facilities manager with laptop on roof
By Brian Prendergast

Facilities management trends to watch in 2024

Innovative technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, were center stage in 2023, giving notice to many industries—including facilities management (FM)—that innovation and disruption travel in pairs. While the wider societal impact of AI is under discussion, its future looks promising for facilities management, especially in areas of sustainability, asset management, predictive maintenance, and capital replacement.

Business intelligence (BI) is continuing to advance and improve, enabling FM teams to make faster, more-informed decisions via high-level dashboards, analytics, insights, and prescriptive recommendations.

Technologies are enabling FM teams to do more with less and manage ever-growing work order volumes. In the coming year, such gains in efficiency and productivity will be needed to offset persistent FM problems of material and labor shortages and broken supply chains.

Here are the 2024 industry trends to watch from JLLT’s team of FM experts.

1. AI and machine learning will drive greater efficiency in facilities management

Just to level set, AI is a field of computer science associated with replicating human learning and problem solving. AI software and machines perform human-like tasks and learn from past experiences.

Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI and generates recommendations that get better over time as data is progressively added to the machine algorithm. ML enables data-driven FM decisions and, in facilities management, creates efficiencies by strategically allocating FM spend for maximum ROI.

Together, the two technologies process vast amounts of data, recognize trends, patterns, and outliers—like a spike in work order turnaround times. FM software powered by AI can automate time-consuming tasks with little to no human intervention, a welcome feature for understaffed FM teams. Repetitive tasks ready for software automation include:

  • Approving work orders
  • Approving vendor quotes
  • Setting up predictive maintenance
  • Analyzing FM spend

The result is a more efficient use of human resources along with time- and cost-savings and streamlined workflows. The automated self-monitoring of AI and machine learning frees up FM teams for higher priority work. AI insights enable teams to handle potential problems, like ordering replacement parts or equipment, before they grow in cost and complexity.

2. Predictive maintenance will generate greater asset uptime and efficiency

Predictive maintenance uses historical and real-time data from building systems, equipment, sensors, and usage to model asset failure before it occurs. More data to inform the model means more accurate estimates of potential failure.

When IoT sensor data is connected to an FM platform, like a computer maintenance management system (CMMS), the software automatically creates a work order and dispatches it to a designated service provider for repair or replacement.

IoT sensors track temperature, humidity, occupancy, foot traffic, refrigerant levels, vibration, water leaks, and more. Asset-heavy industries, like restaurant and grocery, use predictive maintenance to keep operations running smoothly by reducing the impact of equipment downtime on store revenue, customer experience, and business brand.

3. Facility managers will expect CMMS integrations with other technologies

Integrations are the number one topic of conversation at FM industry conferences. CMMS integrations focus on financial software, data management and BI systems, energy management systems, and larger proptech platforms, like ERP, CRM, and IWMS platforms.

Technology also drives integration requests. That’s because technology is now capable of quickly identifying adverse conditions that were largely undetectable in the past, like equipment failure, early-warning wear and tear on motors, engines, and compressors, refrigerant leaks, energy waste, etc. New access to operational data via innovative technologies enables FM teams to be far more proactive and forward-looking.

Professional FM software must include a flexible, open API for software integrations that generate time and cost savings and more efficient FM. Integrations with common business software programs facilitate financial and operational reporting up to the larger organization.

4. Look for CMMS to manage more critical environments

CMMS is expanding its support for critical environments, including data centers, laboratories, hospitals, electrical rooms, engine rooms, clean rooms, restaurant kitchens, or any area where compliance is crucial and downtime is unacceptable due to cost, safety, or impact on public health or trust.

Critical environments are often regulated by government agencies, placing an imperative on compliance.

Ensuring security and uptime has traditionally been the purview of operational management, which likely used reliability-centered maintenance or any variety of certifiable tactics to ensure compliant critical environments.

A CMMS with an open AI and flexible integrations with advanced technologies is well positioned to manage and report on critical environments. The pairing of a modern CMMS with strong asset management capabilities and environmental sensor data ensures greater uptime and extended asset life.

CMMS developers are already planning for critical environments by enabling the capture of data on rounds, inspections, incidents, and MOPs/SOPs, as well as the intelligence and analytics to make sense of it all.

5. The facilities management job role will continue to be in high demand

As technology blazes across many industries, including FM, disruption will be the new normal. Management will expect facility managers to be tech-savvy in order to capitalize on time- and cost-saving opportunities made possible with generative AI, business intelligence, and IoT.

The ever-expanding facility manager job role will grow even more in 2024, obliging FM professionals to keep up with the technologies changing the face of the FM industry. Facility managers should look for hands-on training and best practices from software providers and from colleagues presenting at industry conferences, which generally are more relevant and agile than, say, courses in higher education.

Record numbers of facility managers are taking retirement and exiting the FM workforce, causing an industry wide generational shift and leaving many FM teams understaffed. Meanwhile, work order volumes are returning to pre-pandemic levels, forcing teams to rely more heavily on technology, especially software automation, for keeping up with workloads.

Tech-savvy facility managers are in great demand because technology is enabling understaffed FM teams to be more productive. Younger members of the profession, often more comfortable with and interested in technology, should seize the opportunity to chart the trajectories of their own FM careers by becoming the FM technology experts of tomorrow.

Get smart about today’s FM trends and technologies

Discover what facility managers are prioritizing and what’s keeping them awake at night:
The State of Facilities Management 2023 Report

Get key insights from the 15 million work orders Corrigo processes annually:
On-demand Webinar: State of Facilities Management 2023: Exclusive Research Results

Predictive maintenance is poised to change FM forever. Here’s what you need to know:
On-demand Webinar: FM Trends to Watch: From Preventive to Predictive Maintenance