Facilities are complicated, with multiple “dimensions,” each of which has different measures and metrics. You probably have a wealth of facility related data, scattered among various systems: a finance system with actual costs, maybe another for plant assets, a facility work order system/CMMS, one or more BMS/BAS systems, a CAFM system, and most likely some spreadsheets with utility usage or lease information.
The Challenge of Facility Data
These systems are all probably good for their purpose. But rare is the organization with an integrated data warehouse with all this data so you can see beyond the day-to-day. Increasingly facility systems are even outside your organization in the cloud or with a service provider making it even harder. Some of the challenges this presents to facility leaders are:
- “Swivel chair” integration when you jump from a screen on one system to a screen on another.
- Two different answers to the same question such as different GSF for the same facility from different systems.
- Difficulty in quickly finding an answer because the data is not readily available.
- The need to manually create one-time spreadsheets or documents to assemble the data you want for a specific purpose, along with the time and effort to do so.
The Value of Integrating Metrics in Facility Dashboards and Scorecards
Because of the vast amounts of data and multiple systems associated with our facilities, we need to combine and simplify the metrics to gain insight from our FM data. There are a number of technical ways to assemble and integrate data, but the details of those are not important for this discussion.
The key point is that integrating your facility metrics in a single set of scorecards provides some specific benefits:
- One “stop to shop” for facility data (quicker to reference, quicker to find commonly used data, quicker response to ad-hoc questions).
- Easier & less expensive than integrating systems (just integrate the metrics and use the systems as they are).
- Easier access to data/systems that are outside your firewall.
- Easier to put facility metrics in business terms (business metrics are not typically in FM systems).
- More robust analysis, models, and forecasts are possible (able to see metrics that cut across different systems, can support strategic planning).
Dashboards vs. Scorecards
The terms Dashboards and Scorecards are often used interchangeably, but for our discussion here we are going to distinguish between them based upon their purpose. (You can call them whatever you wish in your organization.)
Dashboards are operationally-focused tools (how we keep this ship running properly). They contain sets of measures that are used to guide facility operations, usually in real time such as: equipment status, pressures, and work order status.
Good dashboards present a limited amount of measures in an intuitive way – just those items needed by the user. They need to be quickly and easily understood to allow appropriate action even when the user is distracted. An auto dashboard is a good example of this as those designs have evolved over time.
For facility management, most dashboards belong with your various data systems (Building control systems, work order systems) to support the intended function of that system for those users.
Scorecards are strategic managerially-focused tools (how are we doing on our voyage). They contain sets of metrics, some of which may use data from multiple operational systems such as: cost per GSF, percent of maintenance completed on schedule, and energy use per occupant.
Unlike dashboards, scorecards can include the broad picture of your facility asset and/or operations with the full range of facility metrics. They also do not need to be real time to be useful. To make them more usable, you can group facility metrics by category and have summary items with drill-down for detail.
Facility management scorecards range from a manually updated Excel file to a business intelligence platform. Unless your organization has tightly integrated your enterprise management system and other facility systems, it is not likely to be within any of the facility systems you have.
A scorecard(s) can let the appropriate people easily identify what information is important for their purposes. Ideally this will be as automated as possible and allow you to add and subtract data from systems as you adopt new technologies or upgrade your current systems.
Organizing Your Metrics on Facility Dashboards and Scorecards
We discussed how facility metrics correspond with the key roles in facility management. So, you will want to organize your scorecard(s) in a similar way to support your data driven decisions.
Some of the metrics you identified and defined in the prior step can exist in a “silo” (e.g. work order completion) while others are dependent on measures or metrics from two or more different functional areas (e.g. cost per completed move).
Here are some tips when developing your integrated scorecard approach:
- Relevant to the user: Consider your scorecard to be a set of pages, one designed for each user role. You may have separate documents/systems making up your scorecard depending upon your organization and underlying systems.
- Don’t duplicate: If your functional system has a good dashboard for a given user role, just use that as a “page” and roll up the metrics into your integrated scorecard for other roles.
- Drive desired behavior: The metrics on the scorecard should be ones that measure performance with respect to defined goals or that are useful in guiding action to accomplish defined goals.
- Understandable: The metrics should be intuitively understood and of interest to the intended user.
- Use good data: Key measures should come from the agreed system of record for that topic (e.g. actual costs from accounting, not CMMS).
- Balanced: Some metrics are useful in combination to ensure that performance is in balance – not cutting cost corners at expense of quality.
- Useful or necessary metrics: The reason to have a scorecard is to provide useful metrics. (Earnings per share is a good corporate metric but not very relevant to a building engineer. It is okay to share general metrics, but they should be on a separate overview report/page.)
- Timely: Most reporting needs to be monthly to be of value, but some items may be available/relevant at different frequency.
- Use hierarchy for visual simplicity: Display design needs to group items and organize them by topic or with drill-down to avoid clutter and make the display easy to read and understand. Avoid using superfluous graphics (which reduces our ability to perceive the scorecard content).
Examples of How to Use Facility Management Scorecards
Scorecards can be simple online reports, pages posted on bulletin boards, or fancy annual property reports. Some examples:
Facility “Fact Sheet” for reports or regulators.
Your metric/KPI scorecard can show facility status at a glance and easily communicate that to business leadership
Scorecard data directly feeds and incorporates facility benchmarking summary.
Customized facility budget variance with a “managerial” accounting view that is more useful to understand facility operating costs (especially by property).
Forecast likely space needs and associated budgets.
Summarize work order status, service compliance, and forecast selected spending for mid-year budget adjustments.
Use integrated facility dashboards and scorecards for a single view of key facility metrics. Your facility data can be a valuable resource. Use your metrics to stay on track, make timely course corrections, forecast trends, and enable data exploration that provides strategic insight.
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