Dependency modelling for facility management

Key to efficient and effective management of these are knowing which equipment and processes are critical, the associated operational risk factors and the interdependencies between different areas.

A dependency modelling system provides many advantages in the FM space:

  • Manage operational risk
  • Integration with other systems
  • Information and audit trails
  • Data centre infrastructure management
  • Planned preventative maintenance
  • Emergency, escalation and training procedures
  • Manage project risk
  • Identify operational efficiency improvements
  • Stronger relationships between client and service providers

Manage operational risk

A dependency modelling tool enables businesses to systematically identify and manage operational risk, including

The modelling process maps the dependencies and provides a visual model of the business process, highlighting the potential impact of disruption or crisis, in a single platform.

Integration with other systems

The FM Manager can add in data feeds from the building management system (BMS) and other Computer Aided Facilities Management systems (CAFM), as well as external sources, such as weather patterns and forecasts to schedule weather dependent work, for example.

The resulting management information can be used to track and report on a wide range of areas such as energy use and performance, tasks carried out behind the scenes that the business does not see but which can impact if not done well, and also to report on those activities that are successful but not publicised.

Information and audit trails

Operational risk dependency model is more than just the data – it’s also the information that comes out in a format that the business can easily use for analysis and benchmarking.

An audit trail allows the FM Manager to have at their fingertips details of who has done what and when and the current status, providing accountability and a central up-to-the-minute resource for the entire facility team, both in-house and service provider.

Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM)

DCIM is not just about integrating IT and business systems.  It is also about being able to have dependency modelling that adds the people element, the soft systems, into the equation, providing a very comprehensive understanding across the whole of the critical facility.

By integrating facilities management and IT, particularly in a data centre environment, the FM Manager can take advantage of many different benefits.  However, it is worth noting that a full DCIM implementation can be extremely costly, not just in terms of financial investment, but also the planning and time that are involved. They can often provide greater functionality than is actually needed.

If this is the case, there are systems such as Riskenomics, which may be able to provide comparable functionality that the business requires, but avoiding the need for that large scale intervention, by integrating live feeds from other systems and data from external systems and legacy systems, rather than having to start from scratch.


Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) systems may also be incorporated into dependency models for managing and reporting statutory compliance, to highlight areas of potential or actual operational risk.

Emergency, escalation and training

Dependency modelling can also be used by the FM Manager to understand and plan their emergency and escalation procedure.  A good dependency modelling system will include the ability to create scenarios and to undertake scenario planning. It should also be able to be used for training, so that people can practice and get a good, deep understanding of these procedures.

Project risk

Quite significantly, facilities managers are often involved in projects that take place within buildings and within critical facilities, such as data centres, which might incorporate the installation and commissioning of equipment and the business is going to require minimal, if no disruption as a result of this installation.

By planning and understanding the risks and the interdependencies, the FM Manager is better able to put a project plan together that will minimise this disruption and incorporate the requirements of the various third party providers, thus enhancing the FM Manager’s ability to bring the project in on time and on budget, without disruption to the business.

Identify efficiencies

That might be to look for efficiencies, for example, environmental efficiencies, fuel saving, energy saving etc., and also to be able to compare the potential cost saving of a new initiative by understanding what are the wider implications of implementing a cost saving scheme or an efficiency improvement scheme.

The Facility Manager who understands the interdependencies that implementation will have on other areas is able then to fully scope the impact and cost implementation across the business, compare that with the potential savings and make a recommendation to the organisation.  Should the change go ahead, dependency modelling will allow the FM Manager to engage the key project stakeholders, including those not immediately obvious.

Stronger relationships between client and service providers

Dependency modelling and operational risk systems provide joined up working between the building/facility team, the FM service provider and the building’s tenants.  This permits the planning and management of projects across the whole organisation and multiple tenants across all of the buildings and multiple sites. The dependency models can also be used to record and report on SLAs between the parties.

From a service provider perspective, the wider picture and the reporting that a good dependency management system managing operational risk provides is that it will allow the service provider to recommend efficiency savings to their client, manage their own performance well, both from an internal perspective and also to give a high level of service to their clients, benefitting both parties and supporting the contract renewal.

In conclusion

A good dependency modelling system will be accessible by all, easy to use, with quick and instant-to-see management information, such as the dashboards that we use in Riskenomics.  Also ease of input of data is important, making it straightforward and simple for people to be able to do on the ground for that information which needs manual inputting and it is as a result of this that Riskenomics is developing a number of systems that allow straightforward, quick and easy input of data from a range of mobile devices.