FM in the Cloud

Cloud computing is one of the most widely used buzzwords in the technology market place and businesses of every size are welcoming its flexibility. In return, they are benefitting from reduced costs, increased productivity and speed to market. Facilities Management software companies are encouraging their customers to embrace it, because the Cloud is changing the software delivery model to the benefit of the end user. Before buying into it, it’s important to cut through the hype and ask: what exactly are we getting for our money?
Cloud Computing is now becoming prevalent for everyday consumers, whether through Apple’s iCloud, use of social networks or shared software such as that available from Google. Recent hardware trends demonstrate how strongly the consumer market is influencing the way in which commercial organisations are adopting new technology. For example, Facilities Managers are now using iPads for logging reactive jobs as they walk around buildings while office based workers are sending maintenance jobs to field service engineers using the same or similar devices – technology they have at work because they are comfortable using it in everyday life. There is a similar and growing trend with Cloud computing. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, announced at its conference in January 2012 that 85 million customers have signed up to iCloud in just three months.
This paper introduces the concept of Cloud computing, outlines its history and explains where it is useful in terms of saving money and making organisations more productive. It also runs through the practicalities and some of the security concerns. It looks at some real-life scenarios demonstrating the benefits that many real organisations have gained through adopting this new technology.
Most importantly, it examines the relevance of the Cloud and the benefits that it brings to facilities management professionals, particularly in terms of changing their function from purely reactive to something more strategic, which has far-reaching benefits to the wider organisation. Used intelligently, Cloud computing can provide greater business agility and free up staff to become more productive and strategic.


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