How this Forward-thinking FM firm in UAE is redefining the growth strategy
(This article is an honest attempt from the FM Times Editorial team to explore and share success stories across the facility management community for collective learning and improvement of all. If at all anything is misinterpreted by us or left to mention the source, please point it out and write back to us)
In the last couple of months, I have been closely observing the facility management market in the Middle East. Changes that have been happening in the business models, service delivery mechanism, adoption of digital technology, and consumer-centric workplace design have already created a steady impression in the year 2021.
Facility management leaders are picking up with the growing competition and experimenting with service portfolios. They are not hesitating to experiment with new technology or applications rather they are empowering their associates to take such initiatives and get the fool in the door.
In one of my previous articles, I have pointed out key factors that are driving the growth of local FM in the UAE. But while learning about FM markets I realized that each FM firm has its own personality, its own way of doing business, creating impressions, and connecting with people. Now they have their own vision and mission statements but this is something beyond the written and stated value systems.
This persona or the image gets created every time you interact with one of the leaders from those FMs, whenever you come across their interviews or articles or read about their success stories on their websites. With all the information available in the public domain, you can get a sense of their aspirations, competencies, client management skills.
In this article, I am going to talk about one of those FM companies that are redefining the growth strategies for the mid-size FM companies in the UAE. I am going to explore some of the unique qualities, Eltizam Asset management group has embedded in its DNA, along its journey since its inception in 2009. I believe with the right strategy and work environment, some of the traits this firm exhibits can be developed and nurtured by other FM firms to strengthen their value proposition for the client.
Foresight in leadership
Whenever it comes to digital transformation we have seen there are two likely outcomes of such initiatives A) Process Efficiency B) Market Perception. While the perception of your investors, clients, and your stakeholders can give you more opportunities to be able to present your value proposition. It is the process efficiency and change management that makes the real on-ground savings.
Leaders around the world have taken one of the hardest tests of leadership in the last 18 months. when businesses were contemplating on possible effects of covid 19, visionary leaders were drafting their response mechanism to protect their people and services. For such leaders, Digital transformation strategy was well in place before the situation started demanding the one.
Eltizam initiated its flagship Business transformation program - Vision 21 in the year 2017. The aim was to create sustainable business growth through focusing on their people and processes, customer happiness, and ensuring efficiency in operations. The entire program divided into various workstreams, for example, Organizational development, technology, customer-centricity, and most importantly each stream has its own dedicated project leader to track the progress.
During this program, Eltizam has created its own tech team to lead its five-year ‘technology roadmap’, deployed its mobile maintenance solution, and worked with startups on creating customer-specific applications. As a result of those initiatives, they have also seen significant growth in revenue in the first quarter of 2021.
Right blend of Build Vs Buy strategy
For a Mid-sized FM creating a differentiator based on their solution offering or the technology, stack could be more challenging than the large-scale firms as they have limited resources to spend on R&D or applications trials.
However, finding the right blend of in-house development, outsourcing, and acquisition strategy can hello them win over legacy players. Last year Eltizam launched Omnius services - An end to end asset management services that undertake financial management, tenant relationship management, facilities services management, energy management, and portfolio insights and analytics. As a part of these services, they came up with energy management tools and a business intelligence platform to provide data-driven insights.
One more in-house developed app that needs to mention here is Tafawug GO, It is a maintenance mobility solution implemented by the subsidiary of Eltizam. It’s a work order management app to support technicians receive, carry out, and close work orders digitally, without the need to have face-to-face interaction with other staff.
To strengthen its asset management capabilities Eltizam, acquired the firm OrionTEK- an energy management solution company. With this acquisition, they are planning to leverage the next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) technology to improve their maintenance & energy management processes. Along with the OrionTEK they also acquired small-scale FM firm FIXIS to extend their services across the MENA region.
Eltizam’s strategy seems to be building on core competencies and niche areas and outsourcing or buying standardized applications that are responsible for building a basic data infrastructure. Of course, the acquisition is the easiest way to extend service offering with the proven solutions.
Regardless of technical advancements FM is and will remain the People driven industry for years to come. Hence it becomes imperative for them to master people management and it always starts with its employees.
Chris Roberts, CEO of Eltizam has stated in one of his interviews that the Customer experience and customer-facing technologies with shape the asset management industry in the near future. Technology can enable FM to service multiple tenants at a time but it’s the employees that can add the personal touch to every service.
Training and capacity building of its workforce has been a challenge for most of the conventional industries, upskilling their workforce and empowering them to make the most of available technology can always add great value to the service. Last year Eltizam launched a new program called ‘Get Wonkey’ for its employe, with this they wanted to promote positive work culture by focusing on six key areas: Technology, People Development, Corporate Social Responsibilities, Happiness, In-Country Value, and Vision 21.
Eltizam believes its people are the key assets that are why they focus on their Professional Development and Wellbeing. As a part of the program, they have also launched a training academy to encourage higher qualifications and certification.
Now that is the perspective/Image that I mentioned earlier, that is how they wanted to be remembered by their client and stakeholder, It’s the organizational personality to be wonky, to be creative in its own way. This is how they will differentiate their culture, value system, and their service offering.