How to Improve Campus Facilities Maintenance and Operations

Using facilities maintenance data more effectively

The quality of campus facilities can be one of the most influential factors for prospective students before they choose to enroll in a college or university. Many higher education institutions struggle to maintain or repair aging campus buildings and to keep up with student expectations without increasing costs.

University Business recently conducted an audience survey covering this topic and asked higher ed leaders about the biggest challenges they face. This web seminar discussed the results of the survey, as well as strategies for improving the maintenance and operations of campus facilities.


Kasey Hobson
Senior Product Manager
Dude Solutions

Kasey Hobson: Correlation is not causation. There is no cause and effect with correlation. There may be an association, but the two variables may not be related. Causation would indicate that one event is the result of the other. Causation can be a little more challenging to show. It’s important that when we have data, we present and use it in a way that helps us make decisions to be more efficient, and that we’re not just putting two unrelated items together to make the data work.

Analytics helps us to provide and identify patterns and to suggest an improvement, and it allows us to help individuals make decisions that can better their organizations. It can help with decision-making about funding or needs-based items, or even with changing everyday patterns or making adjustments to staffing or investment into maintenance and operations. It can also allow us to be forward-thinking, using data to drive insights.

How do you focus on the basics of capturing data and deciding what to do with it? Use report dashboards and key performance indicators to help tell your organization’s story. Reports allow you to provide the right information to the right people at the right time so they can drive decisions.

Dashboards allow you to bring together a host of datasets in one location and provide insights into what matters. Then, using key performance indicators can help not only at an organization level, but also across industries. Once that foundation is established, you can start to answer questions, and you can begin to tell a story with your data.

Our survey questioned 100 participants from private four-year, public four-year, private two-year and public two-year institutions. The first question had to do with the overall effectiveness of facilities maintenance and operations on a scale of 1 to 4. The average rating was 3. The next question was regarding the ongoing maintenance of campus facilities being more costly and burdensome over the past five to 10 years, and the respondents were in staggering agreement that it cost a lot more money.

We asked: “Has your institution been negatively impacted by unexpected and costly repairs, not just expected daily maintenance?” We saw across the participants that unexpected repairs could derail a plan. They can affect the planned maintenance that’s already scheduled, and that can have a downstream impact for maintenance and operations to continue on a planned path, which then can change the outlook, the budget, and the overall plan for the year and following years.

We asked where facility money is spent, and we saw that corrective maintenance is a higher cost and that proactive investment is lower. We also dove into whether institutions were able to anticipate facility needs. The results were pretty much that they’re spending either equal or more time responding to problems than to preventing problems.

We asked if facilities and departments can set a preventive maintenance schedule for one to two years in advance, which is key to preventing unexpected corrective maintenance costs. Less than half said “yes.”

With predictive analytics, we can look forward to what the future holds for maintenance operations. You may be asking questions about what maintenance costs today, such as: How many hours are we spending on maintenance? What event facilities are being used? How much energy are we consuming? With predictive analytics, we can shift to looking at tomorrow. How much will maintenance cost in one to two years or five to 10 years? That allows for capacity planning, resource planning and budget planning.

At Dude Solutions, we aim to give our clients a deeper understanding of their operations. We want to help them to make decisions and to drive change management and efficiencies back into their business, based on the insights that they can get out of their data in the system.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit