“The difference in terms of your approach to digital transformation affects how successfully you are able to implement it, at what scale you are able to implement it, and the kind of benefits you can drive from it.”

- Umesh Bhutoria, Founder & CEO, Xempla

Episode Summary

Hey FM leaders! Are you 'being digital' or 'doing digital'? What's the difference? Inspired by a recent Mckinsey Inside the Strategy Room podcast episode, Umesh speaks about how most FM organizations are missing the digital agenda if they're just looking to tick use-case boxes without focusing on the larger outcomes. Umesh explains how being digital means imbibing it in your DNA and transforming how you run your organization from top to bottom. The difference in the approach itself can spell day-night gaps in how successfully you're able to implement digital transformation, the scale at which you can implement it, and the benefits you can drive from it. Tune in to discover more insights on goal setting, whether it's a good idea for FMs to develop their own software, and how your existing workforce needs help to really 'become' digital. Subscribe to our channel to stay abreast of our latest releases! Drop your views on this episode and connect with us on LinkedIn to join the Forever Forward movement!

Full Transcript

Hello everyone. How are you? Greetings from Manchester! I have been wanting to record this solo episode of the Forever Forward Podcast for quite some time now. I thought I'll be able to do in Dubai, but it didn't happen. But nonetheless, uh, getting this opportunity on a brilliant day when the weather is absolutely fantastic in Manchester. Uh, a few days back I heard a podcast by McKinsey. They have a show called Inside the Strategy Room, and they spoke about how a lot of organizations are missing the digital transformation, uh, sort of agenda by trying to do digital vs being digital in their own DNA and, and, and sort of missing their trick. And, and I couldn't help look at comparisons between and probably not comparisons, but trying to look at how a lot of FM companies who I've been interacting with or had the opportunity to interact with the leaders and managers across different geographies. How are they looking at, at, at the digital transformation and what are some of the things that they can pick it, pick up from that? So, I highly recommend anyone who's listening to this episode that please go and check out the link in the show note where we mentioned the link to the, uh, inside the Strategy Room podcast, which is what the inspiration of this particular episode is. So the entire idea, which I took from that particular podcast was that there's a difference between when you say that, Hey, we are gonna do digital and be digital which essentially means that you're really transforming your core. Uh, you know, your, your core, um, you know in that sense, you are basically, uh, changing the way you are gonna be doing business and which could be, which is probably the, the most important thing. And hence, it's important to. Think and be digital versus just saying that, Hey, we're gonna do digital and, and we'll cover with some of the examples that that come through. And, and what Mackenzie and, and some of the other guests on and author on those particular podcasts said that difference itself in, in terms of your approach to how you're looking at digital transformation makes a whole lot of difference between how successful you are able to implement it, at what scale you are able to implement it, and obviously the kind of benefits you, you, you sort of reap in, in, in that sense. the number one point that came through and, and which, which was there, which they mentioned is like the targets or in terms of the outcomes of the digital transformation are not being set audacious enough or big enough so that they come onto, they can come onto the CEO’S agenda. And when I look at from the FM perspective, I look at the same, you know, when you're trying to talk about IOT and, and all the other implementations that you're doing. you're really keeping it very vague. There is no idea in terms of what is the impact it's going to happen on the bottom line. What percentage improvement are you looking at? What percentage reduction are you looking at in your cost By when? Not specific enough and un until, unless that is specific enough. Um, it's will be going to be very difficult for it to come up on the CEO's agenda, or at least for that, or for the leadership to be, uh, sort of taking that very seriously. So the goals have to be audacious. They have to be really well thought after, you know, felt thought of. And obviously the agility needs to come every day in terms of how you are working towards it and ge getting better every day. But then those goals have to be really big, And the other important part, which is mentioned, uh, there is that it's important that you transform the core of your business. You start to look at saying, if we are doing things in a particular manner right now, how are we going to do that in a data first environment? So that's fundamentally very important. But also what is very important is that how are you looking at opportunities to add to your revenue. Now most of the FM companies, and again, I mean a by the way, a lot of the FM companies have not been able to even get close to predictably find, predictably finding a way in which all the endeavors they're doing could help them reduce the cost. Some of them are ahead, some of them are behind. , but it's still a fair journey that almost all FM companies have to cover. But more importantly, if while you are doing this journey, if people could start to think of how you're gonna add revenue, what kind of services can be introduced, new service line opportunities can be introduced, I think that's gonna be very significant. Consulting is definitely one of the things around energy, asset management, so on and so forth. And if you could do that, that's a clear. Sort of revenue expansion opportunity that is there. And, and by the way it's a related opportunity. So u fm companies know that one, you are actually into heart services engineering, know that. And, and that's where your overall expansion opportunity comes through. So that's where one of the point is a how is the you know, the strategy being driven, who's driving it? What are the goals? How soon or is, are there timelines fairly missing across all FM companies to be very fair? The other is that whichever FM company is really starting, uh, to do something around digital transformation. They're really taking a pilot or a POC based approach versus taking an enterprise based approach. I've said this time and again, the time to do pilots, proof of concepts as well, where a, you're not trying to prove a concept, I mean, Any technology that that would be implemented has been implemented elsewhere, whether you look at oil and gas, healthcare, automobile, so on and so forth, manufacturing to a very large extent. So what concept are you trying to really prove what you're trying to really get after is the fact that whether or not there is value of a particular technology being used in your case and what value does it derive or derive for your business. Now that's if you want to establish, make sense, but again, then you'll have to look at an enterprise based approach versus saying a use case based approach. So you're not delivered to say, Hey, we are gonna do condition based monitoring. We are looking at it and it really, uh, bizarre. Most of the RFPs that comes out that people are taking out FM companies. Because it is coming from, from it or teams which are not business focused. So your RFPs are clearly failure to very large extent because they talk about a set of dos and don'ts and say, you need to do this, this, this, this. But nothing speaks about the outcome. And you've got to focus on outcome. Like you can't have. Choose a partner on your digital transformation journey, especially as far as heart services and operations and maintenance is concerned just by saying that, Hey, I want a condition based monitoring platform or a condition based maintenance platform, or I want a predictive maintenance platform. Now, those are not how your outcomes are going to be driven. Your outcomes are going to be driven very clearly across two perspectives. One, how is your cost of delivering the kind of service gets down, how is your service level sort of increases, which means the quality of the services that you're delivering. And the third is the revenue increase opportunity. Now, unless that's happening, those outcomes are being spoken about in your meetings, in your strategy meetings, very less likely that you're gonna find any, any significant success. One that will be one that will allow you to differentiate with your sort of peer group. Otherwise, almost all companies are going to look absolutely the same as they have been looking right now. one of the other point was that was really striking is how do you build your IP? Now again, a lot of FM companies have gone back thinking that we can develop the software on our own. We can become an IT company, but I think there are some of them who could do really well when they say, You could still generate a lot of your IP around technology or a product that you're using, and that IP essentially has to be how are you leveraging technology? What's the domain understanding or layer or process you're bringing, which is going to differentiate you? Now, I don't think, I'm not like most of the FM companies who have been barring a, barring one or two have not been successful in pulling of you know, software development, putting it at scale, generating revenue from it and, and really doing it at scale where it can. I mean, I don't think, and so if FM companies with deep pockets can't do it, very less likely that the FM companies, which do not really have that DNA would be able to do it. I mean, I don't see that happening. And there were other couple of points that really came, came through is how do you make your existing Workforce achieves success. I mean, in terms of being digital and sort of getting the new hires, we haven't really seen a lot of work there, which is clearly going to happen because we know that the skills that are going to be required to function in a data first environment across the length and breadth of the organization is going to be very different. So if you're not providing them with the right set of tools, if you do not have the right set of frameworks in place, which can allow Some of the younger workforce to shine but do things differently all that is going to become very critical in terms of how you are sort of, uh, going ahead and, and being, I mean, how successful you eventually become. Uh, and, and also how sustainably successful you eventually become. Because there could be early goals that you might take or early, like those check boxes might be tick, but again, long term depends. Whether or not your workforce is really empowered as the right sort of tools to work in a data first environment. And again, one of the other, and probably the last point, uh, is that what percentage of your senior leadership is tech savvy? and honestly if most of the FM readers are gonna ask this question, how many FM managers, how many facility managers across my portfolio and sites are actually tech savvy? I mean, not tech savvy, meaning understanding, do they have an iPhone or like the latest gadgets, but really do they have the understanding of what a particular piece of technology could do or what it could mean for the way their contract is being operated the way their people are working and the higher the percentage of people you have in your organization the easier it becomes to sort of manoeuvre that strategy top to middle to bottom. Because there is a deep disconnect between the top management and the leadership and the, and the mid-level management in leadership, which is more like at the facility level because I, most of the facility managers really don't seem to care. So you now have three different pockets. Your top of the organization is thinking differently. Your middle level organization's really not concerned. bottom of the organization is actually where which is facing the burden of or the problem of being sort of between the two top and the middle. So I think that's particularly very important. We have seen in a lot of cases where organizations which have. uh, probably just expanded on their digital initiative on the back of IT team or the digital team or information technology team. Right? But at some point in time it's gone, it's gone back to hurt. The operations things haven't worked out. Your all of a sudden your, you know, your counterintuitively, your idea was to lower the cost, but you now have people like going here and there. No sync in terms of how the work orders are being managed, so on and so forth. So unless you are obviously having that strong sort of a little bit of, uh, ownership on the mid-level management which otherwise is going to really make things very difficult in terms of the FM companies being able to be digital versus just trying to do digital. And the last, kind of a recap again. that there has to be a business less transformation goal. This cannot be an initiative being spearheaded by all IT alone in it is. Or when I look at information technology, you know, the digital teams along with cybersecurity, all of them are definitely going to play a very important role. They're key stakeholders. But they're only enablers. the ownership has to come from the business. In any FM organization you've seen, we've, we've had number of, you know, if you look, look at a peer group where the initiatives have been driven by IT teams, it's not really gone the distance because they'll tick the boxes. They've made themselves look good. But at the end of the day, after a couple of years, the, the you know, the ops teams might as well come back and say, , really, what was the outcome of it? So it is really, really super duper important that FM companies go back, the leadership go back and say that, okay, we are gonna have a business led transformation. Clearly define the goals, the timelines, empower their, their workforce. top to middle to bottom of the workforce to be. Work in a data first environment, look at broader goals, which are not just cost reduction goal goals, but also revenue augmentation goals. And if all of these are in place and then a, that is when you probably will be able to take an enterprise wide view versus taking an use case by view. I mean, in my opinion, doing one or two proof of concepts, I mean, helps you take your innovation box, but really does nothing for your business. In the medium to long term. I mean, it adds no value. So, I mean, just thought that I'll sort of you know, speak about what I thought with some of the critical elements in terms of how FM companies, organizations can really be digital versus trying to do digital. Would love to know if you have any other thoughts, but certainly once again, Highly recommend that you all listen to the podcast by McKenzie, um, inside the strategy room where they speak about this art and I call it the art of some of the companies who are able to be digital versus just trying to do digital. Uh, thank you so much, uh, and, and as always, eager to listen to your views, perspectives and, um, in case if you or someone you. Could make for an excellent guest on the for, uh, forever Forward podcast. Please do let me know, or my team will be more than happy to reach out and, and have them as guest on our um, uh, on the future episodes. Once again, thank you so much. Take care.