What’s driving the future of FM? Talking technology with Bellrock CEO Paul Bean

How is technology shaping facilities management (FM) and what’s happening right now at the forefront of integration? Get the key messages from CEO Paul Bean’s interview with i-FM.

Paul Bean Talks to i-FM

All talk was on the topic of tech when Bellrock’s CEO sat down with i-FM in July. For Paul Bean, it’s an essential disruptive element, but it can’t stand alone. “It’s where we use our technology and FM capabilities together that we create the most impact,” he says.

This push for greater tech integration is something Paul’s championed his whole career. Back when he was in a senior operations role for a business in Asia, he helped to deploy its first digital solution to track financial and performance data. The system was such a success, it’s still in place within that business today.

Applying technology with creativity

It’s precisely Bellrock’s entrepreneurial use of technology that coaxed him on board as CEO. This approach lets us be more than an FM company. Paul speaks highly of Concerto as one standout example, giving customers a solid environment to store and interrogate data.

That sort of capability is key to our future growth, and we’re succeeding on a client-by-client basis. Now, the race is on to find one unified solution we can roll out for any and all clients. According to Paul, Those days will come, probably even faster than we might have assumed at the start of this year because of the way AI is developing. If you have an environment that you can attach a level of AI to, you can then do things 10 times faster than you could before. That’s going to have an impact.”

Bellrock is perfectly positioned to produce this kind of advanced solution. Few organisations possess all the component parts we offer, fewer still can unite those parts towards one common goal. But this huge scope of expertise under one roof comes with its own challenges.

Expressing who we are

Being able to do virtually anything within the FM space differentiates Bellrock as a brand. But our methodology and our products themselves need to stand out too. One way of communicating this value is through our work. A recent contract of over £20 million transformed a major UK operator’s business using our combined technology and FM services. Of course, there’s always more to do.

Regarding the way we position ourselves, Paul says, I view us as multi-channel. We probably get a broader perspective on our clients than some of our competitors. But it can be complicated trying to sell into organisations with different stakeholder groups that have different areas of interest. We have to try to knit the message together so that it touches all the stakeholders in the right way.

Decarbonisation is one area where we articulate this message perfectly. Making a business more sustainable can be tough when areas are isolated from one another. We can keep a whole decarbonisation project under one umbrella, something clients immediately appreciate.

A rosy future for the FM space

Despite living through turbulent times, signs point to growth for FM. Legislation encourages consulting work, while fierce competition in the software space drives the creation of better tools. Consultancy and software are two areas where Bellrock thrives.

This capability informs our ambitions: “We want to be one of those breakthrough companies that gets to bring the technology forward as the market changes. Much of that will be around transparency and visibility around real-time information that helps clients make better decisions.

Clients operate in dynamic environments, which means the FM sector has to be there with them. We can’t be lagging three or four months behind. Clients, I think, are going to be more and more pressurising their supply chains to be much more responsive, to support them in staying ahead of the curve.”

Data science and AI represent a promising future in that area. But once again, these solutions are of limited use without the right talent to deliver them. We’re betting on our expansive service offering, and our ability to combine services to best suit clients. Breaking down silos and freeing talented people to do their jobs is how we’re going to win.