February 2016


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Warren RosebraughEMAIL INTERVIEWWarren Rosebraugh and Ken Sinclair

Warren Rosebraugh, Director Solution Architects - Healthcare - North America, Schneider Electric

Role of the Strategic Facility Executive

To get there, facility managers are moving away from printed schematics, work orders and energy consumption charts to the digital age where technology and analytics deliver information and control any place, any time and in any format.

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SinclairHow has the role of the facility manager evolved in recent years when it comes to proactively improving building energy efficiency?

Rosebraugh:  The world is rapidly changing, and we’re in the early stages of a revolution in the way buildings are run. As a result, facility managers are becoming more essential to their organizations than ever before, whether they’re running a critical facility like a hospital or a non-critical site. The role of the facility manager is quickly evolving from primarily maintaining buildings to playing a strategic part in helping an organization meet its operational goals by providing a solution to the question that has plagued companies and institutions for years: how do we do more with less? To get there, facility managers are moving away from printed schematics, work orders and energy consumption charts to the digital age where technology and analytics deliver information and control any place, any time and in any format. The possibility to have a greater impact on energy consumption, the energy bill and the quality of service to building occupants is very real.

SinclairHow are facility managers interfacing differently with the c-suite as compared to five years ago?

Rosebraugh:  As facility plans become increasingly aligned with the strategic goals of an organization, facility managers are interfacing more with the c-suite and have a new seat at the table when it comes to strategizing ways to achieve business goals. Facility managers must ultimately secure funding for building management projects, and a critical first step is promoting the positive effects that energy efficiency initiatives will have on the organization as a whole. Every business is pushing the fact that they are green, sustainable and doing their part to save the planet. But that isn’t enough.  Facility managers must leverage their knowledge of how modernized buildings can make a real impact on the bottom line in order to help the c-suite achieve their goals.

SinclairWhat tools and technologies are facility managers leveraging to better anticipate building needs and locate potential problems?

Rosebraugh:  Facilities professionals are shifting from a reactionary stance to a proactive position when managing building needs, using data analytics, cloud software and mobile/connected devices to better anticipate building needs and locate potential problems before they arise. Couple this with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings, and facilities management is set to experience even more transformation in the coming years. Technological advances are creating the ability to go from data collection to business impact in an instant. But with the advent of these technological advancements, more training and education is needed to teach facilities professionals core IT and security practices and drive awareness for new, emerging technologies.

SinclairHow are demographic shifts within the facility management profession impacting how facility manager approach their job?

Rosebraugh:  We are seeing an overarching trend in the facility management profession. The average age of a facility professional is over 55, which means that many are nearing retirement and at risk to take all of their professional experience and knowledge with them when they leave an organization. These baby boomers grew up with mechanical systems and ran them manually, allowing them to deeply understand building systems and what they were doing. The facility managers who are just coming out of college are not inclined to work on mechanical equipment, and instead prefer to conduct their jobs using mobile devices. The next generation of facility managers will need to gain the skills and capabilities necessary to take complex sets of data and turn them into useful information for a variety of audiences. Learning from the current generation of facilities professionals and information systems will help them in accomplishing this task.

SinclairHow do you see facilities management further transforming in the next five years?

Rosebraugh:  Changes in facilities management will have a significant impact on the healthcare industry in particular. An astounding 72 percent of energy spend in healthcare is expended on mechanical systems. In addition, the Affordable Care Act is driving a shift in the healthcare environment away from large, central hospitals in urban environments to an increased number of economically efficient and smaller neighborhood facilities spread across geographies. This will change the way facility managers approach their jobs. Instead of managing one centralized facility, they will need to implement the tools and technologies that allow them to manage multiple facilities and connect information and people to bring buildings into the 21st century.


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