By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Any job title containing the word “specialist” likely describes a position that’s in demand. A person specializing in a niche aspect or high-value area of a broader position distinguishes themselves as someone who will add value to an organization through focused expertise. In the world of workplace management, few positions demand the prestige of a CAFM specialist.

What is a CAFM specialist? It’s someone with significant experience and expert understanding of Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM). More than knowing a single specific platform or software, they have a full understanding of the complex hierarchy of digital building systems and how to manage them. They know workplaces in a digital sense.

As workplaces go digital, demand for CAFM experience grows exponentially. A person able to harness the power of a CAFM platform is better-equipped to help a business meet its operational goals through exceptional workplace management.

What does a CAFM specialist do?

A CAFM specialist has two roles. First, they oversee and maintain facilities. Second, they use digital workplace data insights to drive precise improvements. In a nutshell, a CAFM specialist needs the skills of a facilities manager and a workplace software expert. Other required skills include:

  • Previous AutoCAD or CAFM program experience
  • Experience working with building drawings/floor plans
  • Sensitivity to the needs of multiple stakeholders (employees, C-suite, vendors)
  • Procedural space planning experience
  • Ability to simultaneously manage multiple work streams
  • Ability to translate workplace needs into effective space planning
  • Analytical assessment and data interpretation skills

A CAFM specialist will take their experience with facility software and apply it to a deeper understanding of facilities management. Done right, the result can be anything from quantifiable workplace improvements to more confident, data-driven decision-making.

What are the benefits of CAFM?

CAFM software quantifies the workplace. A CAFM specialist interprets available data to make intelligent conclusions, which leads to more effective facilities management.

Consider a workplace redesign. A general facilities manager can quantify important variables and the available space. Then, she can formulate new layout that maximizes efficiency and space utilization. But can she quantify it? Are they able to iterate other floor plans and compare them? Maybe—but not with the quickness and insight of a CAFM specialist. What might take a general facility manager days or weeks to do, someone with CAFM experience can do in minutes or hours.

CAFM enables quicker, smarter workplace management. They make decisions that affect positive change and continuous improvement. In addition, there are cascading benefits resulting from proper CAFM deployment and use, including:

  • More efficient facilities management
  • Better organization of FM streams and duties
  • Asset lifecycle tracking insights
  • Facility metric tracking and reporting
  • Cost conservation across the workplace
  • Improved workplace project support

As the benefits compound, it becomes clearer why CAFM specialists are so in-demand.

At home in a digital ecosystem

What is CAFM without a robust network of connected apps and devices that are supported by automation? An unsung benefit of hiring a CAFM specialist is tapping into their knowledge of the digital workplace—everything feeding into the CAFM platform.

As a workplace explores the office IoT and cloud computing, workplace management will naturally trend digital. Each digital facet needs its own oversight. Tying them into a singular platform and bridging the digital workplace with the physical building opens the door to more complete workplace management. A CAFM platform is exactly what’s needed, and a specialist at the helm makes the digital transition smoother.

Adopting and integrating digital aspects also empowers a workplace manager to implement economies of scale. CAFM data modeling powers smarter business growth, particularly as it involves space and individual workstations. Measuring data, modeling growth, and pinpointing supporting technology are all required to meet the needs of an evolving workplace. They’re insights found in a CAFM solution.

Hire for the future

Companies hiring a workplace manager aren’t just looking for someone to maintain the status quo. Increasingly, they need someone to continuously streamline the workplace and plan for the future. And while a tenured workplace manager can certainly do the job, CAFM specialists are wanted for their digital experience.

As the movement to digitize the workplace grows, CAFM specialists bring increasingly important skills to the mix. Experienced workplace managers are wise to pursue formalized training with popular CAFM platforms and become educated on the digital side. Not only does it lead to a better understanding of new-age workplace management practices, it’ll likely lead to better employment under the title “CAFM Specialist.”

Keep reading: What’s the Difference: IWMS, CMMS, CAFM and EAM?