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|A How-to Guide
Adopting building optimization technology in your building services business.
CEO and Co-Founder
For real estate owners, it is both a stressful and exciting time, as they face more
pressure than ever to deliver material differences to the working
environment, meet sustainability goals, unlock financial gains and cope
with changes in their own workforce. Real estate owners are being forced to adopt new strategies as they seek to minimize vacancy rates and grow asset values.
owners are increasingly looking to their traditional partners, building
services firms, for assistance to meet these evolving demands. Adaptive
building services firms are responding to these market changes by
embracing building optimization — a data-driven approach to building
performance management that encompasses technology, people and
building services sector is maturing rapidly, and building optimization
technology is creating new opportunities and challenges. Envizi
recently commissioned independent analyst firm Verdantix to research
the current state of building optimization technology adoption in the
building services sector in North America. Adaptive firms
have begun to tackle these challenges head-on to remain competitive in
an evolving market. Building optimization technology is enabling these
firms to deliver existing services better and faster, to develop new
value-add services, and to improve customer relationships.
Critically, these technologies are helping firms de-risk the prospect
of being left behind or disintermediated by new market entrants.
If your building services firm has been hesitant to transition to a technology-focused market, now is the time to act. To adopt building optimization technology in your firm, building services executives should undertake the following eight steps:
1. Establish a vision and goals for delivering building services.
than thinking about technology in isolation, firms need to consider
what benefits they are trying to deliver to clients or what sort of
efficiencies they are trying to establish internally. At that point, it
is useful to explore the different technology solutions available and
how they can help in meeting these objectives. There are multiple
categories of technology solutions to help services firms deliver on an
optimization strategy. Technology solutions include those such as
manufacturer analytics embedded into equipment, integrated energy
management and fault detection software (with or without sensors),
standalone energy management or fault detection software, and software
for remotely coordinating field technicians.
2. Consider the solutions that will deliver the greatest value to you and your customers.
best-fit technology solution may not be the one with the most bells and
whistles. Services firm executives need to fully understand how a
selected technology will help them to achieve their service objectives
quickly and cost-effectively. A key component of technology evaluation
will be to consult with customers to understand what will deliver the
best value for them. Some customers may have part of their portfolio in
areas with a carbon tax and will focus on reducing energy use. While
other clients may be more focused on identifying faults with ageing
chiller plants to improve performance.
3. Understand your current technology maturity phase.
an understanding of how you wish to incorporate technology into your
solution set, building services firms must baseline their current level
of maturity (you can take the Building Optimization Benchmark Assessment online here).
This is required in order to understand the effort and investment
required to meet your target level of maturity. Building services firms
need to identify existing internal and external IT systems, system
owners, current users and existing service delivery processes and
frameworks to determine the firm’s maturity.
4. Pinpoint your target technology maturity phase.
Initiative leaders need to assemble a team that consists of stakeholders from all parts of the business to help determine the appropriate maturity level
to target for each factor of service delivery. Appropriate stakeholders
should include representatives such as account managers, senior
executives, field technicians and IT managers. While certain parts of
an organization’s service delivery maturity, such as the breadth of
services, may work at its current maturity level other aspects such as
the firm’s use of data and analytics will benefit from improved
5. Design the technology strategy.
the work completed in the preceding four steps, it will now be possible
to create a technology strategy to sit alongside the vision and goals
established in step 1. The strategy should map out the approach which
will be taken to achieve these goals and the desired use of technology.
A successful technology strategy will focus on the integration of
software, people and processes to create a value proposition that is
greater than the sum of its individual parts.
6. Consider partnership options.
implementation of a technology strategy may get derailed if an
appropriate plan has not been put in place. Initiative leaders will
need to manage executive expectations, project scope, timelines,
budgets and resource demands. An important consideration will be
whether to develop a solution internally or partner with a technology provider.
Selecting an appropriate technology provider to partner with can help
manage risks such as technology implementation challenges, workforce
training and system integration. A partner, with the appropriate
building services experience, will be able to help firms understand
where process changes are needed, such as new processes to act on
insights provided by data analytics on a chiller plant.
7. Develop a staged technology roll-out plan.
successful roll-out of a technology-led service strategy should follow
a phased approach that includes process development and team training,
implementation of pilot projects to provide proof of value and resolve
implementation challenges, and then a gradual expansion of projects to
all relevant client sites. Some clients will require a phased approach
to pilot projects – consolidation and analysis of existing facility
data to identify low-cost initial projects, implementation of sensors
to collect real-time building performance data, and then a full
optimization service. A phased implementation will help to better
manage costs and provide time for field technicians to adjust to new
processes and learn how to best use the system.
8. Secure early wins with trusted clients to build momentum around the new solutions.
success of any technology implementation program will hinge on building
trust and a sense of comfort in the technology with clients.
Implementing a project successfully and cost-effectively with a trusted
client is a good first step. Securing early project wins (i.e.
significant cost savings) will help to build client trust and project
momentum. An early win can be as simple as implementing a basic
building energy use monitoring program to identify abnormal spikes in
energy consumption. These programs can lead to quick optimization wins
by identifying abnormal automation programming such as too early or too
late HVAC start/stop times. These trusted clients can become
ambassadors for your optimization program and help to build trust with
other clients who will like to hear, from another building owner, how a
project has been successful.
As digital transformation reaches the commercial real estate sector, all players in the building ecosystem will need to devise new ways of working to harness technological innovation. Empowered by building optimization technology, building services firms can manage the risks and seize the opportunities of the future.
you know your services firm's current building optimization maturity
level? Find out how your firm stacks up against peers by taking the
Building Optimization Benchmark Assessment. The assessment is multiple
choice, takes 10 minutes, and your responses will be kept confidential.
Envizi is a market leader in data and analytics software for real estate. We put data to work, delivering the insights organizations need to optimize resource use across their property and facility portfolios. We help build sustainable businesses that are fit for the future and have a proven track record across more than 150 enterprise clients whose operations span over 90,000 locations in 112 countries. Learn more at envizi.com.
About the Author:
David Solsky, CEO and Co-Founder Envizi
passionate technology entrepreneur, David’s vision and leadership, have
helped drive Envizi to become a global market leader. Before launching
the company in 2008, David spent a decade in the IT industry as an
entrepreneur, building several successful companies in Australia and
New Zealand. Prior to this, David spent seven years in the Corporate
Finance and Assurance divisions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and this
experience helps ensure Envizi’s solutions meet the rigorous
information-integrity standards of the corporate sector. David plays a
key role in the ongoing design and evolution of Envizi’s technology
platform and oversees the development of the company’s global partner
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