i-FM Awards for Concept Workflow
FSI, developers of the Concept range of Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software solutions, is pleased to announce they are finalists in the i-FM.net e-business awards 2004, in the e-business category. The e-business award recognises innovation in e-technologies in the FM arena. FSI has been chosen as a finalist for their work on the Elyo/Somerfield project with the Workflow product. The project FSI was approached by client Elyo to help with their contract for the 420 Somerfield supermarket outlets in South Wales, the South West and South East of England. Traditionally the contract relied on heavy administrative input, with double logging of calls to helpdesk from the Somerfield system to the Elyo system. This duplication was not only inefficient, but meant that extra costs were incurred on the contract, and the client (Elyo) tasked FSI, as the CAFM system provider, with developing a solution to this problem. In fact, this double booking system has been a pattern for many contractors. The challenge was to develop an intuitive process that enabled systems and programs to not only talk to each other but relay actions as well. So, essentially, the requirement was to develop a product that would slice through the traditional integration boundaries and ease integration of systems. The R&D team, under the direction of Karl Horner, technical director, set to developing a solution. The entire project became the responsibility of Tony Seale, who joined FSI in 2003 as Development Team Leader. Tony Seale encapsulates the vision for Workflow: “Workflow Professional is all about transferring power from IT managers and FSI consultants to the business managers. Workflow can become the ‘glue’ for business processes. This is the first CAFM module that lets managers and non-experts define and write automated business rules instead of the usual reliance on professional programmers.” Client perspective According to Mark Richards, of Elyo Services, the development of Workflow has “slashed costs and time expended”. With 1,000 engineers, Elyo is responsible to the managing agent for M&E across several of Somerfield’s ‘regions’. He explains: “The problems we encountered were the time-heavy administration of coping with duplicate systems. More importantly, with a minimum of 150 email orders a day, plus re-keying and transfer, sometimes jobs were falling outside of the service level agreement. We needed to find a solution which would be flexible enough to cope with a multi system contract.” FSI perspective According to FSI’s Technical Director Karl Horner, Workflow takes CAFM not just a step forward but leapfrogs a range of communications issues confronted by the FM community. “Elyo’s Somerfield contract was the catalyst – and the development of Workflow – has far reaching implications, with the ability through XML application to link a disparate community of platforms. This truly represents technical understanding and know-how linked with a real solutions-led approach to technology in partnership with our client. One client’s requirement stretched us to thinking beyond the normal constraints of systems to develop a system that empowers our clients. The idea for me was to reduce the amount of complexity that is added to integrated projects. Most of these simple imports and exports do not need heavy development work, and consultants should and are indeed better placed to implement a customer’s business knowledge.” About the i-FM Awards Sponsored by Mowlem, the awards are held in conjunction with the PFM partnership awards, in which FSI are finalists in the Partners in Expert Services category, for their work on the Peterborough County Council project. About i-FM i-FM.net was launched in July 1999 as the first source of daily facilities management news and information on the world wide web. Since then it has evolved continuously to meet the needs of a rapidly maturing and expanding market. At the end of October 2001, i-FM moved to a market intelligence model with full access restricted to licensed users and offering complementary features such as the recruitment pages, industry supported discussion platform and the most comprehensive supplier’s database available to the FM community at large.