Friday Training Follow Up: Types of Reports in ARCHIBUS

Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC provides free 30-minute Client Training session every Friday at 10:00AM PST!  RSC prides itself in providing learning opportunities for our clients.  We feel that if our clients know the system better, we will able to work better with them to discover and implement the solutions that they need.

Last week Bob Stephen, our CEO & Managing Director discussed Reporting in ARCHIBUS. Specifically, we covered the Four Types of Reports in ARCHIUBS.  These reports include:

  1. C & VP Level Reports
  2. Director and Manager Reports
  3. Individual Contributor Reports
  4. Reports for Staff at Large

If you’d like to know more about this particular training, email us at training@rsc2lc.com

We’d love to have you join us for this week’s training on Plain AutoCAD Basics this Friday 11/20.  Please register for the training here:
https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/6239139519237186817

Registering is required to receive a confirmation email and a link to the training.

Our weekly client trainings are held Fridays from 10:00 to 10:30am.  This is an opportunity to learn more about an area of ARCHIBUS that you may not be familiar with.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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How to Better Your Reporting

This is not the first time we’ve shared an article on reporting.  Quality reporting may be one of the most important things a Facilities Department can do!  The facilities management industry rapidly prioritizes data collection, management, and storage, and, because of this, reports must be accurate.

High quality, efficient reporting is vital for your company to grow, and IWMS’s play an integral role in reporting success.  An IWMS helps promote data accuracy, increase productivity, reduce cost, and effortlessly share information throughout a company.  Users can see what changes need to be made and more strategically plan for the future, making a direct impact on the bottom line. So, here are a few tips we have for better reporting:

Determine What to Track

The first step in successful reporting is to determining what to track.  Make a list of resources to manage, and make relationships between those resources.  For example:

  • What resources are you managing?
    • Costs
    • People
    • Space
    • Time
  • What does your boss need to know?
    • Cost per Area
    • Headcount changes over Time
    • Occupancy vs. Capacity
  • What are you trying to show with the data?
  • What point are you trying to make?

Once you have this information, you can create an idealized report.  An effective idealized report will direct strategic decisions that effect the bottom line.

Creating an Idealized Report

There is no standard list of what to track.  The information that matters most will vary from one company to another, thus the need for idealized reports. For example, tracking furniture won’t make sense for a publicly
traded corporation that considers the furniture depreciated the moment it is purchased, but tracking furniture does make sense for a company that is owned by a single private owner because of how taxes are assessed. Perhaps tracking employee locations through audits is useful as it will indicate how much capacity is available and how much is needed, unless 
your company tracks moves.  Tracking moves allows you to track churn rate, which indicates expansion and contractions.

IWMS and Excel Can Work Together

Excel is a great tool for developing an idealized report.  It is fluid and easy to work with, allowing users to quickly create a report that gets the point across.  Often it is used as a central reporting tool before moving to IWMS. We often get the question, “Can I export this to Excel?” This question has significantly more depth than just a “yes” or “no” answer.  If a facilities  manager is asking this question, it can indicate one or all of the following scenarios:

  1. A need for a report that is generated frequently.
  2. That the information provided from ARCHIBUS needs to be filtered or enhanced in some way.
  3. That the person asking the question has a strong grasp of the abilities of Excel, but may not understand the capacity of ARCHIBUS as a reporting tool.

That being said, don’t let your team spend too much time and energy manuallly creating reports in excel. Monthly reports should come directly from an IWMS.  Using an IWMS for reporting will keep all reports up to date and reduce processing time. When determining whether to transition to an IWMS, consider the total cost of a report:

  • How long does it take your team to produce this
    report? 
    • X #of hours
  • How often does your team produce this report?
    • Y frequency
  • How much is your team paid per hour?
    • Z cost/hour
  • X*Y*Z = cost of the report

An IWMS application, like ARCHIBUS, will generate the reports in a fraction of the time.  You will see the ROI in the long run by creating an ARCHIBUS report up-front. But, if you or your team want a specific excel report automated in ARCHIBUS, it can easily be created. Over time you will save money if the report can be created for less than the total cost of developing the report by hand.

In following these foundational guidelines, you can have greater success in your reporting.  By planning out your idealized report, you can ensure you and your team are tracking the right information and communicating correct statistics to help reduce overall cost.


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3 Simple Steps to Improving your Reporting Accuracy

Naturally, reporting accuracy can be difficult because of its complexity;  there are many, tiny pieces to the puzzle of reporting that all need to be correct in order to produce an accurate report. Accuracy can be accomplished by following the three foundational principles below.

1. Have a regularly scheduled employee synchronization with the HR department.

A regularly scheduled employee synchronization with the HR department protects your data.  It assures that all employees are up to date in the system and that employee location and assets are current and tracked accurately.

2. Have a single move process that is followed.

No matter how large or small the move is, if you ensure that one particular move process is followed every single time, without exception, your data is significantly more likely to come out accurate.

3. Walk the floors on a regular basis.

Commit to update your data by walking floors anywhere from once a quarter to once a year.  Whichever time period you decide, keep it consistent!  The more consistent you are, the more accurate your data will be, resulting in more accurate reports.

Consistency 

The key to all these processes is consistency. Once these processes are established and consistent, reporting accuracy will be easier and relatively automatic.


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ARCHIBUS Client Server & Excel Pivot Table Reporting

BAATUG is a wonderful training event because it is more than just information on ARCHIBUS.  Often times, head of Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC, Bob Stephen, demonstrates tips, techniques, and best practices that make your workflow significantly easier.

A while back, Bob Stephen shared some tricks at an amazing BAATUG event hosted by Stanford.  This little technique Bob taught was so good that we created a tutorial to share with all you who missed the event.

This tutorial is broken into two parts:

  1. Writing reports in Microsoft Excel
  2. Exporting ARCHIBUS data to Microsoft Excel and updating it regularly

Sometimes you need a report that just isn’t in ARCHIBUS, or that you don’t want to be in ARCHIBUS, because you’d rather use the flexibility and power of Excel to combine the data from ARCHIBUS with other sources, or to slice and dice it using Excel Pivot Tables.  All of these things are possible using the technique described below.

The reason this works is because ARCHIBUS Client Server uses ODBC connections to reach the database, and so can Excel.  From this point forward, we will assume you know the afm password to the database.

Below are the steps:

  • Open a new, blank workbook in Microsoft Excel.
  • On the “Data” tab, choose “From Other Sources” then “From Microsoft Query” from the drop down, demonstrated in the image below.
  • A box will appear that lets you choose from which database you want to pull data. 
    • These are all ODBC data sources.  If you don’t see the one you want,  go into Client Server and set up a Project to connect to that database.  Once you’ve set up the Project connection it will become available.  (ARCHIBUS Client Server creates ODBC Data Sources to make its own connection to the database; we are piggybacking off that.)
  • Choose your data source and click “OK”.
    • For now, we’ll leave the “Query Wizard” box checked.
  • A database login dialog box will appear.  The Login ID will likely default to “afm.”  In order to move forward, you will need to know the password for the database.  Enter the password and hit “OK.”
  • The Query Wizard will now appear.  You should be able to choose which database table you would like to use for the data.  In this example we will use the em and rm tables.
  • Pick the columns you want and hit the “Next” button.
    • NOTE:  If you pick data from different but related tables, the Query Wizard does the join for you.
  • From there you will be taken through some other forms;  it is safe to click the defaults to get the data into Excel.
  • You should see something that looks like a grid — a rich set of data about rooms and the people that occupy them:
  • With just a little more effort a more detailed analysis can be done with Count of seated employees by Division Department sliced by Region/Site.
  • If and when the data in ARCHIBUS changes, you just need to Refresh it using the steps below:
    • Return to the “Data” tab.
    • Right click on the data, and click “Refresh”.
    • Your data is now up to date.
    • If you are using Pivot Tables, you will need to refresh these as well after making the changes.
  • Want to Edit your Query?
    • Click on the data table.
    • Select the “Data” tab, then “Properties” from the drop down menu.
  • Push the button to the right of “Name” to get “Connection Properties” dialog box.
  • Click the “Definitions” Tab, then “Edit Query” tab.
  • And you’ll be right back to editing the Query.
  • A Quick Note of Caution:
    • Queries are not portable.  They want to be run from the machine on which they were created.  If you email the spreadsheet to a friend, they will be able to see and change the pivot table, but will not be able to refresh the data or access the query.

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