Making the Move from Excel to IWMS

Recently, we came across an article on the importance of Facilities Management Departments (FMs) moving away from Excel and toward a reliable IWMS or CAFM system.  This article truly inspired us, so we decided to put our own twist on the subject.

Too many companies are taking on extra work and stress by recording their facilities data in excel spreadsheets.  No matter how large or small the company is, we at RSC believe that every Facilities Department deserves more than what excel can provide.

Facilities Management is a dynamic role.

Over time, FM’s have found themselves playing a greater part in strategic decision making within a company.   This has increased the need for facilities management as a whole to have constant access to immediate, accurate, real time data that enables them to provide meaningful information for the business that has direct impact on the bottom line.  While excel can provide a very basic and inexpensive solution for small business with no risk of financial penalties for any potential under-performance, an excel spreadsheet can’t:

  • Provide accurate complex reporting
  • Provide real-time data updates on work order
  • Can’t assign or prioritize tasks to send out jobs

Excel spreadsheets often have gross data inaccuracy, causing a lack of integrity in reporting.  Relying solely on excel can result in serious errors in data as Facility Managers attempt to track a variety data (e.g., moves, work requests, hotelling, lease renewals, etc)  across multiple workstations and geographical locations. “. . . [R]elying on spreadsheet as a primary source of information for FM, reactive and planned maintenance, and asset and performance management has severe limitations. . . .  They can even become counterproductive to FM, causing it to lose impact and detract from its business critical function.”   Even more spreadsheets cannot provide data security.  Once you have released data in spreadsheet form, it’s out in the world.  It can’t be controlled.  If you have sensitive data, it is significantly safer to record, maintain, and report inside an IWMS application like ARCHIBUS which has proper data access controls.

Luckily, if you or your company are still using excel to track your data, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) Software like an IWMS can solve all those issues. An IWMS application, like ARCHIBUS, can:

  • Be Proactive. An IWMS is made to notify people when things happen that are of concern to them – new work requests, or leases coming up for renewal.  It sends emails reminding people of what they need to do next.  It’s tough to get a spreadsheet to do this.

  • Segment Data. When someone has access to a spreadsheet, they can see what’s in there and change it.  In an IWMS application, you are assigned a role that only allows you to update the data you need to update.  This means people aren’t confused by seeing what doesn’t matter to them.  Segmented data forces data integrity, because only people that should change particular data can change it.

  • Global Functionality.  Although these days spreadsheets can be shared, it’s awfully difficult to have many people update the same spreadsheet (say, add on-demand work requests) simultaneously.  IWMS systems are great at making functionality available to multiple people simultaneously.

  • Collaboration.  Many processes require that a group of widely-separated people work together.  One person makes a request, another assigns it to a workman, the workman completes the work, an inspector reviews the work, the person who requested the work answers a survey about the quality of the work.  It’s difficult for such a detailed process to happen via a spreadsheet, especially one where different versions are kept on different desktops.  For processes that involve multiple people, you really need an application (like an IWMS) with true workflow.

We at RSC are dedicated to helping you seamlessly make the transition to an IWMS application, like ARCHIBUS.  Ditch the stress that comes from working with excel spreadsheets and make the move to an IWMS application.  It will be one of the best decisions your Facilities Department and company makes.  An IWMS truly is the best solution for your Facilities needs.  For more information, check out our Keys to a Successful IWMS Implementation or contact us directly at info@rsc2lc.com


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What is MicroView?

If you’re in the FM world, chances are you’ve heard a little bit about MicroView.  MicroView FM™ provides mobile facility data collection and activity management tools that help reduce your facilities and infrastructure management costs.

Whether you need more efficient processes for inventory, maintenance and inspection activities, or quick updates during critical operations like employee moves or large-scale reorganizations, mobile facility management tools give you up-to-date information to control costs.

Save Time Collecting Facilities Data & Managing Activities

MicroViewFM for handheld devices lets you collect, record and update facility data on the spot.  It is an indispensable time saver, allowing data collection and integration on-site at your facilities. Inventory and inspection activities are managed in the field, closing the information loop quickly and accurately. MicroView FM is fully integrated with ARCHIBUS®, ushering in a new era of speed, accuracy, and mobility that revolutionizes the way facilities management data is collected and distributed.

 Space Management

Manage your space and organization with ease.

A critical component of any organization’s corporate records is space and organizational data. Keeping this data up-to-date and accurate poses a challenge to most organizations, and MicroView FM meets this challenge by enabling data to be collected and integrated instantly and on-site. Create an occupancy plan by collecting room and employee information on your handheld device, or download this data from ARCHIBUS® or ARCHIBUS® Web Central to your handheld for audit purposes or as an aide for corporate moves. In emergency situations, responders are dispatched on-site with their MicroView-enabled handheld devices to perform reconnaissance tasks.

Assets Management

Take control of your asset life cycle from acquisition to disposal.

MicroView FM can be used to collect large quantities of asset data, perform disposition surveys and manage asset maintenance operations. Asset inventories can be collected in a fraction of the time it takes using traditional inventory methods. MicroView FM can be tailored to suit your organization’s business model and can be deployed in a number of environments, including at the shipping & receiving dock. Asset receiving data can be shared with your company’s procurement system effectively closing the supply chain loop from the moment assets arrive in your organization through disposition.

Maintenance Management

Ensure timely maintenance for Preventive Maintenance and a quick response to On Demand work or emergencies.

Maintenance personnel can open and close service requests in the field, respond to emergencies, and manage critical buildings systems using daily planned preventive maintenance tasks and on-demand maintenance requests, which can also be dispatched to their handheld device. Any time during a shift, maintenance personnel can retrieve new work or upload completed work from their handhelds. Field staff can record time and materials used on repairs and maintenance activities then upload the data as part of the service work cycle. Time-keeping data can be used to report on equipment histories, workforce performance and budget analysis.

Inspections & Condition Assessment Surveys

Confirm status for Employees, Assets, or link inspections to Work Requests/Work Orders if required, use gathered Condition Assessment Data for Capital Budget Plans.

Managers can easily create inspection or survey questionnaires and then broadcast them to selected handheld units where employees can then complete inspections in the field and immediately share data for capital planning and deferred maintenance purposes.  Safety and security staff can perform life safety surveys or complete routine patrol checklists to support regulatory compliance and security investigations.  Supervisors are able to:

  • Retrieve up-to-date employee locations.
  • Review localized asset inventories during emergency situations
  • Dispatch a security survey to all employee handhelds quickly and easily.
  • Receive statistics and alerts from employees with ease.

It’s easy to see why MicroView is such an amazing tool.  MicroView was created by Robert Stephen Consulting’s very own Geoff Dryer.  Geoff is a senior level programmer at RSC and is an incredibly valuable part of our company.  If you are interested finding out more about MicroView, please contact info@rsc2lc.com.


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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 3 — Ownership

We are excited to bring you our third part to this ten part series. If you haven’t seen the previous article, read about the second key, Appropriate IT Collaboration. Today we will discuss the third key to having a flawless IWMS implementation: ownership.

What do we mean by “ownership”?

In an IWMS, there are many types of data.  This data originates from different departments within a company.  “Ownership” is who owns that data, or who from each respective department is responsible for inputting and keeping the data up to date. Every department must have someone in charge of this, not only for reasons such as confidentiality, but also organization while inputting and modifying the data in later dates.

The IWMS shows financial information, employee information, lease information, geographic information, technical information, and much more. Not one single department holds all the information for IP addresses, buildings, desks, chargeback, internal contact, etc. We at RSC encourage the departments responsible for these varying sources of information (IT, Corporate Real Estate, HR, Finance, etc.) maintain stringent ownership.  If you’re in IT, and notice John Doe is not in the IWMS, it is NOT your responsibility to update the record to include him.  It IS your responsibility to contact HR and encourage them to update or sync their data to ensure all employee information is current. Part of this ownership is running an employee synchronization on a regular basis as changes occur within a company.

What happens when ownership is established? What happens when it isn’t?

When a strict ownership of data is created, there is no confusion when it comes to reporting.  If any information seems inaccurate or flawed, everyone knows who has stewardship over what pieces of information and who is ultimately responsible for the data. The data then stays pure.  With clean data and clear business processes on who manages what data, it is possible to get a 95-98% accuracy rate on all data.  When the data is accurate, the reports are accurate.  When reports are accurate, a company is able to make better strategic decisions. Conversely, when ownership is not defined, data pours in from multiple areas.  The data may have duplicates or inaccuracies.  Without strict ownership of data, maintaining clean, organized, and accurate data is extremely difficult and creates bad reporting, which, consequentially, creates mistrust of the IWMS.

For these reasons, RSC firmly believes ownership is the third most important key to a successful IWMS implementation.  An IWMS that cannot be trusted will not benefit your company. Successful reporting and results from and IWMS starts at the beginning stages of implementation when the data is being added to the IWMS and everyone fulfills their role in keeping the data up to date from then on.


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Thoughts? Questions? Comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your insights.