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Rebecca Salvatore reports on how TC Facilities Management’s collaboration with Datore to create business intelligence dashboards and provide advanced analytics has helped TCFM support colleagues, manage the COVID-19 pandemic and become the trusted partner of choice for clients

According to research 66 per cent of business leaders are skeptical of new technology’s ability to improve productivity within their organisation. The recent Sigma Bionic Business report found that over 70 per cent of leaders don’t believe tech can positively impact customer relations.

Despite their skepticism, 41 per cent think they will need to implement more technology in the next five years, and innovation is essential to 45 per cent of leaders – thanks to the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit. Lockdown has shifted business online, and as such, clients expect suppliers to follow suit, even within built environments. Up to the minute, instant-access data and reporting are becoming the norm, and the FM sector is only beginning to implement the technology to keep up.

Understanding the data within their business, and building timely, valuable reports for clients and managers was a tediously long process for TC Facilities Management, which is why it brought onboard Datore, a Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics provider, which has enabled them to fully engage with their company data, develop insights, and even make predictions of the future.

ESCAPING “EXCEL-HELL”

In too many organisations, Excel spreadsheets are still standard practice for handling FM data. This is a disadvantage in a world where everything is on-demand and at the click of a button, where clients are seeking rapid, detailed reporting from their FM providers. As a result, when managing multiple sites, employees, locations and divisions, organisations quickly see their spreadsheets spiralling out of control. Collating data in a timely manner is impossible. This was the position in which Paula Byrne, Transformation Director at TCFM, found herself. Winning a prestigious contract with an international eCommerce organisation further compounded her problem.

“The inadequacy of our incumbent reporting processes became rapidly evident,” says Byrne. “The workload, the number of sites, services, and colleagues meant reporting was a data nightmare. Our client stipulated up to the minute reports covering a vast array of KPIs, and our managers needed on-demand insight into their site logistics. It was Excel-hell. We were asking questions of a massive data-set and were always on the back foot, always trying to catch up. By the time we pulled the answers we had needed, we were two weeks down the line, and the moment had passed.”

Data lag is a common problem in the FM industry, explains Datore’s Business Intelligence expert, Graham Perry. “Most FM companies are using multiple technologies, collecting data in various formats. They fail to join them up and get them talking to one another or develop insight into their data. It becomes very time consuming to pull reports from such disparate sources.”

The majority of organisations present reports to their clients monthly, managing a plethora of spreadsheets. Reporting delays can put results months behind the original request. As a result, easily accessible formats of live data are becoming increasingly important to managers and clients.

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Business Intelligence and advanced analytics work hand in hand, enabling informed decisions to be made faster by integrating data from multiple sources and subsequently analysing it to answer the right questions at the right time. “Essentially, it answers the questions about your business that keep you up at night,” says Perry.

“I knew we needed more rapid insights into our data, and Business Intelligence software was the way to go,” says Byrne. Having considered various platforms, Byrne and her team encountered Sisense, a complete end-to-end advanced analytics and Business Intelligence platform that could deliver a highly interactive, accessible user experience. “It’s a brilliant, powerful bit of kit,” says Byrne, “we fell in love with it.” However, despite an incredibly talented in-house team, it quickly became apparent that TCFM didn’t have the skill set required to produce the dashboards they needed. They required an expert, and Sisense recommended Graham Perry at Datore.

Byrne explains: “The team very quickly understood our difficulties and helped us develop a plan. They knew instinctively what our challenges were and what we needed to achieve.”

TCFM relayed their dashboard aspirations, and their vision rapidly took shape. Datore analysed their needs and extracted relevant data from their disparate systems which enabled consolidation into a single analytical data cube, from which data could be evaluated and integrated into informative and intuitive dashboards.

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