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Embracing Hosted Environments for Enhanced Facilities Management

Randy Walsh

Randy Walsh

In the realm of education, the efficient management of facilities is paramount to ensure a conducive learning environment. As universities grow increasingly reliant on sophisticated software systems to manage their facilities, from planned/reactive maintenance management, space utilization, capital renewal, construction management, and energy management, the challenges of maintaining these systems have become more acute. If not addressed proactively, these challenges can lead to increased operational costs, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and a diversion of resources from the core mission of education and research. 


The Necessity of Proactive Facilities Management Software Maintenance

MicrosoftTeams-image (5)Educational facilities management teams often choose between delivering an exceptional on-campus experience and maintaining the underlying software systems. Neglecting either can result in cybersecurity risks and the accumulation of technical debt. Proactive maintenance of these systems is crucial. It involves regular updates, security patching, and optimization to ensure the smooth running of facilities management operations. Designating dedicated system owners for major facilities management software can significantly enhance the effectiveness of these systems.


The Shift to Hosted and Managed Facilities Management Software Services

Hosted and managed software services represent a transformative solution for educational institutions. By entrusting the day-to-day operational aspects of facilities management software to specialized service providers, institutions can focus on strategic initiatives that directly enhance the student and faculty experience. These services ensure that software is always up-to-date, secure, and operating at peak efficiency, relieving the internal IT staff of routine maintenance burdens. 


Learning from Cybersecurity Incidents to Become Proactive 

MicrosoftTeams-image (6)Organizations across various sectors tend to adopt a reactive approach to cybersecurity, a trend that emerges across different operational domains. This reactive posture typically becomes evident in the wake of significant security incidents, leading to hurried and often costly initiatives to revamp IT practices. Embracing a proactive approach, characterized by regular software updates and considering a shift to hosted environments, can significantly mitigate these risks and prevent the need for such expensive, reactive strategies. This proactive mindset is essential not only for maintaining security but also for ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the organization's diverse functions.



A Proactive Roadmap for Facilities Management in Education

To safeguard their digital ecosystems, universities must take a proactive approach to software maintenance, avoiding the pitfalls of reactive management. Some ways to prepare your teams include (but are not limited to):  

  1. Designate System Owners: Assign dedicated owners for each critical facilities management system to ensure proactive maintenance and optimization. 
  2. Adopt Hosted and Managed Software Services: Transition to hosted services for facilities management software to improve security, reduce operational burden, and enhance system performance. 
  3. Implement Preemptive Strategies: Learn from the industry trends and adopt proactive cybersecurity and maintenance strategies to avoid being caught off-guard by cyber incidents. 
  4. Prioritize Maintenance in Strategic Planning: Elevate the role of software maintenance in the institution's strategic planning to support the delivery of top-tier educational experiences. 
  5. Cultivate Cybersecurity Awareness: Foster an institutional culture that values regular system updates and good cybersecurity practices in facilities management. 


By adopting these proactive strategies, institutions can ensure that their facilities management systems are not only secure and efficient but also aligned with their educational goals. This shift towards hosted and managed environments represents a strategic investment in the institution's operational and academic future, leading to increased operational efficiency and a better educational experience.