Connected FM

Data - The New Currency

Episode Summary

Today Dean Stanberry, IFMA's current Chair on the Global Board of Directors, sits down with Lisa Stanley, CEO of OSCRE International, and Matt Tucker, IFMA's Director of Research and the Professor of Workplace and Facilities Management at Liverpool John Moores University, discuss the significance of data. They highlight OSCRE's free and open access industry data model, emphasizing its role in addressing challenges like interoperability. They also discuss the importance of lifelong learning in navigating digital transformation, managing cybersecurity risks, and leveraging artificial intelligence. At the end they also share resources available to facility managers to help navigate and adapt to the changing digital landscape.

Episode Notes

Today Dean Stanberry, IFMA's current Chair on the Global Board of Directors, sits down with Lisa Stanley, CEO of OSCRE International, and Matt Tucker, IFMA's Director of Research and the Professor of Workplace and Facilities Management at Liverpool John Moores University, discuss the significance of data. They highlight OSCRE's free and open access industry data model, emphasizing its role in addressing challenges like interoperability. They also discuss the importance of lifelong learning in navigating digital transformation, managing cybersecurity risks, and leveraging artificial intelligence. At the end they also share resources available to facility managers to help navigate and adapt to the changing digital landscape.

Connect with Us:

Episode Transcription

Lisa Stanley: [00:00:00] Is we're looking at the advancement of artificial intelligence, for instance. There are some things that have not changed since the early date of computer technology. Garbage in still yields. Garbage out. So the importance of implementing a standardized approach to data is probably more telling than it's ever been.

Host: Welcome to Connected FM, a podcast connecting you to the latest insights, tools, and resources to help you succeed in facility management. This podcast is brought to you by IFMA, the leading professional association for facility managers. If you are ready to grow your network and advance in your career, go to IFMA.

org to get started. Today, Dean Stanberry, IFMA's current chair on the Global Board of Directors, sits down with Lisa Stanley, CEO of OSCRE International, and Matt Tucker, IFMA's Director of Research and the Professor of Workplace and Facilities [00:01:00] Management at Liverpool John Moores University. Together they discuss the significance of data and highlight OSCRE's free and open access industry data model emphasizing its role in addressing challenges like interoperability. They also discuss the importance of lifelong learning in navigating digital transformation, managing cybersecurity risks, and leveraging artificial intelligence. At the end of this discussion, they also share resources available to facility managers to help navigate and adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. Now, let's get into it.

Ad: Looking to step up your career game? Well, guess what? Facility Fusion is coming to Boston, Massachusetts from May 5 to 7. Facility Fusion is not just a conference. It's an immersive experience. Crafted for your personal and professional growth, whether you're a seasoned facility manager or just starting in the industry, facility fusion has something for [00:02:00] everyone.

Dive into engaging discussions, attend hands on workshops, and discover the latest trends that will shape the future of facility management. This is your perfect opportunity for networking with professionals in the industry and learning practical solutions to apply to your facilities. Lock in your spot now at

Dean Stanberry: I'm Dean Stanberry, Chair of IFMA's Global Board of Directors, and I'm excited to talk about today's topic. We've had a lot of information about digital transformation over the last 12 to 18 months, and we're going to dive into one of the more important factors, and that is data, and what is the importance of data.

Joining me today is Lisa Stanley, who is CEO of OSCRE International. And Matt Tucker, who is director of IFMA's research, and also has a little side job in [00:03:00] academia, and I'll let him explain that. So, Lisa, why don't you lead off and tell us a little bit more about your role at OSCRE and what OSCRE does.

Lisa Stanley: I'm happy to, Dean, and thanks for having me today. Oxford International is a non profit corporate member organization that is focused on the development of real estate data standards and support of their implementation. Our members include a variety of organizations. Corporate owners, occupiers, investment management firm, as well as what we call the external business partners who work with them.

So software developers, service providers, and of course, advisory groups as well. We are fortunate to be able to work collaboratively with, um, IFMA in development of standards, and we'll talk a little bit more about that in greater detail today.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you, Matt.

Matt Tucker: Thanks Dean, and thanks for having me. I'm really [00:04:00] privileged to be sharing it with Lisa as well, this experience.

So thanks for having me. Yeah, Matt Tucker, I'm director of research for, for FMAS. And as you said, Dean, my, my side hustle, if you like, I've worked for the last kind of 20 years in, in academia. I worked for a university in the UK called Liverpool John Moss University as a professor of workplace and facility management.

So yeah, FM is my bag. Uh, research is my bag, uh, and I'm really happy to be here and

Dean Stanberry: share my thoughts. And we're absolutely thrilled to have Matt as, as our director of research. And I was a little tongue in cheek about your side hustle there. You clearly have had a long and illustrious career in academia and uh, we're, we're taking advantage of that now.

So let's dive into the topic. So Lisa, you know, OSCRE has been developing an industry data model for a couple of decades now. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the industry data model and why that's important for commercial real estate?

Lisa Stanley: I'd be [00:05:00] happy to Dean. I think one of the most important things as we look at industry data models, it's to recognize that data is playing increasingly more critical role in the world of real estate and certainly in the world of facility managers.

Our industry data model is available with free and open access. over 150 use cases. And for those of you that may not be familiar with that term, use case, a use case basically identifies what is the problem we're trying to solve as it relates to this particular subject. And those use cases also come with several supporting schemas to aid in implementation.

The JSON schema as well as XML. And for those that are still working with Excel spreadsheets, Each of those use cases comes with an Excel spreadsheet download. As I said earlier, the industry data model is available with free and open [00:06:00] access through the OSCRE website. Um, we encourage people to explore it and see what aspects of it might be helpful for the challenges that they're addressing currently.

Dean Stanberry: So one of the challenges I have noted in the industry is sort of a lack of a common data model. So. We have lots of new tools that have emerged over the past few years, technology tools. And many of those tools have a real challenge when it comes to sharing information between them because they don't share common definitions.

Can you talk a little bit more about that interoperability and where OSCRE is trying to help with that?

Lisa Stanley: Interoperability, I think that's a word that strike fear and anxiety in the hearts of many of the people in the industry. Interoperability is the ability to exchange information across different platforms within organization.

And as many of the [00:07:00] people who I expect will be listening to this podcast know, it's rare And an organization would use one particular vendor, for instance, for all of their data needs. So, one of the challenges, daily challenges, is the collection of data across a variety of different platforms. Collect what we'll call disparate data.

Data that cannot easily communicate across these various platforms, which then requires human intervention. Individuals who pull the data from those various sources try to figure out a way to, I like to use the term, normalize the data and be able to effectively use it for a variety of different purposes for collection, for analysis, and certainly for reporting functions as well.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you. You know, facility managers are used to talking about performance standards. Those are very common, you know, rating systems that are out there. [00:08:00] And, but performance standards differ from data standards. Matt, do you have any thoughts on how we might connect the dots between this, you know, deep technical term called industry data model and what a typical FM might need to know about it in their daily life?

Matt Tucker: It's such a tricky one, isn't it? Because there's so many facets to this from your day to day FM. I think we have challenges in terms of digital maturity and there's, you know, a huge spectrum of. of differences there, you know, basic digital literacy through to how we can actually enable digitalization and digital transformation with our own roles.

And within the organizations we work in, I read something interesting. Well, it's a saying, which loads of people use now that data is the new oil. And I'm sure Lisa, you've heard that term, you know, oils. useful if it can be refined, [00:09:00] but if it's unrefined, you know, it can't really be used. So it's really trying to understand how FMs can really utilize the data that they have, changing it from just being data to data in practice.

Well, that's a really tough thing to do. And it's not just on the individual FM to be able to do that. I think an important aspect is when we're talking about data models, performance standards in what context. Are we, in what context is the FM working in? So, for example, are they looking at a whole life cycle perspective?

You know, are they involved in building development, construct from concept, construction through to the operations? In which case, you know, there's leads, there's All kinds of environmental standards, building information modeling, which, you know, the term interoperability is, is a contentious one. You've got people with single building operations.

So the O and M standards and performance standards that they're going to need to [00:10:00] achieve for a single building just to operate is huge. And then I suppose we've got the workplace or the real estate perspective. You know, how are we providing standards, which actually. Benefit our customers or our users off those spaces.

There's a tough one to answer. And I think the FM has a really tough role because depending on your position there, whether you're involved in the development of a building and its lifecycle, whether you're involved in a portfolio of buildings and you're trying to allow data to communicate across those buildings, or whether you're involved in that front face in workplace or workspace.

It's, it's really tricky.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you. So Lisa, you know, the OSCRE industry data model has evolved incrementally over what, 20 years now. So we want to talk about, you know, so how complete is the model, but also some of the newer items. So I've had the pleasure of participating on the most recent environmental data model [00:11:00] exercise, which was really driven by the explosion of interest in environmental, social and governance or ESG.

Which was the hot topic before AI sucked all the oxygen out of the room. So, but ESG has not gone away. It's still very much alive and well. And, and now how are we going to provide the data requirements for that? So when we talk about the, you know, the evolution of the model and where we are at the moment.

Lisa Stanley: Sure. So as you look at the industry data model, we go back to that use case example. One of the most important things I think to acknowledge is that there's a continuum, right? It's not just about the entire asset life cycle of a building starts in the development process and it's pulled through in the transfer over to operations management.

And then also as the building matures, we'll call that, towards what eventually [00:12:00] may be demise. So, the standards cover things like Base classification, base management, lease management, valuation, portfolio information exchange. So, and if you look at the development and standards and the evolution, I can't say how complete is it because I think as the industry evolves, one of the most important things is that the industry data model.

It evolves to adjust to those changes in the industry as well. Our most core project, as you mentioned, Dean, is, we'll call it the E of the ESG, the environmental color, which is absolutely focused on the building itself. And that environmental initiative is a three phase approach. We completed energy in Certainly, the project benefited from participation from Dean and other representatives from IFMA.

I think as you look forward to the next project, which is water, we [00:13:00] launched yesterday, it'll be followed by waste. And it's a result of a group of, I'll call them senior industry change leaders who came together in September of 2022 and said our need for environmental data. It's greater than it's ever been before.

We have more data collected, but the question becomes, what do we do with it to be able to effectively inform decision making, to increase transparency, and also to increase the integrity of the data? So organizations came together in a one day meeting and said, yes, we're willing to step forward and work in this environmental data standards initiative.

That first energy coconut was completed. In nine months, and I think that speaks extraordinarily for the commitment of volunteers who came together, including Dean, as well as the [00:14:00] project management team from OSCRE to keep things on track. One of the challenges, and this was the first standard actually that included, I'll call it high levels of interest from both the corporate real estate world, as well as the investment side of business as well.

And it is probably, I'd like to think, the first of a new age of approach to standards development so that individuals can have a higher level of confidence. And as we look at the various reporting platforms, certainly within organization, for corporate social responsibility reporting, on a variety of, we'll call them elective platforms, like That very much rely on the data that's collected at the facility level to be able to report.

And I think it's certainly worth noting that FMs have earned that seat at the table as [00:15:00] professionals and have a more compelling opportunity to participate in not just data collection, but being an integral part of building management and evaluating where the future. is in terms of data collection, data reporting, and forming those at the C Cleat level and other senior level managers of the importance of their role.

They know what the capabilities are of the systems that are in place. They also know where the gaps exist.

Dean Stanberry: Perfect. One last little point there, a major software provider recently adopted the OSCRE industry data model. For their products, can you discuss the significance of that development?

Lisa Stanley: I'd be happy to, um, the software company that you're talking about, I think we should name it MRI software.

And as many of you know, [00:16:00] MRI has been actively involved in acquiring other companies, typically as with any company that is acquiring another organization. It's because in the software world, because there's a gap in their existing product line. And what MRI realized is they were acquiring these companies was that it was no easier to exchange data after they'd acquire the company than it was before.

So they used the OSCRE industry data model would change data across those various platforms in a way they create a much better customer experience. But also I think is a tremendous testament to the value of Roscoe's industry data model in that data exchange for the industry, not just for today, but for the future as well.

Dean Stanberry: Very good. A term that I hear more and more of these days is an independent data layer. So [00:17:00] organizations and other companies who have, you know, multiple products. Are aggregating some of their, the data they must exchange into a sort of a common repository, if you will, or common source so that all of those tools go to the same well to get their data rather than each one trying to talk to each other database and things like that, which adds another layer of complexity.

Well, let's shift gears a little bit. So Matt, you know, digital transformation, I've said this, you know, commercial real estate slept through the first 30 years of digital transformation, woke up about five years ago, and there's some consequences to that, you know, the level of technology skills and experience across the board is, you know, questionable.

There are some good people, but you know, on average, it's relatively low. Can you talk about, uh, sort of the career implications for facility managers, the profession related to having to navigate, uh, and adopting digital [00:18:00] transformation? Yeah, sure. I

Matt Tucker: mean, I think it's worth pointing out first of all, from an EFMA point of view, there is a huge amount of resources available to facility managers and our members.

I like to think of Ithler almost like a knowledge ecosystem. So what we're trying to do is see how we can connect things that we do in terms of professional development for our members, in terms of the courses and the training that is offered, the research and benchmarking trends and reports that we can then utilize to find more future orientated work around those areas.

And also then disseminating that through our events like world workplace or facility fusion. I'm with that. I would say information management and technology management, it's, it's a key attribute for members. It's, we've just finished the latest, uh, IFMA association survey to all members, uh, information management and data management is in the top three [00:19:00] topics that members are interested in and it's always up there.

So when you talk about digital transformation, it's definitely something that FMs want to know about. And they keep wanting to learn more about, which suggests that. We're not quite there yet in terms of the level of expertise that people have, but also the fact that technology is evolving constantly, isn't it?

You know, what we say now, it's going to be replaced in the next three, six, 12 months by something new, probably. Like you said before, Dean, we were talking about ESG and within a breath, we're now talking about AI and what's going to be the next thing. But yeah, what can FMs do? We published a really nice digital transformation report last year, which is really useful for FMs to have a look at, which you can find on the research and benchmarking webpage.

I'm really, I'd say it looks at five key elements of digital transformation, which I think is really useful for FMs to think about. How does it fit your business model? So [00:20:00] where is the data coming from and why do you need that data? How's it influencing customer experience? So what data are we capturing on that front end?

What things are actually being used to enhance our customer experience and how is that managed? Then you've got the O& M, you've got the operations behind it, backend. We've got our employee experience mentioned PropTech before, you know, the workplace and the multiple ways in which we work now, there's a lot of data housed in that.

And then finally, what digital platforms are you using to kind of make all of that function? Are you looking at, which you mentioned Lisa, silo data platforms? Which don't really talk to each other and are not interoperable. Or if you put all your eggs in one basket and yeah, you're team Microsoft or team Apple or whatever it might be, which has loads of benefits to doing that.

But I think really we need to be recruiting talent as an organizational level, which understand digitalization [00:21:00] and we have digital experts in there. And I think. It's a talent pool, which FM organizations need to tap into more. And don't put all the reliance on your everyday FM to be able to deal with a lot of these.

These issues needs to be experts in there.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you for that. One of the things I've mentioned in some of my speeches is that, you know, many people graduated with a degree and they thought that degree was gonna carry 'em for 30 years. Those formal degrees don't have the same shelf life that that they used to.

And so. You know, if you're not continuing that, uh, educational and learning journey, you know, you become irrelevant, uh, because your information is out of date. You mentioned data is the new oil. The term I've used is I said, data is a new currency and data analytics is how you unlock its value. So regarding that, so Lisa, you know, OSCRE does have some educational content.

So if we don't produce all of this content, we depend on our. [00:22:00] Strategic partners for some of the specialized items. And so, uh, relative to data governance and management, what is OSCRE doing to help educate people on the, the human centered, I guess, components of what do we need to do in order to guarantee, you know, complete, accurate, and timely data.

Lisa Stanley: And it is certainly. A challenge across the entire real estate industry. It's not unique to FM's or to our organization. I think one of the most important things to recognize, as you said, Dean, is lifelong learning is the only approach that will enable individuals regardless of where they are in their career path to be able to continue to advance.

And by their increased knowledge, they have a greater contribution and therefore value to their respective organization. One of the things that's important as we look at collaboration is how can we, [00:23:00] as IFMA and OSCR, collaborate, create opportunities for making this information available. I will be co presenting with David Karpuk at Facility Fusion in May.

A session called ESG 2. 0 and beyond that kind of looks at how we have already evolved in what is increasingly a much more regulated environment and one that requires a variety of different reporting platforms and requirements, not just from a standpoint of looking at greenhouse gas emissions, for instance, but in looking at that, climate change.

Approach to data standardization that fits underneath the performance standards. We've also developed an energy data management certificate program, which includes 10, one hour on demand courses that helps people, I like to use the term upscale [00:24:00] to be able to address some of the challenges as it relates to the collection of energy data and reporting across the various different mandate and.

Elective platforms. And I think it's important to note that even as we look at on the investment side, uh, as reporting, which investment funds are doing, that's not a mandate, but there's certainly an awful lot of external pressure from the public, from stockholders to be able to demonstrate that operation have a high level of social responsibility, and there's an associated amount of corporate risk that's associated.

Uh, with that as well.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you. I think we're running out of time that we have, uh, allotted for this. So as we kind of wrap up some of the discussion, maybe we can talk a little bit about, you know, some of the resources, the takeaways for the audience. Matt, what are some things that you want the FMS to take away and what are some of those [00:25:00] resources that you were referencing?

Matt Tucker: I think a nice segue from what Lisa just mentioned about risk, we haven't really touched on that too much. And, you know, the way in which we keep our data private and protected, I think there's still a lot of work to be done. And a useful reference would be a recent research report, which we produced around managing managing digital risk.

It's crazy to think that the average cost of a single data breach is about 4. 35 million. So. We, we need to bear that in mind that there is so much data out there and we need to think, what am I doing with that data and what can I do with that data? And I think we're not quite there yet. We're pushing a lot of things out there through technology, which is fast pacing, it's making us more efficient.

It's making us more sustainable. It's making us more productive, but there's a huge risk there of cyber attacks and not just from an IT point of view, from an [00:26:00] OT point of view, from an operational technology point of view. Um, which is things like our HVAC systems, our elevators, et cetera. And if we miss manage the data from an OT perspective, physical assets are then going to misbehave, which can cause physical harm and death.

You know, in fact, that's the extent of it. So we. There's a lot of work still to be done, I think, around cybersecurity and digital, managing digital risks. I'd really advise members to, to have a look at that report, it's a really good one.

Lisa Stanley: And I think it's worth noting, Matt, that as we're looking at the advancement of artificial intelligence, for instance, there are some things that have not changed since the early days.

of computer technology, garbage in still yields garbage out. So the importance of implementing a standardized approach to data is probably [00:27:00] more compelling than it's ever been.

Dean Stanberry: Yeah. And since we mentioned AI, there's been a lot of discussion about, you know, what AI can do. And some people think that it's going to help them.

You know, in ways that it really can't. So AI is not going to take bad data and produce good business intelligence. And AI is also not going to fix your organizational problems. So if you're not organized well, if you don't have a good culture for adopting technology, AI is not going to fix any of that.

It won't fix your current bad data. It may help you in collecting higher quality data, but you can't just turn it loose and, and hope for the best. It's not going to fix it for you. Lisa, any other resources you want to mention, you know, the takeaways for the audience? Sure.

Lisa Stanley: Please take a look at the industry data model.

As I said, it's free and open access. You can use it internally within your organization as an end user. It's [00:28:00] available to use freely by, um, software developers and others in the industry. It certainly, I think it's important to note that OSCRE was in alignment with other standards like.

So it's not, I can only choose one path to go forward. It's looking at the variety of different standards that are available in their primary focus, like you could later to describe it, that enables you to be better stewards of the data that guides your business decision. And also, in terms of looking at education, we do monthly innovation forums that are available freely to people in the industry to be able to participate as well.

And we certainly appreciate the opportunity to continue to partner with IFMA and its members to meet the needs of the industry. Even as rapidly as they're [00:29:00] changing now.

Dean Stanberry: Thank you. So just to kind of wrap it up. So IFMA has actually produced about three useful reports freely available on our website.

Digital transformation was the probably the first one. Lots of good information. It was followed by cyber security, managing the cyber risk. And then most recently we produced a one called evolution is never finished. And that is examining all of the things that are reshaping commercial real estate in the FM profession and it's new skills and knowledge that are not represented today in our credentials or things.

This is new areas that are evolving. And we all continue to learn. I actually completed OSCRE's data governance certification program myself. And it was very helpful to kind of put that into context. Most people, you know, data governance is probably the highest level of, you know, policies and. [00:30:00] Processes that you put in place.

Data management is, is more about where the average person is going to interact with, you know, those kinds of standards and, and procedures that you'll learn what a data steward is versus a data custodian, um, and what their role is in the organization, even the, all of our, what we might consider the entry level or individual contributor roles.

A maintenance technician in the field is managing key elements of data because they're completing work orders. And those work orders, they need to have, you know, accurate labor time reported. They need to have accurate information about what was done in that maintenance, you know, so that we can reference that later, you know, how much time and how much material went into it.

That all goes into things like total cost of ownership. Those are all data driven exercises. And again, it all starts with who is controlling, who [00:31:00] puts the data in, and are they taking the right amount of care to make sure that it is complete, accurate, and timely. And with that, I want to thank Lisa and Matt for joining me this morning, um, you know, for this discussion.

I think this is one that we will be continuing. Over time, and OSCRE, you can find it OSCRE. org, OSCRE. org. Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed today's discussion.

Host: Thank you so much for listening. I hope you really enjoyed this episode. And as always, please don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast for more incredible content.