Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) as a New Branch of Decision Making Support Technologies in the Field of Facility Management

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) as a New Branch of Decision Making Support Technologies in the Field of Facility Management

Thomas Madritsch (University for Applied Sciences, Kufstein Tirol, Austria and University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria), Michael May (University of Applied Sciences, FHTW, Germany), Herwig Ostermann (University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria) and Roland Staudinger (University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch010
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Nowadays facility management (FM) and real estate activities contribute to about 5-10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of advanced industrialized countries. For example the total value of FM activity including support services is about 8.2% UK GDP (Harris, 2002). Computer aided facility management (CAFM) software is a new class of information and communications technology (ICT) tools to support management in the preparation of relevant data in the decision making process especially in the area of illustration, evaluation, and control of relevant FM structures and processes. Recently, CAFM tools are developing from simple information systems to multifunctional decision support systems (DSSs) for private as well as public organizations. Until now however, little attention has been given to this relevant change in business and academic communities. At the same time numerous software systems with various systematic approaches, functions, and varying success have been established on the market. Despite the multitude of suppliers and users in the different branches uncertainty concerning the procedures and achievable effects still prevails. This is closely related to the lack of well-documented, transparent, and successful case studies. In addition, little is known about how CAFM can be implemented successfully and the factors leading to its sustainable success. From an economic point of view it is very important to support this process in order to avoid wrong decisions and unnecessary investment. In particular, implementation strategies and formulae for success are of great interest (May, 2002). The purpose of this chapter is to describe the relevance of CAFM as a decision support tool in the field of FM. The authors will illustrate the recent developments and market demands of FM and CAFM. The main part will provide an overview on the basic concept as well as building management, for example, CAFM and give detailed insight into the topic and how CAFM may serve as a DSS from an organizational perspective. The next part will introduce some examples of good practices. The chapter closes with an overview of future developments, trends, and research opportunities of CAFM as a decision support tool.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Facility: Facility is something that is built, installed, or established to serve a purpose (IFMA, 2007b).

Facility Management (FM): FM is an integrated process to support and improve the effectiveness of the primary activities of an organization by the management and delivery of agreed support services for the appropriate environment that is needed to achieve its changing objectives.

Building Management: Building management designates the administration from buildings and services to the support and improvement of the enterprise core processes. It is to ensure the task of the building management that everything is at the disposal for the co-workers, so that they can dedicate themselves fully and completely to their work. Building management extends from the lower level (e.g., caretaker at a school or a doorman) up to the complete support of all flow charts and holistic facility management.

Service Level Agreement (SLA): SLA is an agreement between the client/customer and the service provider on performance and conditions of facility services delivery.

Primary Activities: Primary activities are those that constitute the distinctive and indispensable competence of an organization in its value chain. The distinction between the primary activities and support services is decided by each organization individually; this distinction has to be continuously updated (European Committee for Standardization, 2006).

Building Automation: Building automation calls the whole of monitoring, regulation, controlling, and optimization mechanisms in buildings in the context of the technical FM.

Benchmarking: Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring products, services, and practices against the toughest competitors of those companies recognized as industry leaders (IFMA, 2007b).

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM): CAFM is an information technology system, which automates FM-specific tasks. CAFM is characterized usually by the fact that it unites drawing component (CAD) and alphanumeric data processing. The supply of decision relevant information about the facilities is the center of attention. CAFM provides decision makers with the ability to support the decision process.

Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM): CREM designates the success-oriented administration and marketing of corporate real estates.

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