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Q & A with Brandy Avery

Q. Can you explain the concept of integrated facility management (IFM)?

By definition, integrated facility management is the integrated management of multiple and interdisciplinary technologies, personnel, systems and processes. The goal behind facility management (FM) is to promote a safe, efficient and collaborative environment to meet and fulfill the key objectives and mission of an organization. Historically, this has meant that our work was primarily focused on the buildings themselves. In today’s world, as owners and occupiers see the strategic value facilities can bring to their guests and employees, the scope has expanded to not only include the facility, but the end user experience as well.

Q. How does reliability and asset management relate to IFM?

This fits the JLL IFM model encompassing buildings and asset management (hard services) and workplace and people (soft services). It also relates to ISO55001 asset management and ISO41001 facility management and how these standards can work together and not compete with each other. ISO55001 defines an asset as “anything that brings value to an organization” and is obviously very broad. ISO41001, while narrowing in on facility assets, is broader when it comes to adding soft service delivery.

I view asset management as a very critical element of FM. When it comes to reliability, the experts in asset management will say there is a big difference between “managing assets” and “asset management,” with the latter being more strategic and focused on delivering the expected outcomes. Reliability and asset management enable the FM mission by providing safe, secure, reliable, healthy and productive places to learn, live, work and play.

Q. How does leadership play a role in the effectiveness of IFM, that is, leadership from both the client and JLL?

Leadership is crucial to the effectiveness of IFM. In today’s work, IFM programs are often tied to some of our clients’ most strategic goals, specifically ones around talent attraction and retention. The most successful relationships are built on trust. Given the pace of change, we need to be able to move quickly to adapt to new situations with ease, together. A strong partnership at the leadership level paves the way for strong teams across the organization.

It is so important that leadership be aligned with clients on how existing IFM agreements support their core objectives (i.e., the AIM). It is equally important that our employees understand why the work they do is so critical to achieving that AIM. The more they buy into the “why,” the more successful the outcomes.

Q.How are artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) being applied to IFM?

Global IoT surveys reveal that FM professionals are most aware of the potential of the Internet of Things in relation to building automation, energy management, maintenance, security and physical access, and safety. Since IoT technologies are creating access to vast amounts of real-time data that connected devices generate, IFM teams have more information to make better workplace decisions.

While FMs intuitively understand the benefits of reduced maintenance costs and energy savings, there is additional opportunity to expand the IFM focus beyond buildings and assets to encompass the people inside, leveraging AI and IoT to improve the human experience in the workplace. For example, the ability to use data from an intelligent lighting system can show how many, how often and how long employees are using particular work spaces, providing valuable insights for space planning and workplace strategy. The IoT can also power workplace tools and amenities. Digital signage, wayfinding tools, wireless audio/visual systems and other connected devices can go a long way toward creating a more engaging and empowering experience for employees and helping end users feel engaged and fulfilled at work and, ultimately, happier and more productive.

Q.Where do you see IFM in five years?

I believe there will be a continued focus on the human experience and there is no doubt that owners will continue to invest in building automation, AI and IoT. While there will still be a mix of old and new technology, I expect that client expectations will be higher and it will be critical that FMs use the data collected to improve budgeting, planning and forecasting, and to identify new productivity and cost savings. Having a strategy for collecting, storing and using data will be an important part of IoT activation, planning and operations.

Q.You have over 20 years of experience in IFM. When you first transitioned into your current role, was there a colleague or mentor you worked with? How did this person prepare you?

In my current role as IFM director of deployment, the transition to JLL was one of the first and most critical client experiences. Joy Naseath, senior director, IFM operational excellence, has been a strong mentor and role model. Joy’s approach to everything is client first and empowering and supporting others to succeed for the benefit of JLL and its clients. I have known Joy for many years, from many accounts and, most recently, as part of the IFM service line platform. With each account, she has won over the most challenging of clients with her transparency and ability to bring vision and measurable outcomes to the table. Those around her experience her innate ability to pull people together and create a wave of energy to solve problems or improve service delivery processes and measurements for our accounts. She has been a huge source of support through the transformation of the IFM deployment team, first by pursuing the creation of baseline processes and tools that did not previously exist, then promoting collaboration, consistent delivery and empowering the team to own the deliverables for each transition.

Q.Within your organization, is there an individual that you would consider a leader?
Why? What qualities does this person possess?

Maureen Ehrenberg, FRICS, CRE, and president of global integrated facilities management at JLL, is a visionary at the forefront of change in the industry. It is her vision and passion that inspires me to want to make a difference for our clients and how we deliver service.

Q. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in recent years?

The pace of change. While we tend to think on a linear scale, technology continues to drive change at an exponential rate. This may require business processes to evolve quickly, requiring more focus on strategy and collaboration instead of just execution.

Q.What advice do you have for women or the next generation who choose technical careers? Do you have any strategies to share for advancement in this industry?

Stay current on technology advancements in your industry. Don’t be afraid to take risks based on facts and data and act early. If you wait until you’re 100 percent confident, you may never get anything done. Experiment more, plan less, but understand the risks and have a mitigation plan in place.

Q.What book would you recommend? What is on your reading list?

The Belief Economy: How to Give a Damn, Stop Selling, and Create Buy-In by David Baldwin; Generations: This History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 by William Strauss and Neil Howe; and Beyond the Fads: How Leaders Drive Change with Results by Ronald N. Ashkenas.

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