Prabhu Ramachandran, the founder & CEO of Facilio Inc
With a career spanning over 18 years in IoT-based connected services, and sustainable building solutions, it was only natural to ask Prabhu Ramachandran about the sudden surge of interest in PropTech. The founder & CEO of Facilio Inc, an enterprise-wide platform for facilities O&M (Operations & Maintenance) across realestate portfolios, talks to CM today about the next step in this buzzing sector.
The industry's appetite for digital innovations and data-driven FM was already at an all-time high. In this interview we look at the way facilio has optimized cre operations and tackle the challenges faced in operating a large building portfolio.
The pandemic has paved the way for technology in the property sector. What is the next step for the PropTech industry now?
A crisis often accelerates the adoption of innovation. The expansion of PropTech solutions has close parallels to the restructuring that one saw post the global economic downturn in 2008. Much of the boom in Fintech came in the aftermath of that crisis, which accelerated digital transformation and the widespread adoption of new technologies.
There is a need for proactive innovation in the CRE industry, because of heightened compliance requirements, tighter margins, and the desire to increase transparency into operations. The immediate emphasis, in the ‘new normal’, is on addressing occupant safety. The crisis has also increased a focus on process efficiencies. Optimizing returns on operating costs and ensuring time efficient outcomes is a key area of focus.
How has your perspective changed towards the scope of technology?
The vision that drove Facilio was to optimize CRE operations and tackle the challenges faced in operating a large building portfolio. The industry's appetite for digital innovations and datadriven FM was already at an all-time high.
The average CRE business implemented unprecedented hygiene standards, frequent deep cleaning, and sanitization, highly optimized IAQ, and touchless technologies for tenants to use building facilities. Customer engagement apps, remote working capabilities, and digitized visitor management have also needed to be upgraded to sophisticated standards. In response to these challenges, Facilio launched REbuild, a ready-to-deploy operations toolkit to help owners restart operations with confidence, and re-align operations for the long term. We are aware of how critical the recovery phase is for the industry and are engaged in helping businesses operate with agility and make data-driven decisions.
What are some of the challenges faced by the FM operators now? How has Facilio addressed those challenges for them?
Safety of occupants and onsite staff is important. However, there are equally challenging secondary considerations. Ensuring continuity and consistent quality of FM services during the crisis poses its own set of challenges. Optimizing limited workforces, as well as staff working from remote locations, has been a big part of the adjustment made by CRE businesses.
There is also a need to prioritize complaints from clients, due to new requirements and disruption in existing operational models. As a technology partner, Facilio is helping FM service providers adapt to these new standards and modernize their service delivery, with data-driven transparency and agile operations. Facilio continues to see its role as empowering the industry to be data-driven and agile. With Facilio, FMs can launch new services and adopt new SOPs with ease.
Facilio achieved a frictionless customer service for Quality Group. Can you elaborate on what approach did Facilio take to achieve this?
The Facilio solution allows the error-free delivery of and proactive FM services, at the portfolio- scale. The key enhancement we delivered to the FM operations of the Quality Group was by giving them unprecedented transparency and visibility into workforce performance, client escalations, and overall operations. The ability to make informed decisions, communicate transparently with clients, and adapt to new SOPs during the outbreak proved to be effective.
Together with the Quality Group team, we were able to deploy a module for managing sanitization activities. We also set up an intuitive and interactive shareable dashboard, through which they were able to deepen their engagement with their clients and vendors. The team was able to optimize their asset management, planned and unplanned maintenance, and service request management to such an extent that, despite the crisis, they experienced an 83% reduction in escalation across their portfolio.
The frictionless customer experiences that the Quality Group has been able to deliver have been a key differentiator for their brand, during the crisis. We were able to enhance the ability of their managers to identify SLA breaches, track staff productivity, and own escalations. Within 4 months of using the Facilio platform, the Quality Group was able to offer their tenants digitized quotations, ensuring greater cost transparency.
Customer engagement has always been a key goal for most service providers. What kind of future do you see for it?
The customer is empowered by technology, market access, and a personalized set of expectations. The standard of customer experience entails the creation of spaces where a building occupant feels fully in control of their environment. Safety and wellbeing are at the top of their agenda. The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for enterprises to expand the deployment of appropriate tech solutions. When we emerge on the other side of this crisis, the market will be rewarding towards those who invested and continued to build innovation competencies through the downturn.