Strategic change and facilities management

Organisations face numerous challenges in their ownership and operation of facilities and must be able to manage the changes they bring. In a series of articles, we consider the responses that top management needs  to make to cope with change on a significant scale. Issues that must be considered if organisations are to achieve the level of performance required to compete in the markets of their choosing will be discussed.

Facilities management is intertwined with the business of organisations to an extent that they must be considered as part of, and not apart from, the business. They must also collectively support the business interests and needs of the organisation; moreover, in a growing number of cases, the organisation must anticipate changes and plan for them just like any other core function such as human resources and IT.

It is important to regard facilities management as a core function and to reject any notion of it as merely a support service. Without an anchor in the organisation at the highest of levels, facilities management will be regarded as an operational matter and one that is, therefore, reactive in nature. For those organisations in which asset management is a dominant function, the term facilities asset management might be more appropriate, thereby reinforcing their inter-relatedness and, equally, avoiding a fragmented approach to managing key resources.

The strategic importance of facilities management can be summarised quite simply – space, services and support – all are bound up in what it takes to run an organisation today. In the case of space, this covers the physical and virtual worlds in which the organisation operates.

Foresight and dynamic capabilities are central to our exploration of the current thinking and practices that shape the organisation mostly from within. In doing so, we shall challenge the long-held view of the organisation having to respond primarily to competitive forces, as though success is likely to come only when those forces are ruling in the organisation’s favour.

Organisations must reflect industry structure, and therefore abstractions of their competitors and markets, in their management processes. This is achieved by internalising these realities to become an integral part of decision-making which can be made to work in the organisation’s favour.

Framework for managing strategic change
Framework for managing strategic change

Foresight, particularly corporate foresight, and dynamic capabilities form the hub of our exploration in our next two articles. Later, we shall introduce two further dimensions that the organisation must master if it is to survive and thrive. These are strategic management and technological innovation. All four concepts are shown in the above figure.