What is The Cloud?

As a Facilities Manager you are unlikely to be involved in the IT conversations within your organisation; however of course there are exceptions. Regardless, many services managed by Facilities Management teams have an IT element which by its nature may have triggered the cloud conversation.

Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources as opposed to having local servers to manage applications. It uses an internet connection to securely transfer data to off-site servers which could be located anywhere is the world.

Why is it a big deal?

Cloud has a number of substantial benefits including:

  • Highly scalable – The ability to provision bandwidth up and down as required.
  • No investment – No upfront investment. You simply pay for what you use.
  • Automatic updates – Software updates can be performed automatically.
  • Competitive price point – due to scale of cloud providers.
  • Accessibility – Access your data and apps wherever you are in the world so long as you have an internet connection.

Barriers to cloud adoption

There are a few barriers to cloud implementation which may mean that an organisation remains committed to their own servers. The primary concern tends to be security and the potential loss of data. Second to that, some cloud providers may store data in geographic locations which do not offer the same protections the likes of the UK offers. A more intangible barrier is emotional attachment to IT infrastructure which has been built and maintained over a period of years.   

Cloud for FM

Cloud is becoming pervasive across FM and we are going to look at examples of its use or effect on a number of key areas.

Security

It is now possible to implement IP based surveillance cameras that can store video footage in the cloud. Multiple users can watch the same portion of video simultaneously, no matter where they are located globally.

Contract Management

There are a wide range of cloud based contract management systems such as Arriba, SAP, and many more. These systems can be accessed via the internet and all data such as the scanned contracts and renewal dates are stored in the cloud. 

Space

As the organisation consumes more cloud based services, the need for an onsite IT comms room may reduce. This may free up space within the building to be utilised for other purposes. 

In Summary

Whilst cloud might seem like something the IT team need to worry about, we hope you can see from the examples above that it is pervasive and will certainly offer benefits for those within the Facilities Management team.

Looking for more information on technology and how it can improve your Facilities Management process? Keep reading our blog. Why not also download our eBook resources while you’re here?

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