors, consultants, and key outsource providers without endangering data within the corporate firewall.

The business world is rapidly moving to Software as a Service (SaaS ) and cloud computing.  As this trend is underway, facility managers should consider the additional benefits of cloud computing in achieving real collaboration between all the members of the facility management team.

Michael Schley

Michael Schley, IFMA Fellow, CEO and Founder, FM:Systems

Michael Schley is the CEO and Founder of FM:Systems, a developer of facility management software. He is responsible for overseeing company operations and guiding the company’s product direction.

Michael is recognized globally for his expertise in FM technology and has spoken at numerous conferences throughout the world. He has led several significant industry standards efforts including serving as Chair of the AIA CAD Layer Guidelines Task Force, and co-chair of the IFMA Area Measurement Task Force.

He has been a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University and serves on the FM advisory committees of Cornell University and Georgia Institute of Technology. He currently serves as Second Vice Chair of the IFMA Foundation and oversaw the Foundation’s publication of two significant publications: Technology for Facility Managers and BIM for Facility Managers, both published by John Wiley and Sons.


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