What is a Decision Support System and Why Your O&M Team Needs One

Published on 23 May, 2023read time 8 mins
Man holding a tablet with a Decision Support System for O&M teams

Big or small, making the right decisions at the right time is essential for business success. Decisions are driven by the urge to address a challenge or seize an opportunity. To make well-informed decisions, it is crucial to collect the appropriate information and feedback from important stakeholders.

In today’s facility management and asset operations landscape, the vast majority of your business decisions should be supported by accurate metrics, building analytics, and insights pertaining to your goals and initiatives. Making decisions based on data can help your company grow and become more flexible in a market that is always changing.

However, in reality, even if you have access to tons of data, you could still struggle to make the best decision. Situations in the facility management business can change in the blink of an eye, leaving the workforce guessing the next course of action and costing your organization valuable hours and dollars in asset downtime, and hard-earned goodwill of your employees and tenants.

Existing BMS, CMMS, and other building or asset performance management software don’t drill down to the fact that the quality of decisions needs to be high if data is to be turned into favourable outcomes.

To help the workforce make smarter, more efficient, and data-driven decisions, progressive organizations, asset owners and managers have invested in a decision support system for enterprise asset management.

What is a decision support system?

Broadly speaking, a decision support system (DSS) is an interactive analytics software program that helps businesses make better decisions. Large volumes of data are analysed, compressed into and the best solutions are then presented to the users.

Operational applications like CMMS are built to simply record every aspect of your building operations and maintenance, including the information necessary to support your company's decision-making. These tools are good for planning maintenance and managing inventory, but have limited ability to drive real-time decisions and action.

In contrast to operational applications, decision support systems are informative applications. Users of informational apps receive pertinent data from a number of data sources to aid in making more informed decisions. New tools and processes allow for “active intelligence”, a state of continuous intelligence with an end-to-end analytics data pipeline delivering real-time, up-to-date information designed to trigger immediate insights and actions.

Decision support systems are used by organisations in a variety of industries and have diverse use cases like GPS routing, ERP dashboards, and medical decision making in healthcare (clinical decision support system).

Why do O&M teams need a decision support system?

A DSS is purpose-built for supporting specific decisions. Just like clinical decision support systems are used by healthcare practitioners to streamline the clinical workflow with automated alerts, condition-specific order sets, guidelines, and reminders for care providers, a decision support system for enterprise asset management enables O&M teams to make better decisions across the asset lifecycle and deliver exemplary asset performance.

O&M teams need to make important decisions throughout the asset lifecycle

The job of O&M teams is one that requires them to make important decisions on a day-to-day basis to keep asset operations costs to a minimum, and increase the availability, lifespan and return on investment of your assets.

O&M teams are being pushed to work in a data-first environment

For long, assets and facilities have been managed using methods disconnected from the world of data and technology. But things are changing now. The 3 golden goals of building owners, managers, tenants and other stakeholders - efficiency, reliability, and sustainability have fuelled the need for faster, data-driven decision making.

Data is now everywhere and O&M teams have to deal with tons of it before they can decide their next move. O&M teams have never been faced with the challenges of working in a data-first environment before, and it’s only going to get tougher from here as expectations rise further.

O&M teams and organizations face the risk of losing critical knowledge

Companies are looking at vast amounts of institutional knowledge walking out the door, as 60% of O&M workers are expected to leave their jobs in the next 5-7 years. O&M workers have developed an intricate familiarity with the physical workspace during their tenure, which is crucial to the success of your asset maintenance and management programs.

If your company doesn’t have a way to capture and preserve that knowledge, it’s limited to their minds only. This loss of expertise can quickly turn your facilities into unsafe, unhygienic and unproductive spaces.

O&M teams aren’t equipped with digital and data analytics skills

To make things worse, consider the fact that 70% of the O&M workforce does not have the training or expertise required to navigate data and technology that’s fast becoming a regular feature of today’s asset and facilities management landscape. Yet, they are expected to deliver results without any reliable framework or support system in place.

How does a decision support system benefit FM organizations, asset owners and O&M teams?

Knowledge retention and ongoing learning

One of the key components of a decision support system is the knowledge base. By allowing you to create a digital repository of your teams' knowledge, observations, and on-the-job experience, a decision support system promotes a culture of continuous learning, thus lowering the cost of additional training and upskilling for organizations.

Proactive, contextual decision making

With the help of contextual recommendations and on-demand assistance, O&M teams can transform difficult data into useful insights and eventually make proactive decisions. An O&M workforce empowered with the tools, resources and assistance needed to make proactive decisions across the asset lifecycle will help you achieve your asset management goals faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Collaboration and productivity

The power of collaboration within O&M teams - from engineers to technicians remains vastly underrated and underexplored. The user interface of a decision support system includes alert monitoring, performance dashboards, communication features, and easy navigation that help the end-user of a DSS to make the most of your facilities’ existing data collection and management systems.

Xempla is your Decision Support System for Enterprise Asset Management

Xempla as a decision support system for enterprise asset management is a perfect example of software that helps O&M teams with the right tools and assistance needed to make better decisions, faster. Powered by the DIIV framework, it enables you to identify inefficiencies, investigate their root cause and deliver action on the ground faster. It also augments the process of operations and maintenance for your workforce to get proactive and come up with more innovative solutions.

See how Xempla helped a leading healthcare FM services provider in The UK deliver uninterrupted patient treatment by making 20+ proactive interventions.

The world today is full of challenges and uncertainties for people who work in operations, maintenance, and enterprise asset management at large. And it’s going to be like that as far as we can see. Technology, automation, and digitalization advance by leaps and bounds, yet more often than not, it’s the people who fall behind.

Predicting the future is tough. But moving ahead of time and preparing your teams with the right tools and mindset can make it easier. Software built for O&M efficiency, knowledge retention, smarter decision making, and continuous learning will help you stay forever forward.

Ready to imagine and create the future you want?

Book a meeting with us today or get a product walkthrough to see how Xempla can benefit your organization.