Small Data Facility Management

Small Data in Facility Management

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of Big Data, yet it may not be so easy to find someone who can clearly justify its use. In essence, it consists of collecting millions of pieces of data from different systems, processing them, combining them with other facts and obtaining relevant information with which to make decisions. It is used by Netflix to suggest to its 220 million subscribers what to watch, by political parties to optimise their election campaigns, or by Amazon to anticipate the type of orders it will receive from its 4 billion customers.

The handling of such a large amount of data and how it is combined makes it necessary to specifically manage this information in order to draw valid conclusions. If we now consider Facility Management, Big Data is less relevant since our scale of work is different. We do not have “millions of anything”; no users, no square metres, not even equipment.


We have been saying that Facility Management has more to do with individuals than with facilities for a long time. This was reflected in the drafting of ISO 41011, with “people” being the only word repeated twice in FM’s definition.  This justifies that people-centric FM models must ensure that they provide adequate support to their customers or users.

Meeting basic needs and demand for one-off services, understanding what is most important for one’s job, proposing alternative solutions or even monitoring individuals’ satisfaction can help predict what those individuals will demand and deliver it before it is required. Anticipating requirements can make an organisation more dynamic and productive, giving it the competitive edge that this entails.

Predictive approach

An office space user typically generates an average of 19 requests or incidents per year. This figure can soar to more than 40 in companies with a high level of what we will call servility. If the mere processing (opening, registering, assigning and closing) of each of the requests takes around one hour, one full-time resource in the support department is needed for every 100 employees. Although this data was gathered before the pandemic, it gives a sense of the “demand” that employees can generate and the cost of tending to them.

With a significant portion of the workforce working remotely, either part-time or full-time, what those people need from home must also be addressed. You soon realise if something is affecting productivity in the office, but if your employees are not close by, it is harder to understand the impact of a shortcoming or inconvenience. Investing in order to anticipate demand is more important than before, and involves processing only a small amount of data, albeit from a variety of sources and determinants. In any event, the focus should be on predicting rather than correcting, as costs and response times are much dearer than when everyone is located in the same place.

Data Management

The term “Small Data” was first coined in 2016 by writer Martin Lindstrom in his book “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Reveal Huge Trends”. The author chronicles his experience and explains the methodology he uses to make business model analyses based on direct contact with individual end consumers in their homes. This methodology makes it possible to identify decisive nuances that Big Data is not able to capture. Furthermore, the systems needed to work with Small Data models are much more affordable and accessible and are compatible with virtually any computer.

The architectures needed for analysis are relatively simple and do not require expert programmers or complex algorithms. Models can be independent and may address specific problems through the processing of specific data. It is not necessary to move the entire root data “gap”, which is very cumbersome to manage. Instead, models can focus on solving particular issues, including the amount of information needed at any given time, something of great importance when striving to meet the needs of the Facility Management world.

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Participate in the Observatorio FM

You can choose between these 3 options to participate:

How to participate?

Collaborating with the Observatorio FM is a personal and voluntary decision, and there is no contractual obligation or economic retribution for it.

Any interested person can apply to participate as a leader of a new project, or apply as a collaborator in an existing one.

A technical committee will evaluate the subject matter of the proposed projects and the applications of the participants, deciding which ones are carried out and by whom.

Each person decides how much they want to dedicate, depending on their availability or type of project. The aim is for it to be an altruistic activity and not an additional workload.

What does it consist of?

To promote and publish studies that help professionals in the sector and to help others understand our profession and discipline.

The results and deliverables are shared openly, always acknowledging the contributions of all authors and contributors.

The Observatorio FM’s activity will respect the objectivity, ethics, rigour and good practices that govern our Research area.

Contributors have access to the best collaborative tools, sectoral information and contacts, as well as the assistance of expert consultants and researchers at international level.


FM Observatory

FM Observatory is a platform which develops and disseminates Facility Management information. It’s accessible to all those who’d genuinely like to participate. Ethical use and objectivity are essential, and all results must be shared. You decide how long you devote to it and what you want to achieve.

You can participate as:

  • Leader: define the topic and coordinate the activity
  • Collaborator: help with development

We will provide:

  • Current situation and trends regarding the subject
  • Access to experts and advisers
  • Collaborative tools
  • Design assistance and dissemination platform

All contributions will be given credit in completed projects.



We are part of the European research group and we work in international teams to develop different types of initiatives:

  • Public financing
  • International bids

We also work for service providers who require support with decisions linked to:

  • Positioning
  • Product launches
  • Finding partners


As accredited experts in the drafting processes of European and International standards on Asset and Facility Management, we are the perfect partner to assist you with:

  • Standards alignment
  • Assistance with certification
  • Specialised training

FMHOUSE is the only Spanish-speaking consulting firm that participates in these processes.



At FMHOUSE we think that progress made in Facility Management should be shared, so we strive to produce and publish the following material:

  • National and international trends
  • Industry analyses
  • Market studies

The “FM Observatory” is open, should you like to contribute with a publication.



Our view of spaces or workplaces from a Facility Management perspective leads to a better understanding of such a need as a service, as it is essential to apply the same logic and methodology.

Generally we offer:

  • Assessment and optimisation
  • Design strategies
  • Solutions and scenarios
  • Wellbeing and productivity

We apply our knowledge and experience to offices, learning spaces, shopping centres and the industrial environment.



In order to make the right decisions, clear accurate market data as well as facts about the organisation itself is essential. In the Facility Management environment, this is even more critical due to the impact it has on business.

Examples of benchmarks:

  • Operating costs
  • Resource use/allocation
  • Audits and compliance assessment

These services are requested mainly by end users, but also by service providers.


Customer Experience

Facility Management’s overarching goal is customer satisfaction, whether they are internal or external. Understanding their feelings and needs is the key to offering a good service.

Our support is based on:

  • Satisfaction assessment
  • Customer perception
  • People-oriented models
  • Change management

We strive to understand and get to know our clients’ customers, in all sectors and types of businesses.


Digital Transformation

The Facility Management world is experiencing a major transition to digital environments. We help our clients understand how it impacts them and assist them throughout the change.

Our areas of support are:

  • Process digitization
  • Viability and integration
  • Digital culture
  • Technological response

We operate as independent advisers, not as brand vendors.

We advise end-users and service providers.

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Service Design

All kinds of companies need to define or improve the way in which it structures supporting activities provided by Facility Management.

Our main products are:

  • Status diagnostics
  • Service dimensioning
  • Grouping and models
  • Help with tenders
  • Assistance with implementation

Our proposals are structured according to individual requirements.

We help end customers and also service providers.

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