ARCHIBUS Applications: Project Management

This week we’re sharing some great information from ARCHIBUS on their Project Management applications. This application allows useres to manage projects, from an owner’s perspective, so they remain on-schedule and within budget.

Benefits

  • Creates a central repository for a “Top-Down” perspective of program and project priorities, actions, and costs
  • Facilitates a collaborative process to allow project members to synchronize information at different locations or organizational units
  • Provides clear, weighted performance scorecard views of multiple programs and/or projects to identify late or over-budget components at a glance
  • Streamlines project oversight via consolidated views displaying milestones, tasks, and status changes to all project members
  • Reduces administrative burden by leveraging existing data
  • Project Management Screenshot
  • ARCHIBUS Project Management
View project schedules with quality control dashboard. View commitment progress status report to track project completion by work packages, monthly projections, change orders, and invoices (recorded and approved).

Ushering a successful project to its completion—whether it is a renovation, acquisition, construction, or move project—requires a well-organized repository of project data and workflow practices. ARCHIBUS Project Management gives project team members workflow access to a  central storehouse of information that keeps all participants aligned with master planning goals. This helps ensure that projects remain on-schedule and within budget, while providing valuable benchmarking data for future projects.


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Conversations with Bob: Good KPIs

Matt: Give an example of a good Key Performance Indicator, or KPI. What makes it a KPI?

Bob: A KPI for a client is understanding whether they actually are pleased with what they are delivered. The way we do that is we may do a survey monkey, or some type of survey to the client, and ask them questions like, “Did RSC provide the solution that you requested on a regular basis?” “Do we listen?” “Are we valued well?” – in other words is it the appropriate price and does it meet scope, schedule, and cost? To me, one of the most important things is scope, schedule, and cost. We pride ourselves on making ourselves meet the exact scope, schedule, and cost. In fact, RSC has a competitive advantage which says that we never ask for a change order, which means that we estimate very well. A KPI for me is, “Do we meet scope, schedule, and cost?”

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ARCHIBUS Applications: Cost Chargeback & Invoicing

This week we’re excited to bring you more information about ARCHIBUS’ Cost Chargeback and Invoicing application. This tool is a great way to improve the process of charging back costs, issuing invoices, and tracking receivables to reduce administrative expense.

Benefits

  • Increases transparency of costs to improve real estate portfolio decision-making
  • Improves operational efficiency through simplified chargeback/invoice/payment processing
  • Decreases administrative errors with automated chargeback calculations and invoice/payment monitoring
  • Streamlines chargeback and invoicing processes through intuitive Wizard-based interfaces
  • Cost Chargeback and Inventory
View details for any invoice in one location that includes due dates, terms, contacts, associated costs, payments, and more.

Increasing efficiency and reducing errors in performing chargebacks and executing invoicing/receivables processes is essential for reducing the administrative cost of managing properties. Now both goals can be achieved with the ARCHIBUS Cost Chargeback & Invoicing application. This Web-based solution’s sophisticated Wizards enable lease administrators and portfolio managers to automate all real estate-related accounting functions. The Chargeback Wizard provides users with an intuitive tool for flexible cost allocation to internal cost centers and/or external tenants, while the Invoicing/Receivables Wizard enables accurate, automated billing and payment processes for enhanced account management.


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The Three Keys to Occupancy Accuracy Within IWMS

Providing Accurate Occupancy and Vacancy

(Utilization and Realization)

When discussing occupancy and vacancy, which is also known as utilization and realization, there are three key components to look at when looking for accuracy. Despite how overwhelming accuracy may seem, especially when looking at tech companies that have anywhere from a 50% to 300% churn rate, it is still very possible.

1) Employee synchronization within the HR system

Making sure that both the HR and the IWMS systems are synchronized is one of the most important steps. You don’t need fifteen applications open in order to find and move just one person. The HR and IWMS systems should be able to take care of these details with ease, but, first, both systems need to have the same set of information being fed to them, which is why synchronization is key.

This sync should happen daily – it can happen at night when everyone is gone. This sync looks for things like new hires, those in the HR system but not in the IWMS, terminations, those in the IWMS system but not the HR, modifications like change in manager, phone number, room, email, etc., and errors, like no first name, placed in a division that doesn’t exist, etc.

Some challenges with this are that companies have anywhere from 2 – 25%  that are contractors and don’t go through the HR system, in which case you have to look at things like the security badging system or other on-boarding systems that will allow you to track a person.

2) Move process

When a change occurs within a company, the move process within the IWMS system must be utilized. Every move must be executed within the IWMS system to reflect the changes that are happening in the physical sites. This means that it needs to be used for every single move that occurs, no matter how large or small. It all needs to be recorded and changed.
properly in order to be effective.This is the step that requires the most attention, and needs to be managed daily. A good IWMS system will be flexible enough to make this step as simple or as complicated as you need it to be. While most IWMS systems can move furniture, equipment, moving the person is the most important aspect in this article. Knowing where people sit provides the occupancy/vacancy data to make strategic decisions

3) Floorwalk

Despite the accuracy that the previous two steps will provide, it is still necessary to walk the floors from time to time. There will always be rogue moves. Maybe Alice moved her things one day and Jenny noticed that she had a window seat and moved her things since no one else was using that space. Especially with today’s world of WiFi and DHCP, this is even easier for employees to do now.Depending on how active your company is, floorwalks may be necessary every month, every quarter, or every year. We have clients that walk floors every month and some that walk them every three years.

If these three steps are being utilized, this should give you a 90% to 98% accuracy rate, which is very good. But, as a word to the wise, don’t get caught in being 100% accurate. The moment you’ve walked the floor, someone has moved, similar to when a tile floor is being mopped. The moment it is clean, someone has walked on it. This is why all three steps, HR and IWMS sync, move process, and floorwalks are so important. When being used to their full advantage, hey will keep information from slipping through the cracks so a high accuracy rate can be realized.


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ARCHIBUS Applications: Cost Administration

This week we’re proud to share more information on Cost Administration. Cost Administration is an amazing application that allows users to centralize and streamline the processes of defining, allocating, and approving portfolio occupancy costs.

Benefits
  • Improves portfolio occupancy cost management and decision-making with advanced cost analysis/projection capabilities
  • Provides visibility to help align occupancy cost structure with organizational mission
  • Decreases frequency and expense of errors with streamlined processes that track all portfolio lifecycle costs
  • Reduces administrative overhead by eliminating manual processes
Increase budgeting accuracy with cash flow reports that generate cost projections for leases, buildings, properties, and accounts.

Accurately tracking and managing an organization’s occupancy costs is a competitive advantage… and an organizational challenge, without a centralized repository and the right analytical tools. ARCHIBUS Cost Administration provides proactive real estate managers and lease administrators with a Web-based solution that centralizes and streamlines the definition, allocation, and approval of portfolio occupancy costs. It can reduce administrative overhead and improve decisionmaking. The application also features an intuitive Wizard that tracks lifecycle costs at the invoice- or summary-level until final cost allocations are issued, as well as sophisticated filtering for multidimensional cost analysis, and more.

*This information was provided via the ARCHIBUS website.*

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Conversations with Todd: Case Study — MicroView Tablet

Bob: On the MicroView Tablet side we just worked with a social media company in the Silicon Valley where we have over 50 individuals doing daily surveys using the MicroView tablet. Talk to me about the success there and some of the challenges.
Todd: It’s an internet company, and they build online web applications all the time. They are used to seeing a very sexy, cool interface built into their products and expect the same of us. I think that’s been the challenge, but it’s also an opportunity. They’ve pushed us and we’ve pushed ourselves to build out MicroView tablet in ways that make it capable of doing things that we’re very proud of, but that are difficult things to do. The room and equipment surveys that it can do and the capability it has of plotting those on a map and letting you see the status of those equipment surveys at any given time are really impressive capabilities and something that I think many clients are going to be able to make great use of.

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Green Tips: Recycling

We are beyond excited to share our second installment of Green Tips! In this addition, we are sharing some great tips from LEED v4 for Building Operations Management. But specifically how implementing a recycling program can get your building closer to it’s LEED certification!

We all know the importance of recycling. But for those who aren’t green at heart, finding the time to properly recycle waste products can be tricky. A great option to help your employees recycle and keep our earth beautiful is to implement a recycling plan at your workplace! In helping reduce your carbon footprint, your efforts in establishing a recycling program puts your facility a few points closer to achieving LEED certification.

The purpose of LEED’s Ongoing Solid Waste Management Credit is to reduce the waste that is generated by building occupants and hauled to and disposed of in landfills and incinerators. Following these requirements will gain you two points toward your facility’s certification.

Performance

Maintain a waste reduction and recycling program that reuses, recycles, or composts the following:

  • at least 50% of the ongoing waste as specified in Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Ongoing Purchasing and Waste Policy (by weight or volume); and
  • at least 75% of the durable goods waste as specified in Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Ongoing Purchasing and Waste Policy (by weight, volume or replacement value).

In addition, safely dispose of the following:

  • all discarded batteries; and
  • all mercury-containing lamps.

There are many different ways to implement this type of system, most popularly being to install recycling bins in carefully and conveniently placed locations around your facility both internally and externally. Additionally, you can have “electronic waste days” where you set aside specific days to properly dispose of batteries, mercury-containing lamps, and any other electronic waste product.

How do you recycle in the workplace? We’d love to hear what works for you and your company. Comment below and let us know what you think!

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Conversations with Bob: RSC Success Stories

 

Bob: Early on in my career, a very large tech company came to me and said, “We’ve been reporting the square footage, for five years, of these eight buildings that we are getting ready to sell and your numbers in ARCHIBUS are wrong, Bob. Our real estate company came in and gave us different numbers. You have an hour to tell us where your mistake is.” I said, “Alright, give me their background data.” Within 35 to 40 minutes, I realized that they had not calculated the vertical penetration within the buildings properly. Because it was a whole building, the vertical penetration was included in the square footage, not excluded. I came back and said, “Here it is, they removed the vertical penetration which was not proper because it is a whole building according to BOMA standards.” The VP said, “Well, you’re going to work late tonight, so stick around. I am going to call the real estate agency.” The real estate representative came over within an hour. I walked all eight buildings with him and he agreed with my numbers. It saved that company about $30 million in their sale within a five hour period.

The second story is another tech company in San Francisco had purchased a company in Massachusetts. It was right at the Dot Com crash. They were doing some tenant improvements on the third floor. Those tenant improvements included 70 cubicles for one of their departments. They had realized from the vacancy/occupancy report that we had provided that they had 65 vacancies on the first and second floor. Because it was in the recession that started the Dot Com crunch they realized they were going to lose a percentage by the time they were done with the tenant improvements. So they chose to restack the first and second floors and lease out the third floor. That was a couple million dollars savings a year and those became revenues at the expense.

A very similar thing happened with a utility company in San Francisco. We did what was called “spring cleaning”. We went through and determined how many cubicles were being used for storage of books, servers, Christmas trees, and other things, and they determined that there were about 350 cubicles that they could recapture. They were able to close a building of three floors which is about a three million dollars savings per year. It’s simply because of the data we are providing.

One of our big ones is that we walked the floor for an insurance company in downtown San Francisco. They had four buildings and when we got done walking we told them they had a 50% vacancy rate. They promptly fired us and said we didn’t do the job right. So we went away and two months later they called us and said, “We walked the floors. We have a 50% vacancy. You’re rehired to help us restack.” They initially closed three of the four buildings and and moved everybody into the one building, but then they built a campus in the East Bay, simply by just tracking that data.

Those are the types of success stories we are used to.

Megan: It’s amazing that you can save companies that much
money.

Bob: Yeah, it is. It’s just by supplying data. A tech company in Silicon Valley used our MicroView HVAC electrical module to track the electrical use inside their servers. They wanted to find whether they needed a new meter, whether they need to bring more electricity in. So we helped them track all of their assets inside, tied it back to out HVAC electrical application, which then calculated how much use is being expended. Two things came out of that. First, they found that one of their new server rooms was under powered and they needed to provide more. They also needed to get more air conditioners for BTUs. But the second thing was this was 15, 20 years ago, so servers were $10,000 per server and one of the VPs had two servers for every employee that he managed, which was several hundred. The VP goes, “No, that can’t be true.” We pulled the report out, we walked the server rooms with the VP, he understood that he had two servers for every employee. He canceled a forty server order and saved the company about half a million because we had tracked and had the information.

 

Megan: That’s amazing. That’s a lot of money.

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The Intelligence Cycle & IWMS

The Intelligence Cycle and an Integrated Work Management System have a lot more in common than you might think.  Thanks to IWMS Daily, we came across this amazing article entitled “6 Aspects of Military Intelligence & How They Relate to IWMS.”  After reading the article, we felt inspired to look a little more deeply into the relationship.  The article you are about to read is a mix of Military, Department of Defense, FBI, and CIA definitions of their intelligence Cycle as well as input from the article that inspired us with a bit of RSC flair.

We are grateful for the service provided by all the men and women enlisted to protect the freedoms the USA was founded on.  In honor of Independence Day and all those who gave their lives serving in defense of the freedoms our great Country was founded upon, we wanted to share something that bridged the two worlds.

The intelligence cycle is a term used by various government agencies including the military, FBI, and CIA to name a few.  It is “the process of developing unrefined data into polished intelligence for the use of policymakers”1 and consists of six interrelated operations 2.  The process is circular in nature and fundamental for processing data in civilian, military, or law enforcement system.

 

As outlined in the article, we present to you the six parts of the intelligence cycle and how they relate to IWMS

1. Planning and Direction

Intelligence requirements are determined by a decision maker to meet certain goals 3. As in the military a good IWMS must have a situational awareness of all available resources as well as the means to quantify them.  It requires charting a direction which identifies the resources needed to attain a particular goal. In the FM world this can be thought of as improving the allocation and prioritization of real estate operations and more rapid development as well as investing in technology or replacing older RE/FM systems 4.  At Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC., we strive to listen to our client’s needs and desires as we help in the planning process. We provide flexible guides to assist clients decipher what is most important.

2. Collection

Collection is the gathering of raw information based on requirements determined in planning and direction 5.Data collection is done in either a strategical or tactical way in order to connect seemingly unrelated information to produce a holistic and comprehensive understanding of a certain goal.  In an IWMS these data sources may consist of occupancy, costs, leasing, future space requirements, operational maintenance management (scheduling repairs), customer satisfaction, project management, etc. 6.  RSC aids in collecting electronic information and standards along with manufacture recommendations.  We also provide best practices along the way.

3. Processing & Exploitation

Defined by the US Department of Defense as “the conversion of information into suitable forms” 7.Corporate leadership, like their military counterparts, require data to be fully analyzed and vetted in order to make rapid strategic decisions on the appropriate (daily) course of action.  The processing of collected data facilitates improved customer experience, reputation management, and building
partnerships among others — all of which impact a company’s bottom line. Some outcomes of processing and exploitation in IWMS include work order processing, energy management, and environmental impact 8.  After gathering data, we synthesize and consult.  We create a pilot project including sample data from 1-3 buildings and multiple floors with employee information, assets, etc.  We prove the theory hypothesized from the collected data.

4. Analysis and Production

In the military, analysis and production fuses processed data from various sources together into a centralized report to identify potential patterns 9/10.An IWMS does the same thing.  The goal of the IWMS, however, is to improve management of (Corporate) Real Estate/Facilities Management. Aspects of this goal include flexibility to expand future applications/utility, reporting, financial management, market planning, site selection, transaction management, lease management, operations/maintenance, sustainability, energy management, and business intelligence to name a few 11.  After analyzing the data, RSC puts together a punch list of items and is reviewed with the client and any remaining data is uploaded.

5. Dissemination and Integration

The military defines dissemination and integration as the delivery of intelligence to users in a suitable form applicable to appropriate missions, tasks, and functions 12 in the form of reports 13 on either the front lines or in higher leadership levels.  This is done through various types of communication (e.g., social media, mobile devices, the “cloud,” and database transfers).  The dissemination (sharing or broadcasting) of information is not the end of a process, but a continuous link between the producers and consumers of data.  An IWMS integrates BIM, CAD, and GIS intelligence and delivers the data to users (some of which may include Client Service Directors, Human Resource Directors, & Marketing Directors) through dashboards, mapping displays, analytics, mobile applications 14, and RSC’s very own Space View.  At this point staff is introduced to the new process and training to use the system.  Minor tweaks are also considered and incorporated when they follow the plan and process outlined in items 1-4 above.

6. Evaluation and Feedback

Evaluation and feedback is a continuous assessment of intelligence operations to ensure requirements are being met 15. This military practice assists in planning, collection, processing, executing, and making overall improvements.  In corporate environments this process translates into consulting and honestly identifying any deficiencies with the system 16.  At Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC., we understand that these applications are living and breathing systems which require constant feeding and growth.  An internal champion makes decisions on whether enhancements need to be made to a new or existing IWMS by gauging system performance and efficiency. There’s no wonder why RSC believes an internal champion is key to a successful IWMS integration.  It’s a tried and true concept that even the US Government uses.

When these six military intelligence cycles are applied, the benefits of IWMS are clear.  An Integrated Work Management System reduces costs, increases efficiency, and improves productivity.  If your company is not already using an IWMS, like ARCHIBUS, we urge you to do the research, ask questions, and invest!  The benefits an IWMS can bring to your company, no matter how large or small, are innumerable.

With that being said, we hope you have a happy, festive, and safe Fourth of July!

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