Published on 28-Jun-2013
"TRIRIGA is an enterprise-wide decision-support platform that not only improves the quality and accessibility of our campus space data but standardizes it in a way that allows everyone … to use it in ways they never could before." - Pam Rooney, assistant director of facilities planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts - Amherst
IBM Business Partner:
The University of Massachusetts is the five-campus public university system of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The system includes four universities and a medical school. UMass Amherst (UMass) is the flagship campus and is the first to utilize IBM TRIRIGA.
UMass needed to automate and integrate previously manual processes and disconnected systems that hampered facilities planning, space management and indirect cost recovery.
The university implemented IBM® TRIRIGA® workplace management system software to provide space planning decision support, aid indirect cost recovery, and automate space-use information management.
The TRIRIGA system increases efficiency across space-use data collection and reporting processes, providing decision makers with a single source for current and reliable data and floor plans.
As one might expect at a university with more than 250 research, administrative and academic departments occupying 11 million square feet, maintaining current space-use data at UMass is an ongoing challenge for its facility management department.
UMass depends on the department's reports for its capital planning, facility planning and operations, and indirect cost recovery (ICR), the term describing the university's need to recoup facility and administration costs relating to space dedicated to federally supported research. Those efforts suffered, however, because of a lack of integration between the university's two access databases, one that tracked space-use data and the other that tracked individual researcher’s use needed for ICR. Additionally, there was no link between the databases and the university’s AutoCAD drawings. It was not possible to produce floor plans illustrating current space use among departments.
“Whenever we generated a report to show square footage of various use types, someone would manually color-code that information into the floor plans,” says Pam Rooney, assistant director of facilities planning at UMass. “We were re-creating the wheel every time we were asked for space utilization studies, whether for administrative purposes, accreditation processes, ICR reporting or a range of reasons. It was time-consuming and provided only a point-in-time basis for decision making.”
According to Rooney, a review of all science and engineering space finally exposed how serious the need was for an automated integrated workplace management system (IWMS). “We had at least three half-time employees for four months pulling together massive amounts of data and producing drawings. That exposed our inefficiencies and the potential cost of data inaccuracy. We needed to automate the process of collecting and maintaining space-use information.”
Automating floor plan updates to reflect current space-use data
The facility management department subsequently partnered with IBM and IBM Business Partner Business Resource Group (BRG) to implement a suite of IBM TRIRIGA IWMS tools.
As its first priority, the department implemented IBM TRIRIGA Facilities Manager software to automate processes for collecting and maintaining space-use information and for supporting ICR. Concurrently, IBM TRIRIGA CAD Integrator/Publisher software linked the university's space-use database with its electronic floor plans. IBM TRIRIGA Application Builder and IBM TRIRIGA Application Platform software extend the value by providing UMass developers with the graphical configuration tools they need to keep pace with the university's changing requirements.
A longer-term plan called for integrating TRIRIGA software with other campus-wide systems, supporting classroom scheduling, grant tracking, electronic document management, financial systems, maintenance management and human resources systems to graphically display and share current data using web-based portal technologies. This wholesale integration could eliminate redundant and inconsistent data sets, reduce duplicative data entry, improve data reliability and enhance departmental collaboration.
Ensuring data integrity and streamlining data collection and reporting
UMass realized the initial benefits of using TRIRIGA Facilities Manager software during the implementation process. “In that first year, building the basic infrastructure of the TRIRIGA module was paramount, ensuring that accurate data on all of the campus' space was in the system, and that it reported information useful to Higher Education, not commercial interests,” says Rooney. “As we migrated the data and floor plans to the TRIRIGA database and integrated it with other campus systems, we discovered where some data was inaccurate or incomplete. Even though the data had generally been well-maintained, we were able to validate it, which gave us more confidence.”
Manual data collection and input processes had not allowed automatic identification of inconsistencies, redundancies or other errors in the university's ICR efforts. However, by integrating TRIRIGA with its existing human resources (HR) system, UMass now tracks space use and overhead costs down to the principal investigators (PIs)—the individual faculty, staff and grad students involved in specific research projects.
Providing a single source of information across 250 university departments
“TRIRIGA gives us much greater sophistication and granularity. We can electronically track multiple principal investigators using the same space and pro-rate the percentage of the space and overhead each is using,” says Rooney. “With over 850,000 square feet of research labs, plus support spaces and offices, we expect a marked level of accuracy in specific utilization of space used per PI. That should help us recover more indirect costs in the next review cycle.”
Rooney adds that although UMass won’t realize the full extent of the time savings related to compiling individualized and department-level reports until the TRIRIGA system is fully deployed, automation and self-service capabilities will significantly increase efficiencies. For instance, a web-based ICR space survey, developed by BRG and UMass and linked to TRIRIGA, will transform a previously manual effort of retrieving and documenting space changes across all 250 departments—decreasing the project time by 67 percent, from three years to one year. With the tool, survey recipients can also access space reports and graphic floor plans for their departments and notify facilities planning of changes on an ongoing basis.
“TRIRIGA is an enterprise-wide decision-support platform that not only improves the quality and accessibility of our campus space data but standardizes it in a way that allows everyone, from asset managers to the people scheduling classrooms, to use it in ways they never could before,” says Rooney.
For more information
To learn more about IBM TRIRIGA IWMS software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/tivoli
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