• 24 Mar.2021
  • 3 min read

CAFM Analytics and the missing platform of Knowledge management for CRE O&M teams

by Sumit Nawathe



Larry is a 27 year old technician who works in a prestigious office tower in Dubai. He and his colleague have been tasked to take care of the entire HVAC network at the facility. It’s a newly constructed site that holds numerous green building certificates. On his regular day, he follows his daily maintenance schedule which includes acting on maintenance tickets, monitoring the BMS data, correcting chiller sequencing, etc.  

On a one fine day, his colleague got a ticket for one of the AHUs at the site and he went on to check the cooling coil of the same. Since it was a reactive call from the tenant, he couldn’t get time to check AHU’s historical data on BMS or the maintenance audit trail from CMMS. Although he had a CMMS application on his mobile, it didn’t give him detailed information on the asset so he called Larry to get the specifics on the AHU. 

Post that call, the duo communicated the asset’s operational details and actionable steps over Whatsapp, their preferred messaging application, and concluded it by closing the maintenance ticket. 

Now, this behavior looks normal and very common among the O&M teams, but if we look closely, we can realize the lost opportunity there. 

Let’s think of this from the perspective of Information management, there are the only technicians who know what are the frequent issues they come across, which assets need special attention and maintenance patterns they require. Hence their experience is valuable, which has accumulated over the period of their tenure there, and now it has turned into a piece of knowledge. But will it stay with the facility forever? 

If we look at the entire scenario starting from how the information or data is monitored or accessed on BMS, How it is analyzed by systems or manual calculations on excel and then communicated or distributed over different mediums (WhatsApp, Email, Voice call or CAFM apps) to technicians and operators. 

  • We can observe there are a lot of processes that work as a black hole for insights and information.
  • There is no central repository to record & utilize information flow among the teammates. 
  • There are no ‘search cookies’ that have been saved when a technician assesses the BMS or CAFM dashboard.     
  • Teams can access the asset operational manual or best practices over the internet, but there is no in-house database of the same which can suggest the appropriate maintenance procedure when needed.

This can directly impact operational efficiency as it would take time and resources to relearn the nitty-gritty of the assets for new team members. We may not be able to quantify the loss of knowledge and its implication on cost savings at a particular site, but it can definitely streamline your operations and help you to improve on your margins. 

What can be done?

Of course, there is no exact solution available out there in the market hence we can only speculate on how the ideal solution would look like. 

Getting secured access to centralized CAFM data is easier now, running an independent application on top of the CAFM data via API transactions can give on-demand insights on multiple assets. This “middle layer” analytics application can have the capability to ingest data from CAFM, other data sources like BMS and Energy Monitoring Systems, IoT data, etc, and provide contextual & actionable insights to O&M teams.

This ‘Middle layer’ application essentially works as an on-demand system, where O&M engineers could potentially ask for information, data, and correlation for any asset using Natural Language processing. Over the period of time, as more queries have been generated, the system can learn and recommend an optimum solution to the operator to assist faster resolution and knowledge retention.

What else would you like to see in that application? How much will it help your FM team to streamline their work and preserve the insights? 

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