The rise of co-working, the growth of the building wellness movement, the increasing imperative to reduce building operating costs, and the pressure to provide buildings with strong green credentials are driving real estate owners to develop new approaches to the way they run their buildings. 

As demands increase, there is a tsunami of real estate and facilities technology entering the field designed to address the problems building owners are facing. Building owners are increasingly looking to their traditional partners, building services firms, for assistance to meet these evolving demands. The overall goal building owners are aiming to achieve is optimization of their buildings.

Building Optimization technology includes software and hardware to provide insights into building performance. Hardware, such as sensors and gateways, collects and communicates building performance data. Software monitors and analyzes this data to deliver actionable insights for service providers and building owners. Building Optimization technologies deliver insights that allow faults to be detected and addressed ahead of an asset failing, or conditions getting out of range, which helps to prevent comfort complaints and to improve energy efficiency.

Building services providers need to adapt to this changing environment, but are they? Envizi commissioned independent analyst firm Verdantix to research the current state of building optimization technology adoption in the building services sector in North America.

As part of that this research, we created the Building Optimization Maturity Model, which enables building services providers to identify their current maturity level and develop an appropriate strategy to future-proof their organization.

The Building Optimization Maturity Model

The Maturity Model provides a framework to evaluate your firm's current level of preparedness to transition to a technology-focused market. The Maturity Model is underpinned by seven components (use of data and analytics, BMS integration capability, internal IT systems capability, breadth of services, best practice operational framework, building optimization strategy, and IT security), which are assessed against four phases (Basic, Standard, Proactive and Innovative), to form the Building Optimization Maturity Curve:

The phases of the Building Optimization Maturity Curve are described below:

The Building Optimization Maturity Curve

If you'd like to assess your firm's building optimization maturity level, take our online assessment.

The seven components of the Building Optimization Maturity Model:

Use of Data and Analytics: Defined as the use of data and analytics to support building optimization services. Building optimization solutions are driven by data and the analytics applied to that data. It is with data and analytics that new
patterns and trends are identified, and for the more sophisticated analytics, actionable insights are produced that will lead to improved building performance.

BMS Integration Capability: This refers to the organization’s ability to deploy hardware or software integration solutions to
systematically capture and transmit Building Management System (BMS) data for use in analytical software tools. For many organizations, and particularly those in large buildings, the BMS is the primary tool controlling the performance of key energy consuming assets in the building. Without the capability to integrate effectively with these systems, services firms will struggle to efficiently roll-out enhancements to building operations.

Internal IT Systems Capability: This describes the organization’s access to software tools to assist staff in implementing building optimization strategies. This component forms the backbone to technology-driven building optimization
solutions and is a key requirement in establishing these services.

Breadth of Services: This model component is concerned with the ability of the organization to provide multiple
complementary services such as systems integration, energy management, maintenance management, capital planning support and project and portfolio management support - with adequate skills and resources to support each service line.

Best Practice Operational Framework: This component relates to the processes and workflows used by the organization to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of building optimization services. This component is important
for successful, reliable and efficient service delivery. This component of building optimization is important regardless of the level of focus on technology, but it is particularly critical as firms seek to establish customer momentum around new technology-driven building optimization solutions.

Building Optimization Strategy: This describes the organization’s objectives and plans to deliver efficient and effective services to improve the performance of buildings across a real estate portfolio. Since this maturity component sets the
overall direction and momentum of organizations, services firms will only make serious headway with technology-driven building optimization solutions if they bridge this gap in their strategy.

IT Security: This relates to the policies, technology and processes in place to reduce the risks of systems or data being
compromised in a way that may impact the operation of the building. The increased use of data to manage
buildings introduces new customer concerns around data security. To develop a successful building optimization solution suite, it is critical end customers have confidence in the security of their data.

The Building Optimization Benchmark

As part of our recent research report, we applied the Building Optimization Maturity Model to the services firms interviewed and established a benchmark for the industry to enable firms to assess their ranking against their peers:Building Optimization Benchmark

Key insights from the report

In summary, we found that:

  • The level of maturity of existing approaches to providing building services varies across the four phases of
    the model.
  • All firms recognize the gap between their current and target performance, and aspire to improve their
    capabilities across all seven components.
  • Maturity scores are highest across the breadth of services offered by firms – with many firms providing
    end-to-end construction, operation and maintenance services.
  • Maturity scores are lowest for the use of data and analytics to support field services.
  • The largest gap between current levels and target levels of maturity are in the use of data and analytics.
  • Services firms rank as proactive on BMS Integration Capability, which is an integral first step to developing
    deeper building optimization capabilities.

Take the Building Optimization Benchmark Assessment

If your building services firm has been hesitant to transition to a technology-focused market, now is the time to act. If you'd like to assess your firm's building optimization maturity level, take our online assessment. This tool will help your firm identify the components of building optimization to prioritize for improvement.

The digital era is transforming the face of business, redefining entire industries and making others obsolete. As digital transformation reaches the commercial real estate sector, all players in the building ecosystem will need to devise new ways of working to harness technological innovation. Empowered by building optimization technology, building services firms can manage the risks and seize the opportunities of the future.

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