“There are so many technologies that say they will make my buildings smarter and more efficient. Software platforms, dashboards, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, controls, BMS and BAS…With all these options, how do I know which ones actually work so I can choose the right solution for my business?” – Global Facilities Manager, Fortune 100 Financial Institution
In the second post of our three-part series, Broken buildings and the hierarchy of needs, we summarized the levels of operation building managers must ascend to achieve a fully actualized smart building program. We’d suggest it’s nearly impossible to focus on the top tier, Brand Reputation, without first ensuring fundamental needs like OPEX reduction are met. So, how can you select the right tools to empower your team today and set them up for success in the future? Here, we show you how to navigate broken buildings and find the best solution for your organization’s unique set of needs
Ask the right questions
Before you dive in to vetting vendors, it’s important to identify your short- and long-term program goals. Additionally, you’ll need a clear understanding of your portfolio’s strengths and limitations to help inform your strategy and prevent unnecessary roadblocks. In our e-book, Evaluation roadmap: How to choose the right smart building solution, we share an in-depth plan to guide you through strategy, design and implementation. Here’s a summary of the three elements to consider when mapping your journey through broken buildings and the path to success.
- What are your benchmarks and measures of program success?
- Who are the key stakeholders and how will they be impacted?
- How will you incorporate real-time business intelligence?
- What should reporting look like?
- How do tenant satisfaction and occupant comfort factor into your program?
- What IT guidelines and restrictions are there?
- How should your solution align with third-party vendors?
- How do metering, fault detection, controls, security and communications factor into your strategy?
- What systems and equipment are in your buildings today?
- What are your budgetary constraints?
- Who will manage current and future integrations?
- What is the project timing?
- How will end-users be trained?
- What are the integration roles and responsibilities of your team and external contractors?
- What are the integration points?
- How will data be tagged and filtered?
- What standardized naming conventions will you use?
For the full guide, download the free Evaluation Roadmap e-book.
Avoid buyer’s remorse
After you’ve considered your building needs, resources and goals, follow these tips to avoid buyer’s remorse down the road:
Configurable is better than custom
While a custom product may sound ideal, when it comes to software it’s particularly costly because the upfront implementation takes longer and you’ll have to spend again to pay for future feature updates. Opt for a configurable solution with standardized functionality that can scale to meet evolving business needs.
Phased integrations are more effective than multiple pilots
Using multiple pilots to compare solutions wastes valuable time and swamps teams with siloed projects that lack interoperability. Vendors typically have different value propositions and it’s tough to prove scalable ROI without a significant data set. Narrow down your vendors first, then select one to integrate a subset of representative buildings. You’ll gain an accurate representation of a portfolio-wide program that can be quickly replicated.
Consider tomorrow as well as today
Many companies are driven to pursue a smart building solution by a specific pain point. However, they also tend to have a long-term vision for a holistic smart building program with flexibility to evolve as basic operational needs are met. An ideal platform gives you the option to start simply with features like utility benchmarking to understand baseline energy consumption. Later, you can add more advanced elements like fault detection and diagnostics to identify valuable savings opportunities and/or command and control to manage building performance in real-time.
Broken buildings and the path to success
When it comes to broken buildings and the path to success, it’s critical to make a wise investment in the right technology to power your program. Follow these guidelines to get an apples-to-apples comparison of your options and know exactly what you’re getting. Ultimately, the only constant in real estate is change. While a good solution demonstrates immediate operational savings and ROI, a great solution continues to do so well into the future. Still not convinced? Take a look at the Evaluation Roadmap in Action and see how two companies embarked on very different building performance optimization journeys – with very different results.