Five Questions to Ask When Considering a Single Data Management Platform


Creating the right environment across multiple buildings and geographical locations can be a challenge for your facilities management team. A single data and management platform offering a multibuilding dashboard can help.

Use these five questions as your guide to selecting a system that best meets the timeline, the budget and the performance requirements of your enterprise or campus.   


  1. How can a data and management platform help you make the most of available building information?

A smart building solution should take advantage of connected systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) to most effectively collect and aggregate system data to help deliver a high-performance environment for the people in the space. The platform you choose should address three performance categories:

  • Help decrease energy consumption without sacrificing occupant comfort;
  • Support reduction of real estate costs by delivering advanced insights about current space utilization; and
  • Empower a human-centric space that is comfortable, and therefore more productive.


  1. What should you look for in a single-platform, multibuilding dashboard?

Identifying the control solution in an individual building or space can be daunting, and these complexities are magnified when you need to go beyond a single building.  

Look for a solution that is flexible enough to meet the needs of older or historic buildings, new buildings, future buildings, garages and even exterior spaces you want to control under a single software umbrella.

The ideal data and management platform will provide comprehensive, actionable data accessible from a simple-to-use, intuitive graphic user interface. Again, flexibility is often critical. While it may make sense to access data on a PC or laptop computer, your facilities team may also need the freedom to monitor, manage and adjust system settings from anywhere in the space—or even offsite—from a tablet or other smart device.

Information needs to be easy to view and understand by the facilities team, building owner or space tenant; easy to compare across systems; and easy to share with other buildings systems to make the most of available data.


  1. What features are essential for an effective system interface?

The advantage of smart systems is the ability to quickly compare and aggregate information—such as energy use—across buildings to identify the greatest opportunities for adjustments that improve the space and help your team make informed decisions about both existing real estate and future real estate acquisitions.

For example, occupancy data can improve space utilization—identify where conference rooms are frequently overbooked, where office space is underutilized and where you need additional capacity.

An intuitive user experience is essential for the facilities team that is frequently called upon to train and update employees in the event of turnover, special event staffing requirements or other changes to the building or campus staff. A networked system is only as good as your team’s ability to quickly and easily navigate through software to make appropriate adjustments.


  1. How can platform-generated reports help optimize space utilization?

Reports allow facility teams to understand when and how often spaces are occupied. It becomes easier to maximize the efficient use of existing floor space by repurposing unused spaces and facilitating smarter decisions on the types of spaces to add when expanding or repurposing building real estate.

For day-to-day maintenance and operations, data can improve the efficiency of the building cleaning and maintenance staff by scheduling activities during times of low occupancy or identifying situations where the occupancy pattern has changed—permanently or temporarily.

From a single screen, you can track the percentage of areas that are currently occupied, view occupancy history using charts and bar graphs, create custom occupancy history reports for selected areas and filter data by working hours or non-working hours across your entire enterprise to improve planning and workflow.


  1. How does a single data and management platform help to improve the occupant experience?

We all relate to the adage that time is money. Proactive system alerts such as bulb failures and low battery warnings allow the facilities team to address issues before they become costly barriers to productivity and comfort. Software can also offer floor plan-based navigation and intuitive search, enabling quick responses to specific employee or occupant requests, and making it easier to override schedules, or adjust the behaviour of automated shades, to accommodate a special event.

Information is power in the quest to find that significant competitive edge to differentiate your smart enterprise. The system should be flexible enough to allow the facility manager to help building occupants without having to be a software expert. 

Simplifying the user experience by aggregating data on a single platform saves time and money, improves efficiency and creates an enterprise that better meets the needs of your most important asset—the people in the space.

About the Author
Kendell Clark
is a commercial product manager for Lutron Electronics.