Harrison Briggs revisits the process that saw Churchill’s compliance management system win an i-FM technology award.
Compliance is a big concern for many businesses. It’s not just a legal issue, but a moral one too. Keeping people safe inside buildings can be a tricky task, especially when you have a large portfolio of sites to manage. It gets even trickier for smaller businesses that do not have the resource or access to technology to help keep on top of things. This is one of the reasons why Churchill developed Cati, an online building compliance management solution that helps to simplify and streamline building compliance at a cost everyone can afford. The product was recently recognised at i-FM’s Technology in FM awards, which took place at the Workplace Futures conference in London on February 5th.
Harrison Briggs, a key figure in Cati’s development, takes another look through the awards process, what’s next for Cati, and shares his thoughts on FM technology in general.
- What was the award that Cati won and why did it win (what criteria were you being judged against and how did Cati meet them)?
Cati won the ‘People & Technology’ category in the i-FM Technology in FM Awards. The category sought initiatives that augment the lives of frontline FM staff, enabling them to do a better job for their organisation. It also looked for initiatives that demonstrably benefit FM people. Throughout the judging process we set out to prove exactly this, showcasing how Cati is helping FMs and other responsible persons tasked with the role of managing building compliance. Judges were impressed with its ability to simplify the often complex task, as well as its ability to offer SMEs an affordable means of meeting their statutory obligations.
- What was the experience of entering an award like? What challenges did you face? Was the process what you expected?
It was a first for both James and I, and certainly an interesting and exciting experience! We made sure to quiz our peers on their ideas and past experiences, which would lend us an ‘upper hand’ in terms of submitting a successful entry. Our other main challenge was a result of Cati being a new product. Having launched in February 2018, we were under 12 months in at the start of the judging process. We therefore approached the award entry process with full honesty and transparency, using the success stories from our clients and reiterating to the judges that the product was at the beginning of its journey. Looking back now, I think this helped us to get across the message about Cati and how it was making a real difference.
- Has the experience of entering the awards taught you anything about the product that you didn’t expect?
Not so much anything we didn’t know, but it has reinforced our belief in Cati. We always knew we hadn’t invented anything ground breaking, or something that was going to send someone to the moon, but the award and judging process has cemented the fact that Cati is genuinely effective.
- How do you see the product developing over the next 12 months?
Shortly after Cati’s launch, we took the decision to draw a line in the sand regarding developments led by us, and instead decided to focus on client-led changes based on the feedback we received. This has served us well so far, and ensured we are continuing to develop Cati based on feedback from the end-user’s perspective and not solely what we assume to be a useful feature.
- What are your thoughts on the use of technology for FM?
Technology is completely changing how the industry operates. That said, I am a strong believer most of the time we shouldn’t simply replace people with technology. Instead it should play the role of ‘enhancer’ or ‘enabler’, helping people to improve and add value. People have a huge part to play, with some incredible skill sets to offer which most technology solutions couldn’t do on their own.
Technological advances are changing the way we imagine, plan, develop, use and manage facilities. For facility executives, this digital drive can be both daunting and inspiring, however when we put the tech and the people together, we have a powerhouse to deliver in FM.