RSC featured on Archibus blog for Emergency Preparedness solutions for COVID-19

Watch our interview with ARCHIBUS’s Danielle Moore about our health and safety facilities solutions during COVID-19 (coronavirus).

RSC’s CEO, Bob Stephen, was recently interviewed by ARCHIBUS and featured on their blog about the solutions we have used over the years—and are now applying to the COVID-19 pandemic—to keep employees safe and healthy, reduce organizational costs, and track routine cleaning, medical incidents, remote workers, and more. Watch the interview in the video above. We’ve also summarized it below.

How to track COVID-19 in Archibus.

An image of a woman touching her temple as if not feeling well.
How can organizations quickly and effectively COVID-19 related incidents?

Our clients began looking for immediate incident tracking, or the capability for staff to record whether they weren’t feeling well and what they did about it: did they take the day off or were they exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus that required them to work remotely for a while? Once the initial report is made, we leverage Archibus Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) to record:

  • who else was involved in the incident.
  • did anyone go to the hospital, and if so, who?
  • did the involved person(s) self-impose quarantine, or was it mandated by an organization?
  • were any medical diagnoses made?

What applications are needed prior to tracking through Environmental Health and Safety?

An image of a laptop, tablet, and smartphone side by side on a wooden table.
Some Archibus applications are necessary prior to tracking with Environmental Health and Safety to leverage correct data.

Before we can take a client into tracking health and safety incidents in EH&S, a couple of applications should be in place so the EH&S application can leverage data and make reporting quicker and easier than it’s ever been. Archibus Space Inventory and Performance and Archibus Personnel and Occupancy hold this essential data:

  • up-to-date floorplans.
  • accurate employee locations.
  • regular data synchronization process (mainly with HR system).
  • room category and type.

Having this data allows maintenance teams to know instantaneously where to go to disinfect or clean a location and contain a health and safety incident. In order to put this information on a work order, work request, or maintenance ticket, and automatically route these to a craftsperson, organizations should have the Archibus Building Operations application.

To determine the condition of a room, building, site, or campus, organizations should use Archibus Commissioning. This application allows users to record whether sites are safe, and, if not, why or how. Is the building defective? Does it need maintenance work? Does new construction need to happen?

Mobile devices and individual contributors in Archibus.

Archibus is fully responsive to enable users with mobile devices, tablets, and handhelds to record data and update the system instantly. These personnel are called individual contributors, and are essential if quick and accurate updates are the goal of an organization.

An image of a hand using a stylus to work a tablet.
Individual contributors can use mobile devices with Archibus to instantly update essential information.

Archibus reporting, metrics, and charts for the middle manager, and C-and V-level executives.

One of the main strengths of Archibus is the ability to report on data. Middle managers can generate monthly, yearly, or quarterly, reports. These reports can also be viewed in the form of metrics. These metrics can help an organization determine how many COVID-related incidents have occurred, as well as how many total incidents. Charts can also be made from reported data: bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and any other visual representation that will make strategic IWMS data digestible.

These reports, when delivered to the C- and V-level decision makers of an organization, can speak for themselves on the effectiveness of IWMS. Reports help guide and inform strategic decisions such as:

  • cost-saving measures.
  • space planning.
  • move management decisions.
  • incident response protocol.
  • routine maintenance and cleaning measures.

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Conversations with Bob: How do you measure success?

Transcript:

Bob: I measure success by their ability to make strategic decisions. If the application is implemented, and they’re able to determine their occupancy, vacancy, or utilization and realization, and either increase their leases or decrease their leases according to space, that gives them the information they need to be able to make strategic decisions for the better, bottom line of the company.

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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 6 — Pace Yourself

This week we are proud to bring you Part 6 of our 10-part series on successfully implementing an IWMS.  In this article we will discuss the importance of pacing yourself in an IWMS implementation. Read the previous article on Understanding Your Business Process if you haven’t already.

There are many applications in a complete IWMS system.  These applications can include Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), and Real Property & Lease Management (RPLM).   Many companies desire to implement all the applications at once, to take advantage of all the possible features from the very beginning.  We highly doing it all at once.  Instead of rushing in, take some time and implement your system properly.

“Bigger is better” promotes the idea that the value of an item increases with size, scope, or price.  This may be true when talking about diamonds, but not so much when implementing an Integrated Work Management System (IWMS).  In fact, in many ways, the best idioms to follow with an IWMS implementation are “good things come in small packages” and “take things one step at a time.”

Too many applications at once is an organizational nightmare for those implementing the system.  It requires a lot of energy from all parties and can cause much frustration between departments (IT, FM, CRE, etc.) who may not be used to working together.  Instead of implementing Space Management, Strategic Master Planning, Lease Management, Portfolio Management, Asset Tracking, Building Ops, Preventative Maintenance, and Green Building (phew!) all at once, pick the most important application to implement and focus solely on that.  Once the most important application has been implemented successfully, move on to the next one.

Allow each application implementation to be its own success.  Pick
Space, Lease, Preventative Maintenance, or Asset Tracking first.  Allow
it to succeed.  Once it has succeeded, build on top of that.  Move from
one item to the next, ensuring that the application on which you’re
building has a firm foundation.

Implementing too many applications simultaneously can
overload the system users.  If an individual disagrees with part of
your IWMS implementation, it is easier to address the issues that arise
piecemeal rather than all at once.  Generate success stories with one
application.  Gather advocates as each new application is installed.  As
users see the benefits of the system and feel that their input is
valued they will use the system and encourage others to do so as well.

Taking time allows the development of robust standards (see part 4: Standards).  Move strategically and methodically.  Put a lot of thought into how you’re naming your buildings, leases, assets, etc.  Additionally, taking your time allows you to verify data and business
processes (see part 5: Understanding Your Business Process) as they are developed, thus increasing the trustworthiness of the
data.

Trying to do everything all at once (taking on the bigger is better mentality) in a shortened time frame can be counter intuitive.  It’s not impossible, it just needs to be done carefully with all parties taken into account.

 

Our recommendation is to take baby steps. You will find your IWMS implementation highly successful as you take each application you want to
implement one step at a time. When you take the time to set your system
up properly, individuals using the system will like
it, understand it, and use it frequently.

To be successful you don’t necessarily have to go slowly, you just need to set a reasonable time frame for your company.  Be sure to allow whatever time you may need to ensure realistic success.  It’s not about getting the biggest system up or getting your system up the fastest, it’s about thoughtfully working through each scenario and implementing the applications properly.  Ultimately, you will more often than not get the full system up and running more robustly than those who dive blindly into the chaos of a “bigger is better” implementation.


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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: pt. 5: Understanding Your Business Process

This week we are excited to bring to you part 5 of our series, 10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Understanding your Business Process. If you haven’t read the previous article, read Part 4: Standards here.

Business processes are a set of structured activities or tasks that will accomplish the goals a company has.  All successful companies have a business process implemented that they consistently follow.

What does a business process have to do with IWMS?

An IWMS contains workflows for carrying out various, organization-specific processes.

Each IWMS has levels of capability and customization,
which can be tailored to meet a specific organization’s business process.
Therefore, in order to most successfully implement an IWMS into your
organization, it is crucial to examine and refine your current business
process, then select a system that is powerful and flexible enough to not only fit into your current business process, but to optimize it!

Though many IWMS systems are flexible enough to accommodate
a business’ current processes, others require businesses to change their
process in order to fit the capabilities of the system.

Example 1: Work Orders

Computerized Maintenance Management System) maintains a computer database of information about an organization’s maintenance operations and work orders.  Some work orders are preventative maintenance, which means they are generally a scheduled event fired off on a set increment (3 months, 1 month, 1 week, etc).  When the scheduled work order is initiated, a specific business process, or workflow, will trigger.
One such workflow might be that the work order is sent to a dispatcher, who would then pass it off to the proper supervisor, who would then assign it to a craftsperson to accomplish the job.  Once the craftsperson has completed the job, s/he will update it in the system, which will indicate that the job is complete. Then finally, the supervisor will review the job and send it to Accounts Payable to be closed out.

On the other hand, a less complicated workflow might have the work order sent directly to the craftsperson, notifying the supervisor but bypassing the dispatcher. So the work can begin immediately.

Within a flexible IWMS, the workflow should be able to be modified so that it suits however simple or complicated your business process is.

Example 2: Required Estimate & Approval

Consider an activity for which an estimate and approval is
required. In many cases, this means that:

  1. A work request is generated
  2. A threshold is met that triggers the need for an estimate
  3. The estimate request is routed to the estimator
  4. The estimate is completed and routed to the approver
  5. The approver accepts the estimate and routes the request to the supervisor
  6. The supervisor routes this to the craftsperson

When this happens, the estimate often generates a second
approval, which is dropped into a similar dispatching process as described in example one
before, requiring various hand-offs and approvals.

In both of the above examples, a more flexible IWMS could
help work on an
activity to commence (and likely finish) even sooner.

Having a firm understanding of your business process allows you to select an IWMS that is flexible enough to meet your company’s needs.  A successful IWMS implementation will accept your business process in such a way that the system can be modified so there is very little disturbance to the work force.

If you have bought a system that is not robust enough to meet the needs of your company’s business process, you may have to alter the what is currently in place or look to another IWMS system.

The benefits of selecting a flexible IWMS are clear – it can
easily make any organization more efficient and alleviate unnecessary
responsibilities.  However, the vital aspect of every successful IWMS
implementation is to first familiarize yourself with  your current
business process.  Doing so will allow you to adopt a system that can meet or (ideally) optimize workflows and streamline your entire enterprise!


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Managing Your Facilities in a Modern World

I love my smart phone.  I have friends who still use flip phones.  When I ask them about it, I’m always a little careful.  People who use flip phones can be a little touchy.  If I ask why they don’t use a smart phone, they invariably tell me that the flip phone does everything they need; that they’re used to it; that they don’t need the complexity, bells, and whistles of a smart phone.  If I’m riding with them and use my phone to navigate, or use it to divide the tab at a restaurant, they’re very quiet.

I love Integrated Workplace Management Systems, ARCHIBUS specifically.  I know people who still use spreadsheets and a loose collection of other applications to manage their facilities.  They’re a little like my friends who use flip phones.  They say that spreadsheets do everything they need.  They’re familiar with spreadsheets.  They say they don’t need the bells and whistles that IWMS offers.  Fair enough.

A few months ago, I was visiting with a potential client to talk about implementing a comprehensive Personnel and Occupancy system.  We had a committee of people in the room.  Most were in favor of moving to ARCHIBUS.  A smaller group didn’t see the need.  That smaller group was comfortable with the current system of shared spreadsheets they had in place.

Each building on their large campus had an administrator who was responsible for maintaining the personnel locator spreadsheet and keeping it up to date.  They communicated by email or phone calls to coordinate their efforts, to be sure everyone had an appropriate work space and that there was no duplication.  We gathered the spreadsheets from a small sample of their buildings to do a pilot project, to show them how ARCHIBUS might help them.  When we loaded the data from the spreadsheets into ARCHIBUS, we got some interesting and surprising results.

Some enterprising staff members had taken advantage of the multiple sources of truth for employee locations.  Some had more than one desk or office in a building.  Some had offices in multiple buildings.
Without a single source of truth — an integrated Personnel and Occupancy system — it was impossible to stop people from assigning themselves the luxury of multiple offices.

Now, the Integrated Workplace Management System is fully implemented.  Some of those people still have more than one work space.  They have the political clout or the actual need for that flexibility.  But the space is managed and allocated to meet the goals and purposes of the organization, with consideration for the needs of individuals, of course.  The organization’s investments in real-estate, maintenance, and energy are being managed more effectively.  It’s easier to find people, to make connections, and collaborate.

My impression is that, in some ways, Integrated Workplace Management Systems and smart phones have a lot in common.  They help us manage our resources thoughtfully and purposefully in the face of complexity, change, and limited resources.  It’s possible to get along without IWMS or without a smart phone.  But why would anybody do that?

This week’s article was brought to you by one of our Executive Staff, Tawn.  Tawn is an incredibly valuable member of RSC.  He has 30+ years of experience in Architecture and provides useful insight.  His ability to communicate thoughtfully and thoroughly is one of his best assets


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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 4 — Standards

We are excited to continue this series with the fourth key to a successful IWMS integration: standards. If you haven’t read the previous articles, we recommend you take a quick look at them: 1) Internal Champion, 2) IT Collaboration, and 3) Ownership.

What are standards?

Standardsin this context are defined as conventions for assets, people, and places. Standards create a consistent and predictable system for labeling the assets being tracked. They should be easy to understand so everyone can use them. Standards can be compared to the signage on a road; everyone knows what a stop sign looks like, what it means, and what they are supposed to do when they encounter one. In this way, standards are similar to signage in the sense that they create a common understanding for everyone who sees them.

Standards work for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, standards make reporting much easier and accurate.  They allow individuals who mine the system to look at and make sense of data very quickly. As discussed above, they create a common understanding.   Secondly, and perhaps the most important reason for standards, is that they can be processed by other programs and systems. Data will be pulled out of the IWMS system into an analysis tool to be sorted and adjusted. Standards make it possible to transfer data back with these changes.  When data from the IWMS is synchronized to other systems like HR, CRE, Finance, etc., the other system can easily place the information in the correct locations.  

Creating Standards

It is our recommendation that a company spend several hours working through standards in each of the domains within their IWMS.  The naming conventions must be intelligent in such a way that individuals can look at a piece of data and tell exactly what it means.  When standards are achieved, their IWMS will be implemented much more smoothly.Another important aspect of creating standards is ownership, discussed in part three of this series. One person within the company must own the standards that are created; the standards must be traceable back to that person so that if there are any inconsistencies, that person can make corrections as needed. If there are repeated inconsistencies within the standard, this person can help correct the root of the problem.

Examples of Standards

1) Standards for a building may include the country, city, and street so it can be easily identified in a large group. For a building named US-SF-MARKET, one can easily tell the building is located in the United States on Market Street in San Francisco, CA  

2) Standards for employees could include labels like full time, part time, intern, contract, and vendor, among many others.

When all is said and done, the standards your company uses will create efficiency when it comes to reporting and data transfer and editing. We at RSC recommend that every company create these standards as soon as possible so this efficiency is in place from the beginning and there is no confusion about what belongs where.


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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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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 2 — Appropriate IT Collaboration

A month ago, we shared an article with the first key to a successful IWMS integration: having an internal champion.  This month we are thrilled to share with you part two of this 10-part series, appropriate IT collaboration.

Different Worlds Are Involved In an Integration

When an IWMS is being installed and integrated, several departments are involved within the company that is being integrated. The departments that are usually most closely associated with this are either Corporate Real Estate (CRE) and/or the Facilities Management Department (FM). Appropriate IT Collaboration requires that these internal departments communicate effectively with the IT Department.  When both departments
work together and understand one another, the IWMS runs optimally.

Ever since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which directs reporting accuracy,  IWMS integration has become an area of more importance than before.  This shift in importance on a corporate level has made IWMS a tier one software within many companies.  When a system becomes a tier 2 or tier one within a company, IT controls where it is installed and who has access to it.  In this case, IT will also control the tailoring and customization of the IWMS.

Challenges In Communication Between the IT World and the IWMS World

One of the most common scenarios that can create miscommunication within an IWMS implementation is the differing vocabulary that is used between departments. The vocabulary between the IT world and the IWMS world can cause confusion because they each have their own acronyms, vocabulary, and jargon. At times, this can feel like people from different countries using their respective native tongues to speak to each other; neither person will understand the other because of the language barrier. There must be at least one person that can speak both languages in order to facilitate the conversation and accomplish what both parties desire to accomplish. In this same way, communication between IT and IWMS worlds can be facilitated by someone who is familiar with both worlds and their respective jargon.

Aside from any “language” barriers, IT also has a rigid upgrade and tailoring process.  This process can often be viewed as slowing down an implementation, which is not the case.  IT’s attention to detail minimizes risk and protects the costs of IT support, unnecessary downtime, and the software.

While the process is time consuming, the protection it provides is irreplaceable and necessary. The best way to have a completely successful integration is to communicate effectively between all worlds so everyone can feel comfortable about the implementation.

Another common scenario is the conflict that can occur between departments’ goals. Many IT departments have their own “road map” in order to determine what types of technology they will and
will not support.  As with any business decision, they have a direction on which they will focus and methods with which they intend to support
their decision. IT’s goal in this is not to be difficult or make an
integration more complicated.  They are simply trying to protect their
road map and provide a cost effective IT environment, just as any good
Cost Center would. From the moment the roadmap is created and onwards, someone must ensure the IWMS fits into and can be supported by IT’s road map, or that the IWMS is supported by the 3rd party vendor.

What Does Appropriate IT Collaboration Look Like?

In order to communicate effectively between different worlds, or departments, we suggest having an internal staff member work as a middle man. This person can be your assigned Internal Champion, a business analyst, or anyone who is able to breach the gap in communication between the two worlds. Putting a team member in place that can do this is one of the essential steps to ensuring that your IWMS is integrated smoothly and can accomplish everything that it was put in place to accomplish. In addition to this, communication will be more effective and completing tasks will be more efficient.


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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 1 — Have an Internal Champion

There are 10 essential keys to facilitate a successful Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) implementation that we at RSC have found to be helpful through experience.  Each will be discussed at length over the next few months.

This week’s subject is RSC’s first key to a successful integration: having an Internal Champion.

So what is an Internal Champion?

An Internal Champion is an employee who oversees the implementation of an IWMS.  Some of his or her key responsibilities are publicizing and promoting the IWMS application throughout their company, negotiating between their company and IWMS’ sales team, and ensuring cooperation between departments.

How does having an Internal Champion benefit a company?

Unfortunately, an IWMS is often under-utilized for varying reasons: the company as a whole may be unsure of how to utilize the system to achieve it’s goals, the company may be unfamiliar with how the the system works, and many, many more reasons. Each company is different and has its own unique challenges. The Champion breaches these challenges and ensures that their company’s IWMS is in line with company goals and functions efficiently.  The Champion must manage the appropriate approach and timing of each newly added function of an IWMS system. In this sense, the Champion commits to clearly explaining to the IWMS’ sales team why the company may or may not be ready to integrate a new module to the IWMS.

In the pie chart mentioned a few posts back, we explained that when an IWMS is first being integrated into a company, there are three areas that need to be considered and managed: the company’s own business process, their political arena, or, in other words, the driving reasons and forces behind a company’s requests and needs, and the technology that will be most effective. The Internal Champion would act as an ambassador between internal departments and between the IWMS sales team and his or her own company by knowing and being aware of each of these areas and the driving force each one has. The Champion would then be able to explain and negotiate between each department and then represent the company accurately when implementing the IWMS.

Assign an Internal Champion

An Internal Champion is one of the key steps in implementing an IWMS successfully, and, consequentially, will lead to a flourishing IWMS that gives accurate reports and aids employees in locating, managing, and tracking.


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