FSI launches Version 5 of three flagship products
Launching a new generation of software is a big deal - and at leading workplace technology company FSI the celebrations are three-fold.
The award-winning Facilities Management software firm is unveiling Version 5 of three of its top products - Concept Evolution, FSI GO and Intuitive BI.
The move comes after intensive research into what users are experiencing on the ground, best practice and market trends - an attention to the needs of the user that has become the hallmark of FSI's service delivery. The result is a suite of products that look and feel new, are even more intuitive and achieve greater integration.
As Karl Greenfield, Product Owner of FSI GO, explained: "As a company, we are always looking to enhance the user's experience, to work out exactly how people use the technology and to make their day-to-day job easier.
"Our consultants and sales teams are constantly gathering feedback on the usability of the products and then we hold twice yearly user groups, bringing together 100-plus clients to present our roadmap for the products and to find out their views.
"Whether for Facilities Managers responsible for universities, museums, football clubs and corporate real estate, or a service provider with a workforce spread out over multiple sites, we live and breathe these products and advances in technology - it's important to find out what the users are experiencing and what they need."
The Version 5 updates have all concentrated on updating the user interface and enhancing the user experience. They may seem subtle and natural - this is exactly what the team at FSI have designed them to be.
For FSI GO, the mobile app for engineers, this has meant introducing expanding list views and tabs, so it's easier to flick around the app. This makes functionality such as GPS tracking through job milestones, configurable completion questionnaires and filling out timesheets on-screen in the app more accessible.
With easier-to-use workplace technology, the focus is on boosting efficiency and productivity. This is why the changes to FSI's premier CAFM/IWMS desktop product, Concept Evolution, initially focused on freshening up the appearance and improving the usability, before boosting the administration and technical power.
This is particularly important as, unlike FSI GO which is designed to be picked up and used straightaway by an engineer, the typical user of the desktop application - the helpdesk or dispatcher - wants as much information as they can see on the screen at one time so they can make informed business decisions.
Version 5 gives a wholesale update to the product, while maintaining faithfulness to its 15-year heritage so current users have a seamless experience.
As Paul Durant, Head of Product Strategy, explains: "The people who use the software six to seven hours a day for their main job, are the people who pick up on something that slows them down a small amount - and if they're working on 100 tasks a day then that accumulates and impacts on productivity
"We have looked at making it much easier and quicker to get to the data and see the things they want to work with. You don't have to go through four or five pages to get there - it's there at the click of a button."
The internet, mobile apps and cloud computing have seen the biggest leaps in the evolution of CAFM products. The way we interact with technology and the degree of personalisation we expect has sparked a step-change in the way FSI's products have developed.
Intuitive and easy-to-use are buzzwords for workplace technology. For FSI, it's about making the technology work in the simplest way for a particular individual, even though there's a complex, data-driven process going on behind the scenes.
Colin Stocker, Head of Product Management at FSI partner Intuitive BI, explains the updates to the business intelligence platform: "These programmes are highly-functioning and rely on a huge amount of data. But Intuitive BI is simple and doesn't require lots of training to understand what's going on. You can quickly and efficiently manage vast amounts of data without needing to be a data analyst."
Jennifer Haythorpe, FSI Technical Sales Consultant, adds: "This is not a ‘one size fits all' and static dashboard. You can personalise the data depending on who you are and what you do, whether you're the Facilities Manager, the Finance Manager, the Engineer or a Contractor. You can filter down to an individual building, which is particularly useful with multi-sites or contracts so the user only sees what they're interested in."
With Intuitive BI, the data is presented in the simplest of ways so that users can easily access, understand and take action on the data that is relevant to their role in the facilities management process. The dashboards are designed to highlight areas that need action allowing users to focus in on those items which will help them achieve performance targets.
The product's strength is in its ability to cope with different scenarios and share information so everyone is working from the same data and knows how they are performing, rather than having data silos and bottlenecks caused by having one single owner of the information.
In the facilities management process, there are many stakeholders but each has a slightly different take away from the available data. Intuitive BI allows focused views to be built for Facilities staff, contractors and suppliers giving them each a unique perspective of their part of the process.
The ability to be inventive in FM monitoring, linking datasets and creating pivoted views is a big selling point for Version 5, as data manipulation can be more easily achieved, whilst being fully HTML 5 compliant means the user experience continues across platforms, whether mobile, PC, Mac or tablet - or an interactive screen in a conference room.
The way internet connectivity is changing is difficult to predict. Ten years ago, few would foresee the dominance of the mobile phone. But one thing will continue to shape technological advances - the rapidly-evolving user experience. And that is why FSI are so intent on capturing this at every stage, from the development of Version 5 and beyond.
The benefits at a glance include:
- Enhanced user experience
- Modernised user interface
- Boost efficiency and productivity
- Easier administration, including styling to corporate colours
- Greater integration
- Instant access to required information via tailored views of data
- Reduction in user time