Rowlett Lecture

Current Research

The mission of the CRS Center is to create useful knowledge in leadership and management that applies to both individual projects as well as firms and organizations in the design, construction and facility management industry.

This section of our website will introduce you to the kinds of research that are currently underway. Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

Research: IT and Facility Management Practices

Problem Statement

Information technology is no longer just a tool to incrementally improve "back-office" productivity. Information technology has become a strategic necessity because it has the potential for substantially altering the basic economics facility management organizations by:

Providing enabling technology, which empowers employees to become knowledge workers;

Improving the collaboration and effectiveness of project teams that are dispersed in space and time;

Supporting the transformation of hierarchical companies into flattened "virtual organizations."

Creating new services and markets by facilitating the acquisition and conversion of information into knowledge that creates distinctive value for customers.

While many organizations recognize the necessity of information technology, a large number are also frustrated by their inability to fully exploit the business value of information technology investments. It is becoming apparent that the effective incorporation of information technology requires a systematic approach that combines a broad range of strategic, financial, and intra- as well as inter-organizational considerations.

Goals and Objectives

The goals of this research are to learn how corporate facility management business practices are being influenced by changes in information technology, to develop a better understanding of the challenges inherent in transforming facility management departments into knowledge-based organizations, and to explore ways to facilitate the integration of information technology in the industry. In order to achieve these goals it is important to view facility management as an integral part of a rapidly expanding, global economy in which information technology is playing an increasingly important role. Specific objectives of this research are:

1. To identify the most critical information technology management issues affecting the industry.

2. To identify barriers that inhibit a more effective use of information technology.

3. To identify potential solutions as well as research or demonstration projects that may help to test the feasibility of specific information technology solutions.


The following is a preliminary list of issues that may be addressed as part of this research.

Strategic Management and Planning:
  • Using information technology to gain competitive advantage.
  • How information technology can help companies to achieve increased value for their customers.
  • New services, products and institutions that are likely to be facilitated by information technology.
Organizational Management and Planning:
  • Transforming firms into learning organizations.
  • How to educate and train staff about possibilities inherent in information technology.
  • Cultural resistance to information technology.
  • The impact of information technology on business processes and organizational structures.
Financial Management and Planning:
  • Exploring ways to measure the costs and benefits of automation efforts.
  • Maximizing your return on information technology investments.
  • Financial planning for information technology.
Managing Technological Change:
  • Problems with electronic data interchange standards (STEP initiatives).
  • Problems with systems interoperability.
  • Harnessing the potential of the Internet and Intranets.
  • The impact of the convergence of information and communications technology.
  • Prioritizing technology implementation-deciding which technologies should be adopted first.
Marketing Management:
  • Potential uses of the Internet for Marketing.
  • Using information technology to attract, serve and retain customers.
The Impact of a Global Economy:
  • Using information to reduce labor costs in the global marketplace.
  • Information technology and the emerging global information infrastructure.
Managing Inter-organizational Issues:
  • Integrated design and management operations in a virtual environment.
  • Appropriate use of new forms of communications technology (e.g., videoconferencing, desktop videoconferencing, multi-media email).
General Management Issues:
  • Using information technology to help manage a virtual organization.
  • Human behavior: Incentives and disincentives for using information technology.
Asset Management:
  • Role of information technology in asset inventory, management, and planning.
Project and Facilities Management:
  • Innovations in project management strategies.
  • Using information technology to facilitate virtual design teams.
  • Visualization as a project management tool.
  • Vertical integration of electronic models into post-occupancy building management and design activities.
  • Use of information technology to support alternative officing, hoteling, and other methods to reduce space costs.