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Shifting to Intelligent Facilities Management: Pitfalls and Strategies

May 7, 2024
From Our CRE Service Delivery and Outsourcing Thought Leader Partner, EY. Intelligent facilities management (iFM) can enhance operations and workplace experiences. Successfully implementing iFM may pose challenges.

From Our CRE Service Delivery and Outsourcing Thought Leader Partner, EY


Intelligent facilities management (iFM) can enhance operations and workplace experiences. Successfully implementing iFM may pose challenges.

Key components of iFM

 At its core, iFM is about leveraging technology and data to make informed, proactive decisions about a building or real estate portfolio’s operations. It involves the integration of various systems, such as HVAC, lighting, security and occupancy sensors, into a centralized platform. This allows for real-time monitoring, analysis and control, enabling facilities managers to respond swiftly to changing conditions and optimize resource allocation.

 Additionally, iFM incorporates predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven insights and automation to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs. This same data and technology are now required to monitor, report and comply with recent regulatory requirements around sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs.

 Explore the tabs below to learn more about the differences between traditional facilities management (FM) and iFM.

Five pitfalls to avoid by taking key actions when transitioning to iFM

Recognizing the need for a more streamlined and responsive approach to FM, many companies have embarked on a journey toward digitizing their operations for the benefit of the workplace experience. By integrating innovative technology and advanced analytics, these companies hope to gain real-time insights into their facilities’ performance, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that can lead to increased operational efficiency, sustainability and cost savings.

But even companies with extensive resources and a firm commitment to embracing intelligent facilities have found that the transition can be difficult. The reasons vary, but our research finds that avoiding five common pitfalls is essential to transformation success. Leaders in iFM have succeeded by taking specific actions. Potential pitfalls and key strategies to address them are presented in the table below:

Top of EY chart of Potential pitfalls vs Key strategies to address the pitfallsPart 2 of EY chart

Why the transition to iFM is inevitable

Despite the challenges associated with iFM, the transition for most organizations is inevitable, given the evolution of technology and societal demands for efficiency and environmental consciousness. Benefits may include:

1. Enhanced operational efficiency:

iFM empowers facilities managers with a comprehensive view of building performance. Real-time data and analytics enable them to identify inefficiencies, optimize energy usage and proactively address maintenance needs. For example, predictive maintenance algorithms can detect equipment issues before they lead to costly breakdowns.

2. Improved occupant experience:

An intelligently managed facility can translate to a better experience for occupants. It can allow for the customization of environments based on user preferences, ensuring comfort and productivity. For instance, intelligent lighting and climate control systems can adjust settings according to actual occupancy patterns.

3. Cost savings and sustainability:

By enhancing resource allocation and energy usage, iFM can lead to substantial savings. Furthermore, it aligns with ESG goals by reducing environmental impact. For instance, intelligent building systems can dynamically adjust lighting and HVAC based on occupancy, significantly reducing energy consumption.

4. Data-driven decision-making:

iFM provides facilities managers with a wealth of data that can be leveraged for strategic decision-making. It enables trend analysis, performance benchmarking and scenario modeling, allowing for proactive planning and resource allocation.

5. Compliance and risk mitigation:

Intelligent facilities systems can facilitate compliance with regulatory standards and certifications. They provide tools for tracking and reporting on various aspects of building operations, ensuring adherence to industry-specific requirements.

Why some companies hesitate

Regardless of the compelling advantages of transitioning, some companies remain hesitant to take the plunge. One key reason is the perceived complexity of the transformation process. The integration of modern technologies and the reconfiguration of existing legacy systems can appear as a formidable task, leading organizations to postpone the move. Additionally, concerns about the initial investment required can be a deterrent, despite the potential for substantial long-term gains in efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

With a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of industry-specific challenges, the EY-Parthenon Corporate Real Estate Consulting team works in close collaboration with organizations of all types and sizes. We start by conducting a thorough assessment of your current operations, pinpointing the pain points and crafting a tailor-made roadmap for implementation. Through experience in technology integration, data analysis and procurement optimization, we help to make the transition seamless, cost-effective and aligned with your organization’s strategic vision.

Charting the course toward a transformed future

The journey toward iFM is not just a step forward – it is a leap into a future of enhanced efficiency, substantial cost savings and operational excellence. As industry pioneer Peter Drucker once stated, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Embracing this transition is not just about staying ahead of the curve; it is about future-proofing your operations and ensuring sustained growth in a rapidly changing business landscape. 

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.


iFM represents a pivotal shift in how organizations approach the management of their physical spaces. It is not merely a technological upgrade, but a strategic imperative that drives operational excellence, enhances occupant experiences and contributes to overall organizational success. With the right technology, experience and strategic advisors, organizations can unlock the full potential of this innovative approach and position themselves for a future of efficiency, sustainability and resilience.


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