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Self-Service FM

15 February 2006

Winners of the PFM Award 2005 in the Partners in Business Change category, MASS Systems and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group have achieved a close working relationship that has brought huge benefits to both organisations

MASS SYSTEMS AND THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP (RBS) have been working closely since early 2003 to deliver an Internet-enabled solution for the management of property, space, assets and building services, and provide ‘Self- Service FM’ access to over 100,000 UK-based Bank staff. It is a relationship that has developed beyond that of the traditional customer/supplier model, and both organisations are achieving considerable benefits and forging wide-ranging changes within their respective businesses. As a result MASS Systems has built on its substantial industry expertise, and RBS’ Group Property has found a solution that meets its aspirations to go from ‘Good to Great’ and to provide world class facilities services.

With operational property assets valued in excess of £2.5bn, the Group Property team at RBS needed to get maximum efficiency and benefit from this investment. The aim of this £2m project to implement a web-based FM system is to enable substantial improvements in the management of space, staff moves, helpdesk, cleaning, security, asset maintenance, room bookings and FM service provision. Under the leadership of Barry Varcoe, Director, Group Property, the project established new channels of innovative customer service and provided timely, accurate management information for improved cost and value management. It replaced the Bank’s existing array of disparate facilities-based systems and interfaced with the Bank’s CAD, HR, financial and other property systems.

Through its partnership with MASS Systems, the Bank is on course to achieve its goals of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its facilities services by around 30 per cent during 2005, whilst reducing annual running costs by about £5m.

System security
Following a global tender exercise, RBS chose MASS Systems to deliver what would become a powerful and multi-functional solution based on its ARCHIBUS/FM software system. The size and complexity of the project meant that a close working relationship between the two organisations was essential at strategic, management and operational levels. The project team at MASS Systems worked with RBS to define detailed functional specifications that would allow the Bank to obtain the results it wanted. The complexity and scale of the requirements, the tight timeframes and the high transactional volumes brought about major system security challenges that were overcome through this close collaboration.

The technical teams at RBS and MASS Systems undertook joint development work, pooling resources to provide superior functionality through the system’s web interface known, within RBS, as ‘Facilitator’. MASS Systems provides ongoing advice on further system development, technological advances and new applications and the two organisations continue to work together to achieve mutual benefit from the relationship.

The latest developments include a 'Functionto- Desk' system, which offers a means of identifying the use of each desk e.g. Fully Occupied, Hot Desk or Vacant and a 'Single Viewof Property' system. The latter provides a single property data source with reporting tools to provide timely and accurate management information in relation to rents and rates management disposals and acquisitions, including enhanced identification and management of vacant space.

With Facilitator, RBS has brought an innovative, flexible service model approach to the delivery of its facilities services which is enabling cost reduction, increased efficiency and improved customer service by providing users with a ‘self service’ approach to FM. The system is accessed via the RBS Intranet by staff and externally by suppliers via the Internet, with data being maintained and managed by Group Property.

Providing immediate web-access to users andm contractors alike represents a major change in the way that facilities services are delivered at the Bank. Forty-three Facilities Service Centre (FSC) Operatives and Managers based in London and Edinburgh are responsible for receiving, allocating and managing helpdesk calls from any of the 100,000 plus UK staff, many of which are reported via the Intranet. All helpdesk calls are logged in the Facilitator system.

Staff and suppliers alike have been very impressed with the system, with customer /supplier relationships improving as a result. Suppliers now have access to work requests in which they are involved, ensuring close monitoring of job progress and adherence to SLA's.

RBS management now has an overview of performance and supplier targets, enabling remedial actions to be progressed and effectively managed. Similar benefits are being achieved with the room booking application where currently, in excess of 17,000 reservationsn take place each month.

For MASS Systems, this was the largest and most demanding implementation that it had undertaken to date, involving complex security and volume testing work. RBS helped MASS Systems to re-engineer its project and change management process for large-scale enterprise solutions to enable it cope with the scale of the implementation. The stringent, system security issues were tackled by MASS Systems working with the Boston, US-based ARCHIBUS, Inc. The security levels normally required of FM systems tend to be very low but the security on this system had to meet the same high level required by a banking system. This resulted in complex testing and modification to prove compliance.

The project was divided into several phases, and therefore several 'go live' dates. This meant that a multi-level training programme was required, in which a large number of staff, and contractors were trained. The initial phase of the project was completed at the end of 2003 whilst the last phase was completed during the 1st quarter of 2005. In all, a total of 312 in-house staff and 213 service supplier staffs were trained during this period, to a stardard where many of them were subsequently able to train other users.

Such has been the success of the system that it is receiving international recognition from the ARCHIBUS/FM community. Software Authors, ARCHIBUS, Inc. have presented Barry Varcoe with their ‘Visionary of the Year’ award for 2005 which is given to ‘the individual whose vision and ideas exemplify the most innovative, farseeing technical possibilities and strategies for FM automation’.

MASS Systems has reaped substantial rewards from its partnership with RBS, enabling it to gain new experience and expertise that is valuable for other client implementations. Meeting the rigorous timeframes of the project has led to a refinement of its delivery processes, similarly benefiting other clients, and the work to overcome stringent security issues has also had a positive impact for the wider community of ARCHIBUS/FM users. A further achievement is the launch of a Special Interest Group for the Banking and Finance industry early last year with RBS hosting the inaugural meeting in London. This group meets regularly to share and compare industry knowledge and information and discuss new developments that will benefit all users of the core technology in mthis sector.

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