FM through the years – FSI looks back at the last 30 years
06/03/20 | Rebecca Drewett
Facilities management is an industry that started from humble beginnings, where caretakers would be responsible for the day-to-day running and managing the issues of a single building. Globally, it’s now a billion-dollar, increasingly tech-led industry. FSI was formed at an exciting period for FM back in 1990, when the World Wide Web was just emerging and services such as space planning, property management and more were becoming embedded into the function of FM. While soft and hard services are still sometimes procured as single-service streams, FSI was pioneering the delivery of total facilities management from the moment of our inception. FSI's Head of Professional Services, Rob Stringer, looks back at the last 30 years of FM.
30 years ago, the technology at our disposal was incredibly restrictive, though at the time of course it felt very advanced. Little did we know the pace that the digital world would evolve at. We used to physically install hardware on floppy disks, taking planes, trains and any other means necessary to get our product to our clients. We would ship pre-built systems across the world. One system per building. No inter-site capability. No servers. And yet, we took our clients from using complicated and time-consuming spreadsheets, to – what was at the time – a modern CAFM system. And it was only the beginning.
We created a product called Concept 300, and later a stripped-back ‘100’ version for single buildings. Our clients included some of the biggest names in the world, many of which still remain to this day. We pushed automation further. Empowered workforces. Created workflow software. Rebuilt our entire offering into a web-based application in just a six-month period. We opened offices across the globe. We introduced Concept Evolution and we grew into a 200-strong team. The way the world works has changed constantly over the last 30 years and we have continually kept pace.
FSI has been successful because one thing remained constant throughout our progression – we understand how integral our clients are in shaping our products. We focus on how valuable the input of FMs and contractors – the people using our products every day – is in shaping its future. We have a dedicated ‘Knowledge Group’ team responsible for listening to and identifying changes in the industry. We act on their intelligence and collaboratively find new ways to develop amazing products.
With 80% of our work now carried out remotely, we believe facilities management services should be wholly aligned with wider business functions, and go to great lengths to ensure total workplace system integration. Since 1990, we don’t consider to have been selling a product or service, we have been helping companies invest in themselves, and the future of their people, places, buildings and data. As the world of FM becomes more intricate, we will continue to develop solutions that simplify the way people interact with their environment.
We expect to see much more work surrounding IoT, BIM and harnessing predictive data over the next couple of years, and we’re excited to see how far we will take smart buildings in the next 30 years.
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