Mastering the Internet...

Nov. 4, 2004
Without getting caught in the Web
Blog. Click. Flash. Google. It’s the sound of work in the 21st century. With all the efficiencies and data provided on the Information Superhighway, it’s no wonder that demands on productivity have doubled. Doing more with less has become the mantra of management, and no one does it better or with more skill and more focus than facilities professionals. With help from the Internet, these individuals have kept pace with the need for speed and are now working better, smarter, and faster.Seek and Ye Shall FindThe Internet and its proliferation of websites has opened doors for facilities professionals, providing resources and information from around the world. There’s no need to wonder: “How does it work?” “How much does it cost?” “Has anyone ever done this before?” Hop online, and with just a few keystrokes, search results will provide you with more than enough responses to your question(s). Ask anyone in this profession what they use the Internet for and the overwhelming majority will tell you “research.” Quick access to information on products has provided facility managers with the ability to speed up the request for quote (RFQ) process. “I’m able to check pricing on some sites without physically talking to anybody,” explains Joseph A. Boni, facilities manager, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago. “I can go to the Internet, do the research, execute a decision, and have an order in within a couple of hours – as opposed to a couple of days.” Need to order parts? Lost your operations/maintenance manual? Curious about the dimensions of a new furniture system? You can find it online.Use of the Internet can help you stay abreast of industry trends and even provide professional development opportunities. Online courses and seminars (often called webinars) are helping many individuals find time to work toward a professional designation, stay knowledgeable about new processes and strategies, and even build a network of experts and resources to call upon.Internet and Intranet Sites: Why Post Information Online?Many organizations have found Internet or intranet platforms to be an ideal tool – enabling remote monitoring of building systems and increasing and improving communication both internally and externally.Work order management systems and emergency plans are just a few of the ways tenants are benefiting from company intranet sites. “I think it’s going to revolutionize what we do as far as relating to our tenants and making tenants like their space so they stick around longer, and so forth,” shares Dave Carter, property manager, Moses Tucker Real Estate, Little Rock, AR.Companies are also beginning to realize the value of Web conferencing – and for good reason. “WebEx seminars save a lot of money when we communicate as a company nationally,” explains Mike Turzanski, operations manager, Cushman & Wakefield, Denver. “We can see the PowerPoint presentation, and through the phones, be able to communicate.”Posting information on the Internet can boost awareness of modernization and new construction activities both internally and externally. “It’s a public relations tool. We are going to be on the ballot with a $323-million bond election on Nov. 2, and all the project information is available online, including some of the concept plans,” explains Robert Matschulat, facility planning specialist, Jefferson County School District, Lakewood, CO. Additionally, making technical guidelines available online can help consultants, architects, and contractors better understand your expectations.Finding Time to Use the World’s Fastest Research ToolMany trade magazines and professional organizations can now send news straight to your e-mail inbox. When a hectic schedule makes staying on top of industry and topic-specific information difficult, consider subscribing to some of the industry’s hottest e-newsletters. A few to consider include:’s @ the Moment, Greener Facilities, and Roofing News (subscribe at []); and SmartBrief for Commercial Real Estate Professionals (subscribe at []).Internet usage is increasing. Last year, poll participants answered the question, “Has your use of the Internet in your professional role increased this year?” and 96 percent responded “Yes.” Facilities professionals are spending up to 8 hours per week on the Web. But sometimes setting your sights on the information you need is more difficult than you think. With help from some of Buildings magazine’s “Day in the Life” participants, what follows is a list of some of the best sites the Web has to offer. Blog. Click. Flash. Google. It’s time to get back to work.Jana J. Madsen ([email protected]) is managing editor at Buildings magazine.Signs, Symbols, and SearchesStop sifting through pages of unwanted search results and start searching more effectively by using some of the following tips and tricks for each engine:AltaVistaExciteGoogleLycosMSNYahoo!+Single digits, letters, and common words are often ignored by a search engine. Typing a plus sign immediately before this word will indicate its significance in the search. Example: class +A office ***-When you're searching for specific information but anticipate the results will provide additional unwanted information, you can exclude a word from your search by using the minus sign. Example: lighting -exit***“”To conduct a phrase search, place quotation marks around multiple words. Consequently, your search will provide results that contain these words in the exact order you have stated. Example: "facilities management"***ANDTo find information on more than one topic, type an uppercase AND between the two search words. Example: furniture AND partitions***ORTo find webpages with content on either one subject or another, type an uppercase OR between the two search words. Example: carpet OR linoleum****AND NOTTo locate information on one topic but exclude another, insert the uppercase words AND NOT between the two words. Example: security AND NOT guards****( ) To group search terms, place a set of parentheses around them. Example: roofing AND (copper OR aluminum) ****:If you are trying to locate information on a specific website, place a colon between what you're looking for and the Web address. Example: membership **ADVANCED
Fields like "Find results with the exact phrase …" make most search engines' advanced search a way to avoid
having to remember all these tips and tricks.

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