Toggled, a wholly owned subsidiary of Altair involved in intelligent building management solutions, is selling a new product: Toggled iQ Analytics for analyzing building data. Fair enough, but immediately more interesting in some ways is an online survey the company commissioned.
There was a wish list of things that building owners and operators wanted to accomplish—reduce energy use, provide security monitoring, manage building safety, and monitor carbon emissions. And the survey showed 78% of respondents (474 respondent business owners and 31 facilities managers, with a 4-percentage point margin of error) having adopted smart building tech.
Now the interesting part: “Most respondents (94%) who have implemented smart building technology say their organization has invested in data analytics,” according to the write-up. “However, as many as 34% say they lack the talent and skills to integrate data science into their smart building platforms.”
That rough third admitting they lacked the talent and skills to integrate data science into the platforms are probably the truthful minority, with a significant portion of the remaining who also don’t know how to do it.
First, they would have to explain what integrating data science into the platforms actually meant. Second, they would further have to know how to parse the data coming out and then make valid conclusions from it. This sort of work is complicated and usually requires someone with deeper understandings of statistics and data analysis than typically found in most businesses.
Other data points: 55% of respondents said that “complexities around integrating smart technologies with their current infrastructure” were significant challenges. Another 38%, which might overlap with the 55%, lacked a “dedicated, knowledgeable staff to keep smart building tech running smoothly.”
All this comes together in a predictable way, as it has for technology in any industry for decades. There are three steps a business must take to make technology work for it. A company needs the technology. There must be people who can install and integrate the software and/or hardware with the rest of a company’s infrastructure and then maintain it. Finally, someone has to understand what the software offers from a business perspective and be capable to getting the value from what it does.
Either a business hits the trifecta or loses, because missing any one aspect dooms the prospects. The rates of IT project failure in studies are enormously high. Things don’t get done, they cost too much, people are resistant, and there’s no value gained.
As compelling as technology offerings may be in any industry, including CRE, having the right people is mandatory. Perhaps you conventionally hire them, get people who work for you adequately trained, or maybe you bring in contracted help to cover the personnel gaps. But when considering any technology aid, be sure to cover all the aspects. Otherwise, the risk is a significant waste of money and time.