Mobile Apps and Systems Integration Drive Productivity and Reporting - eCIFM Solutions

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Mobile Apps and Systems Integration Drive Productivity and Reporting

16 Aug
2021

Systems Integration is the key to optimization.  Over the past twenty years, eCIFM has implemented software solutions for many customers, ranging from major Universities and school districts to large City and State Governments, and from Banking and Insurance companies to Retail and Healthcare institutions.  Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) such as IBM TRIRIGA and iOFFICE are well-suited to satisfying the facilities management and reporting needs of many business operations and public services.  Most importantly, an IWMS needs to communicate with the other key systems in the organization to achieve optimal return on investment.

Systems Integration is key to consolidated reporting and business decision making

Mobility options in employee work spurs productivity and worker satisfaction

Training and Mentorship is the catalyst for user adoption and return on investment

Nearly all the projects that eCIFM has implemented for our customers have required some integration with existing systems, such as Human Resources or ERP systems to coordinate employee records with spatial and departmental allocations.  Purchasing systems often need to communicate with the work order component in an IWMS to facilitate and report on parts and materials consumption.  Although a comprehensive IWMS solution can cover all aspects of facility operations and real estate management, it still needs to communicate its data and analysis to the key decision-making realms in the organization.

Systems Integration is key to consolidated reporting and business decision making

For example, at the University of Minnesota, there is a Supplier Diversity Initiative that ensures equitable distribution of projects and services to minority-owned businesses.  Prior to their systems integration, reporting on this initiative was very difficult as it requires input from several parts of the institution.  Furthermore, different campuses were managing their assets using different processes.  Some were using a preventative maintenance regimen while some were using meter readings and others were using a “run-to-fail” approach.  Following the IWMS implementation, all contributing departments were adhering to the same asset management process and the data was able to be easily consolidated up the reporting chain.

At the City of Dallas, eCIFM built an integration to the city’s Financial system and their Geographic Information System (GIS) from their TRIRIGA IWMS, feeding data to their Citizen portal for Public Works projects.  Here, capital projects occurring in a neighborhood are visible to the citizens on a GIS map.  With the new system, administrators can now automatically pull and transfer data across applications to streamline project management. This reduced the amount of time needed to enter and review information, and it produced substantial cost savings in time and labor. Having project financial and schedule data available in TRIRIGA greatly enhanced the City's ability to generate accurate project reports.

 

At Portland Public Schools, eCIFM developed an integration with the district’s Civic Use of Buildings (CUB) portal – a website where citizens can reserve spaces in public buildings for recreational uses, etc.  By extending IWMS functionality to other areas of an organization, the return on investment can be realized in many unexpected ways.

Mobility options in employee work spurs productivity and worker satisfaction

Another key component of our client implementations is eCIFM’s On The Go! (OTG!) Mobile app.  Mobility has become a required platform for productivity and efficiency and, almost every RFP issued in recent years has specified the need for a mobile interface to their IWMS. There are several mobility options available for TRIRIGA, such as ‘perceptive’ apps that display pages on mobile devices, but these require a constant internet connection.  To be fully mobile, the app needs to be able to work offline as well as be able to store enough data for the day’s work. OTG! is designed to work offline for those times when a technician is working in areas without a wireless connection however, it is also a hedge against power failures or network disruptions. 

One of our clients experienced an outage with their TRIRIGA IWMS, causing the desktop users to wait until the system was restored.  They had approximately 300 mobile technicians using eCIFM’s Services On The Go! app, for work orders and planned maintenance, and all of these technicians were able to continue working, closing work tasks and entering labor hours throughout the day.  When the system came back online, OTG! automatically synchronized with the database.

Mobile apps also need to be secure.  The World Bank evaluated all the available mobile apps when implementing their Capital Projects and Maintenance modules of TRIRIGA.  OTG! was the only cloud solution that met the bank’s network security requirements.  eCIFM’s patented data transfer technology communicates directly with the IWMS without the need for a staging or intermediate server.

Training and Mentorship is the catalyst for user adoption and return on investment

“Our client’s success is our success”, is the vision at eCIFM.  Training is key to a successful implementation of an IWMS and it is more than just following user guides.  eCIFM’s professional services staff are some of the most knowledgeable in the business.  Our deep expertise is in all areas of IWMS functionality, from Real Estate Accounting to Capital Projects, from Space Planning to Planned Maintenance, where eCIFM has hundreds of years of collective experience.  eCIFM clients can expect a full knowledge transfer and continued guidance throughout their project and during production.

At the University of Minnesota, eCIFM trained a group of ‘super users’ consisting mostly of managers and supervisors.  By bringing this group online early, testing of both desktop and mobile platforms was more efficient because managers already knew what information was essential to complete the majority of work assignments.  As they deployed to their technicians, they were able to share, “Here’s where I struggled and what I learned”.  Response to this process was very positive and worked well for those unfamiliar with using mobile devices to complete work tasks.

At Portland Public Schools, technicians were initially reluctant to move from paper-based work orders to using mobile devices but that soon changed.  When users got familiar with the system, they realized the benefits: “I am not a computer person and have struggled using the latest technologies. However, learning how to use eCIFM On The Go has been easier than expected and I now get my work tasks coded out quicker than with paper”, said J. Olson, Locksmith. And R. Gay, Control Technician writes, “eCIFM On The Go makes part ordering more efficient. I can organize my work tasks at the supplier and quickly figure out what I need”.

If your firm is considering implementing an IWMS, be sure to consider how it could integrate with other business systems and processes to leverage their strengths.  Evaluate which roles in the organization could benefit from having access to the IWMS from a mobile app, and how that access contributes to efficiencies overall.  Lastly, engage your supervisors and put end-user training on the critical path of the implementation project plan, and the return on investment will be expeditious.

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