Waiter, I'll Need A Workplace For Two: Reserve

Facilities management is beset by many challenges—but also a bright opportunity to reduce costs through clever planning

Service Management in Action

The number of reasons that organizations have to rethink their approach to facilities and workplace management just keeps increasing. And for those who move ahead with new strategies, IBM TRIRIGA solutions are an excellent way to implement them.

What kinds of new facilities challenges are we talking about?

IBM TRIRIGA solutions help make your building and facilities management strategies smarter—in many ways

This is why IBM, in 2011, acquired TRIRIGA—a leading provider of integrated workplace management solutions with particular strengths in real estate and facilities management.

"It's possible to reserve a workplace on someone else's behalf, given authorization, and any necessary internal or third-party work tasks, requests, or POs will automatically be created following the reservation proper."

Using IBM TRIRIGA, organizations can quickly get accurate new insight into previously obscure subjects, answering many questions of immediate relevance, like: How much energy is building X consuming? How can we make that number smaller? Would it be possible to improve space utilization so much that we could consolidate buildings Y and Z—instead only leasing building Y and yet still getting everything done? How can we best empower our growing body of telecommuting employees?

Among the extensive range of IBM TRIRIGA capabilities, one sure to be of interest to forward-looking organizations is its workplace reservation system. The concept of workplace reservation is that shared workplaces, as a flexible business resource, should be managed to best effect—that is, it should be possible to reserve them in a simple, consistent, and intuitive fashion, almost like reserving a table at a restaurant. And when that's possible, worker productivity and the total business value generated by facilities will certainly both increase.

An optimized workplace reservation system means superior productivity, lower costs, and a better business outcome

What do we mean by simple, consistent, and intuitive? Ideally, the reservation process would be possible using the familiar, everyday platform of the user's choice—whether that means the Web, via any standard browser, or Microsoft Outlook, the leading collaboration platform in use by organizations today. And IBM TRIRIGA does indeed support both.

Personal preferences are preserved; this way, the system will check to see if a user's favorite workstation is available first, before looking elsewhere—and if it's not available then (just as with a restaurant), the user can get on a waiting list. Or, if the user needs to choose from among several different options to decide which is best, perhaps because a different site than usual is being visited, a catalog is available that includes photos and floor plans, to help clarify matters.

What if it's more than a question of showing up at a site—the special purpose of the visit demands special infrastructure? It's also possible to use the IBM TRIRIGA system to schedule related assets, should they apply, such as vehicles, IT, or AV equipment, including servers, printers, projectors, cameras, and other assets.

Integration with business processes and an approval system is another strength. It's possible to reserve a workplace on someone else's behalf, given authorization, and any necessary internal or third-party work tasks, requests, or Purchase Orders will automatically be created following the reservation proper. Streamlined processes help ensure that such tasks (example: food services for a large and lengthy presentation) will be executed efficiently and consistently.

Finally, carrying out the process of visiting the reserved workplace couldn't be much simpler. The system can send automatic notifications and calendar alerts on request as reminders, create schedules to reflect which subtasks (if any) have been completed at any given point in time, notify reception and security staff members to expect visitors, and easily allow event managers to modify event times and places via an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

A clear choice for forward-looking organizations

If you look at the bulleted list of facilities challenges that began this article, you'll see how well fulfilled they are by IBM TRIRIGA.

First-rate workplace reservation is certainly a great way to empower telecommuters; should they need a place to work on-site from time to time, it's just a matter of reserving one, made easy by the system that tracks all possible workplaces, all users, their preferences, and all current reservations.

Organizations interested in consolidating buildings, to preclude an expected unwanted impact of the forthcoming leasing accounting rule changes, will probably need to find more efficient ways to make use of building space, so that less of it is required. This too is well addressed through workplace reservation because each shared workplace will create more value. That means fewer total shared workplaces—fewer buildings, in many cases—are necessary.

And for the buildings that remain, ROA should improve. Partly, this is because through workplace reservation, telecommuting becomes a strategy that can be pursued on a larger scale. Fewer employees need continually be at many company work sites; that means lower energy costs, lower facilities costs, and reduced management and maintenance costs in general associated with all such buildings—all of which are directly on point in driving up ROA, while also improving worker productivity and convenience.

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