The EU General Data Protection Regulation and why FMs are ‘best prepared’

Data collection objects expected to grow exponentially towards 2020

FM providers are already collecting vast amounts of data. The number of data collection objects that will form the Internet of things is expected to grow exponentially towards 2020. Cisco’s foresights expect that the number of connected objects will jump from 8.7 billion objects to 50 billion by 2020. Others place that figure much higher, reaching 2.8 trillion devices by 2019. ISS 2020 Vision: NWOW survey respondents continue to see the value of intelligent buildings for future development in the FM industry.



European Union General Data Protection Regulation and FMs

As the growth of data collection objects continues to grow, the EU Commission has initiated a pre-emptive process of reviewing the general EU legal framework on the protection of personal data, which has become a policy priority for 2015. With plans to unify data protection within the European Union (EU) with a single law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s important for FMs to understand that the objectives of the new rules is to give control back to citizens of their personal data as well as to simplify the regulatory environments for business.


However, according to the Facility Management Journal, a new survey by Crown Records Management completed by 200 IT decision makers within UK companies in April 2015 has revealed that “Facilities management professionals across the UK are some of the best prepared for the forthcoming European General Data Protection Regulation”.

In the same review, author Sarah O’Beirne showcases numbers from the report to illustrate how the new regulation would affect FMs:

  • The FM sector was one of the most aware, with 85 per cent of IT decision makers in the sector saying they knew about the forthcoming Regulation – only the legal profession (91 per cent) came out better. In insurance almost a third were totally unaware.
  • Six in 10 in the FM sector are already instigating a staff training programme to prepare for the new Regulation – the best figure for any sector. In the pharmaceutical sector it was just 33 per cent.
  • Not a single respondent in the FM sector said they would make no changes at all ahead of the new Regulation – 12 per cent in retail made this claim.
  • Four in 10 in the FM sector have already appointed a data protection officer, which could become compulsory for many companies once the new Regulation is in place. Only 24 per cent in retail could say the same.

The future of data and the FM sector

Therefore, while FMs are in the best position to be prepared for the new data regulations in the EU, it is important to continue to explore ways to improve data use within organizations. Participants at all three ISS 2020 Vision: NWOW workshops state that data collection is not the challenge. Instead, identifying the right data to collect and developing actionable decision-ready analysis are the challenges encountered. Companies are buried in data. McKinsey Global Institute notes that most companies do not have a data analytics strategy. “Accenture says only 22 per cent of companies are very satisfied with their analytics programs, 35 per cent are quite satisfied, and 34 per cent are dissatisfied. Only 39 per cent say the data they have are ‘relevant to the business strategy’.”

FM providers should expect a number of data management and analysis tools to make data easier to use. Such tools include: data visualization, expansion of dashboard interfaces, and a proliferation of augmented reality devices, to cite just a few.

Is your company currently drowning in data or have you considered the impacts of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation on your current data operations? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Source of this article comes from Facilities Management Journal’s post titled: “FM sector ‘best prepared’ for looming data protection regulation” and ISS’ New Ways of Working whitebook.