Facilities Managers have been ignored as a strategic resource for too long. But that's changing. How can we support them now to deliver more of the deep insight and results we need? What are the killer reporting dashboards that every facilities manager should have access to?

The last year's events have highlighted the role FM can play in advising on key strategic objectives like efficiency, productivity, and compliance. In the face of unprecedented workplace disruption, they have innovated and kept businesses turning over.

As a result, the C-Suite are tapping FM more and more for information and insight into other commercial and business-critical issues.  

Even so, without access to the right digital tools, FM will struggle to make their case. And all this hard-won influence might evaporate if they still lack the data to drive their decision making and prove their hunches.  

What are the three killer reports every FM needs?

We would argue there are three critical reporting dashboards you should be looking for in any CAFM, which will help you answer the strategic questions you need to improve performance.

Designed well, these reports will give you the necessary insight to help you manage your facilities operations at a strategic, data-driven level:

1. Work Order Demand Report

Even if you've got your work request and work order management flow under control you may still be lacking this critical data. You might have streamlined handling of requests through automated processes to ensure your SLAs are being met. But it doesn't necessarily mean you can see the bigger picture or identify emerging trends to protect your revenue and business. 

A Work Order Demand report aggregates data to show you:

  • Volume of requests over time
  • Where these requests are coming from 
  • Spend by category, contractor or site

It should be backed up with data visualisations and downloadable tables for manipulating the specific data.

This represents a rich source of commercial information, a way of understanding trends that may be signalling wider issues

  • Equipment degradation
  • Problems at specific locations
  • Equipment misuse

Taken together, the data could prevent catastrophic equipment failure or signal where more training is required - while helping you save money and compliance issues further down the line.

2. Service Performance Dashboard

How do you identify your most valuable contractors? How do you know which suppliers are delivering you the best value for money - and whose performance should be giving cause for concern. Without this data, you could seriously struggle to optimise your supplier strategy, but it is often among the most difficult of all FM data to collect and analyse.  

These reporting dashboards should provide the tools to analyse performance and trends over time:

  • Visualise how you and your suppliers are performing against targets
  • Aggregate SLA and KPI performance to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Ability to benchmark performance across suppliers
  • Recognise underperforming suppliers or resources
  • Analyse total spending by contractor

Key data that needs to be collected and aggregated by supplier includes

  • Time to Respond
  • Time to Attend
  • Time to Fix
  • First time fixes
  • Spend-per supplier

A good CAFM system will allow you to define targets, SLAs and KPIs for each supplier against these criteria, then access and visualise data to spot trends and potential problems. 

The dashboard can help identify performance issues to discuss with suppliers, keep a track of spending and direct more work to those who are delivering the best value.   

With this kind of data available in real-time, you can track progress over weeks, months and years. You can make evidence-based decisions to improve and tweak performance. 

3. Spend Report

Controlling and monitoring spend is notoriously hard to achieve when the digital tools you are using are fragmented and contain incomplete data. Your accounting software may record all your spending, but it may be impossible to interrogate, simply because it does not contain all the FM and work order related data points that will allow you to drill down effectively. 

A CAFM system can be the single source of truth when it comes to your supplier relationships, but the detail and quality of your spend reporting is one of the areas where you'll extract the most value from the system.

Spend reports should give you:

  • The ability to control all your costs and manage your budgets effectively
  • Visualise how much you are spending vs your budget
  • Breakdown spend by work order type or cost code 
  • Ability to make conscious decisions to manage your budget e.g. deferring non-essential work for later months

Insight is gained through granular reporting features and user friendly presentation;

  • Breakdown of work order accruals, committed and approved spend
  • Variance vs budget
  • Breakdown of spend by Category, Contractor and Site
  • Visual in graph format by financial period

What every reporting dashboard should provide

And it goes without saying that all of these reports need to be secure, but highly accessible. Having analysis and deep insight available at the touch of a button via your mobile or tablet device, will help you answer strategic questions at just the right moment.

In meetings with the board - or meetings with suppliers - it's critical to be able to pull down the detail to justify your decision-making or flag issues that need urgent attention.

Reports should be available in:

  • Real-time
  • As graphs, charts and tables
  • Using a mobile-first design
  • Data broken down by hour/day/month year
  • Sorted with multiple and configurable filters

If a key objective in investing in FM software is that you free up your time to focus on strategic development, then it will help if you can download customised data sets and visualisations to share with others in the business on demand.

The old story; garbage in, garbage out

But your reporting is only ever as good as the quality of the data you are using.

So, when you're thinking about what the ultimate 'killer dashboard' looks like you should also be thinking about how that data is generated and makes its way into your reports. 

  • Are there user-friendly mobile portals that help your contractors input accurate data in real-time?
  • Will all your internal team and contractors be sufficiently enthused and incentivised to use the tool and keep the system data up-to-date?
  • Does your FM software and your partner help you correctly, configure, label and upload your data when necessary?
  • Is all your data properly validated before being ported into your system?
  • Are you uploading required metadata with every import?

The reports your CAFM system generates need to be detailed, powerful and highly configurable. They need to be available at the touch of a button to help you make the right commercial decisions and make your case to other stakeholders. But they also need to be a complete and accurate vision of everything that is happening on the ground. Configuring powerful dashboards is one thing, filling them with meaningful data is another. You should make sure any FM software you procure helps you to do both.

How is the workplace & FM preparing for the future?


Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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