Why is Organizing My Data by Location so Important?

You know that the infrastructures of modern facility portfolios are more complex than most people realize—and far more expensive. The land itself has extraordinary value, each of the buildings cost millions to build and maintain, and the utilities and technology that serve them require constant investment to keep pace with change and demand. For most organizations, facilities-related costs are the second largest budgetary expense, right behind salaries and wages. 

We often hear from real estate professionals that the three most important value drivers for a piece of property are “Location, location, location.”  Though clichéd, the statement is valid—even for facility management professionals. With so much data to organize, it pays to have a system that uses location as the organizing principle to create order of this complex information. That’s where InVision software comes in.

In order to optimize the value and function of a real estate portfolio, facility management professionals must have command of a vast array of information types and systems. Some of this information is directly related facility productivity, like:

  • How many employees are served by our available office space? Do I have too much space or not enough?
  • How many customers have visited this retail location? Can the surrounding demographics support a successful operation or should I close this location and open up a new store somewhere else?
  • How many student classroom hours have been delivered over the past semester? Is this space being thoroughly utilized to provide a full return on investment?

There is also information that is associated with the building’s function and appearance, such as its energy usage, its janitorial contracts, or its maintenance and repair activities. Other information relates to compliance with regulatory agencies, such as OSHA, ADAAG, EPA, etc. Safety and security information shared with public safety providers is vital, too. The list of information that a facility manager is expected to master is seemingly endless.

To add complexity to the situation, all of these different forms of information are housed in their own, often isolated systems that are usually managed by different groups of people. For example, there are:

  • facility management systems,
  • maintenance management systems,
  • building management systems,
  • access control systems,
  • CCTV camera systems,
  • human resources systems,
  • file shares full of lease agreements, occupancy permits, and other documents,
  • compliance reporting systems,
  • hardcopy design documents and floor plans,
  • CAD design and construction data,
  • GIS base maps,
  • BIM design and construction data,
  • and myriad other lists, schedules, manuals, and spreadsheets full of important information that does not have an enterprise information management system to organize it.

Every day, management decisions require that many of these information sources be used in concert with one another.

  • “Where can we drive the tent stakes for the party so that they don’t damage the irrigation lines (or worse, the electrical distribution system)?”
  • “When do we need to bring the middle school up to temperature to ensure it is ready for classes?”
  • “Where do we have enough contiguous space to house an expanding marketing department?”
  • “Where can the people in building 123 go while we renovate that space?”
  • ”If there is an emergency in building 456 at 2:00pm on a Wednesday, who will be in the building and how do we notify them as well as emergency responders?”
  • “Is there sufficient electrical capacity on the south side of this property to support the buildings that are planned to be built there over the next five years?”

Answering any of these questions requires information from many different systems and data formats.

The information must be complete, it must be accurate, and it must be current. And in most campus environments, this information is stored in different locations, either in dusty boxes or computer systems that don’t talk to each other—sometimes even in the minds of facility managers who may soon retire and take the knowledge with them. This disparity is incredibly inefficient but all too common for facility management teams around the world.

Learn more about how InVision Foundation ties together your systems and data.

The challenges of facility management data organization are real, but they are presently solvable. A system like InVision combined with data interoperability tools and information standards make it possible to automate the aggregation of data from different formats and systems. If data is catalogued using location as the organizing principle, disparate information becomes organized and accessible. Georeferenced* data can be made available to decision makers in any combination and displayed graphically. Using a visual, map-based interface, data becomes easier to understand, and is more useful in a wider variety of different business cases.

This new approach to facility management—managing geographically—is already changing how organizations around the globe are operating. Diverse information from many systems and formats brought together through a map-based interface supports an astonishing array of decisions every day.

As a technology strategy, InVision is generally very low impact on existing systems and organizations. It’s nothing like the heavy, expensive, and time consuming “rip and replace” approach that would be expected with a typical “uber-system.” A location-based information system is relatively lightweight and can be put into place quickly with little impact on existing infrastructure. Learn more about our InVision Starter Solutions here…

*To georeference means to associate something with locations in physical space.

  1. A security operations center InVision configuration combined access control systems, CCTV cameras, and intercom systems with their school scheduling information so that officers can know which classrooms are occupied and how many students might be present at any given time.
  2. A large city is using InVision to pull together information about work order history, deferred maintenance, employee assignments, condition information, and capital project requests from all city agencies in order to make better informed decisions about facilities-related capital expenditures.
  3. A federal research campus is using InVision to bring together environmental health and safety information (asbestos, etc.), underground utilities, space use and assignment, and critical research habitats to inform the planning and scheduling of capital renovation projects.

In all of these examples, existing systems (i.e., data sources) have been maintained. However, by organizing information into a location-based data structure, InVision improves the value of these existing systems by making information more accurate and accessible to any group that demonstrates a need.

Check out some InVision case studies here.

Facility management is all about location, location, location.

Using location as the common denominator to create order out of complex facility related data is a concept that is compelling, powerful, and actionable. Location-based FM software solutions georeference not only building footprints, but also floor plans, assets, and countless other forms of facilities data from both sides of the building envelope.

InVision software from PenBay Solutions is a location-based FM software suite that is configurable to solve strategic and tactical problems in:
  • Portfolio Management: Identifying, inventorying, analyzing, and managing property assets, owned or leased, and optimizing portfolio performance.
  • Operations & Maintenance: Optimizing use of space, grounds, and assets while efficiently and sustainably managing and maintaining facilities and infrastructure (indoors, outdoors, and underground)—all while reducing lifecycle costs.
  • Safety & Security: Proactively and effectively securing and protecting people, property, and assets.

By employing a location-based FM solution like InVision software, organizations are quickly reaping the benefits of saving time and money, better protecting lives and assets, and creating safer and more productive environments for building occupants and site visitors.