Work has continued on the event management and room reservation functionality of STABLE. Devonne Washington has held numerous meetings with the individuals across campus who are involved in either room approvals and/or event coordination. The focus has been to confirm the event spaces and various rules and attributes of each space. With nearly 100 people involved in this process across campus, this has been quite a large effort!
One of the major pain points for outdoor events is the management of the outdoor request approval process. The current process is facilitated in DocuSign. Event requests are submitted months in advance to reserve the space. However, often these requests do not have all the details of the event, which is critical for approval. Requestors do not have visibility into the status of their event request as the form circulates to multiple areas for review. In order to enhance this process, the reservation of an outdoor space can occur separately from the actual event request process. A space can be reserved but will not be confirmed until the event request has been approved. We’ve also greatly simplified the approval process—narrowing it down to only 3-4 approvals. Requestors will be able to view the status of their request as it moves through the different approvals. Finally, we have revamped the questionnaire to include additional details that are important for campus safety.
Work is also underway for an enhanced event website. There are many different rules and processes that must be followed for compliance, risk and safety issues. However, these are currently distributed across the SMU website in various locations. In order to help guide requestors through the event process, it is critical we have a single portal that helps guide them through the process. This is a highly collaborative effort to gather the location information, pictures, rules, forms and more.
For indoor locations, we are building out the room request process to provide additional information about each space as well as images that give you various viewpoints of the room. Each space will have all of the technology components listed. These components will also serve as a filter to assist you in locating a space that meets your needs. Room reservations will be quick and easy and can be managed within the STABLE portal. Indoor events, similar to the outdoor event process, will have a secondary form to be completed that will capture the required details to ensure better coordination and safety of your event.
For both the indoor and outdoor event process, requestors can select the various services required for the event. this will generate a work order for each service provider but all work orders will be linked to the primary event request. This means better coordination across multiple service providers regarding each event. If your event is canceled or rescheduled, the various suborders will be updated- all in one location.
We will be completing the configuration of STABLE by the beginning of November. At that time, we will conduct some initial reviews from our stakeholders and make any additional adjustments. Training sessions will be scheduled and offered in December and early January. We will go live with the new processes on January 10. We appreciate all of the collaboration and patience as we launch this new event and room management platform.
We have been posting blog updates over the last year highlighting features of the new system as they were being designed, and now we are celebrating a major milestone. On June 21, we went live with all modules for Facilities Maintenance. This included work orders, preventative maintenance, warehouse management, purchasing and financial reconciliation, assets and more. As the system was launched, we continued to adapt and modify the various forms, workflows and processes based on feedback from the community. As with any new system, there is a significant learning curve. However, we are off and running! As you interact with the new system, you may notice a few features that we hope you find helpful.
- Forms are easier to complete and navigate. These forms go directly to the appropriate teams to facilitate which should expedite the response.
- Customer Feedback Forms: You now can provide feedback on the service and response time via the portal (smu.edu/stable). Feedback forms are available from the portal up to two weeks after the request has been marked complete. The feedback is important as we continue to improve our service to campus.
- Order Lookup Gadget: You can now lookup the status of any order via the portal as long as you know the order number.
- My order gadget: This allows you a quick look at your submitted requests along with their status.
- My Keys: This gadget displays all keys that are assigned to you. There will be future processes to help us correct our key records as we know many keys are transferred within the schools and departments without updating this master inventory. However, if you notice any errors, we welcome your feedback so we can make the appropriate updates.
Below are additional features that will be implemented over the fall semester to further enhance your experience.
- Dashboards and reporting: Many areas have requested the ability to view all issues in a building or a department. We understand how powerful this access can be and will work on delivering those reports over the next several weeks.
- Space categorization and review: Several efforts are underway to update space categories for all spaces across campus and verify the data with our operational partners in departments. This will achieve improved accuracy in reporting on how space is used on campus like: available space, current utilization, and distribution of space types.
- Internal Service Level Agreements: We will enable various SLAs which help measure and monitor the response and resolution times for requests within the system. Although these are internal measurements, they ultimately ensure better service and response times for the campus.
As we continue to refine and develop the modules that are live, we are also working diligently on the next set of processes to be implemented. This month, we will launch new functionality for real estate management, health and safety features, tools for managing small facilities projects, and the functionality to report on grant allocation per space. The actual data for the grant allocation will be collected and imported over the fall semester.
Room reservations and event management implementation has extended to January 2022 in order to work more closely with each of the critical stakeholders across campus and release a much-improved process for all. We will provide additional updates throughout the fall as that work unfolds.
Finally, work is beginning on the OIT ticketing implementation. Due to the complexity of the IT processes, this implementation will extend until summer 2022.
Stable introduces a number of tools to support various processes. In order for the implementation to be successful, all of the technicians and managers must adjust to the new software and learn the various steps required for each different support type. Phase 1 focuses primarily on Facilities staff. However, the future phases will include individuals from all over campus. With that in mind, we have developed several different training options for individuals to become acquainted with the software.
- In-Person Training: During the month of June, we will host a series of in-person training sessions based on certain processes. Several of these will be hands-on courses. Others will be presentations followed by sample assignments in our test environment.
- On-Demand Videos: We’ve also recorded short, on-demand videos for each of the modules. These appear alongside the step-by-step instruction and can be helpful as a refresher course or to assist with onboarding new staff.
- Wiki documentation: We have populated a wiki site with step-by-step instructions as well as embedded videos. Using the wiki instead of formal documentation allows us to quickly update and modify the instructions as needed.
- Quick Guides: We will also provide several quick start guides to serve as a general reminder of the tasks for each module.
We will follow this same procedure for phase 2 and phase 3 deliverables to ensure staff are ready to respond to requests as we go live. Links to all of the documentation and training resources will be available from the service page. This page will be published in time for go-live and will provide access to the software, reports and supporting documentation for STABLE.
Finally, during each Go Live phase, we will have dedicated support staff to answer questions and assist. For Phase 1, we will have staff temporarily located in Dawson to help support the facilities staff with the new software. The official go-live date has been set for June 21, 2021!
On SMU’s campus there are varied mechanisms used to reserve space in a building including: software, simple online forms, Outlook calendars, signs on the door, or even calling an individual to coordinate. STABLE will offer a centralized and streamlined solution for room reservations across campus. With a database to search for a room with the criteria you need for your meeting (whiteboards, projector, computer, etc.), you will be able to see all spaces that meet your criteria and their availability. Spaces that are scheduled via Outlook can continue to be booked the same way and the schedules will automatically update in Stable to prevent double-booking. Additionally, unique spaces that require approval will be set up to route to the appropriate individual through the system. This new system will also provide robust reporting on utilization of spaces to assist in planning efforts. Over the summer we will conclude the configuration and testing and launch to the greater campus community in August of 2021.
The Reactive Maintenance module is perhaps the largest and most complex module. There are many different components involved to facilitate the customer request process, communication internally as well as with the requestor, financial processing, and reporting.
Customers will be able to enter a request via a website, mobile application or by calling the service desk. As those are entered, defined rules will generate the appropriate work orders and route them automatically to the appropriate teams. The team leads will then review and assign the request to the appropriate technicians for dispatch. The technicians will have their own mobile application to help manage their tickets. This allows them to easily track time, communicate to the supervisor on ticket status, order parts from the warehouse, and locate critical documents such as procedures for health and safety or asset manuals if they are available. As the work completes, the managers will review and sign off on the completion of the request. Any financial charges related to parts or labor will automatically be queued for processing in SMU Financials. Customers can view the status of their request throughout the process as well as complete the feedback form at the conclusion of each request.
Also configured in this module are the service level agreements to ensure a more consistent and timely handling of requests. These SLAs will alert technicians and managers if a work order has not been approved, assigned or completed in an appropriate timeframe. Various dashboards and alerts will ensure your request is addressed and resolved as quickly and carefully as possible.
Due to the complexity of this module, it will certainly evolve over time as we continue to refine the configuration and implement new features. However, we are excited to provide a more streamlined experience and more transparency into the progress of your requests this summer.
The STABLE implementation is full swing. After more than a year of planning and discussions about required functionality, the software is finally in our hands to configure and populate with the necessary data prior to Go Live. This project is extremely complex and involves many different departments, business processes, and integrations with existing SMU systems. The implementation timeline is very aggressive but dictated in part by the expiration of several critical software solutions currently in use. Therefore, the implementation timeline and plan has been revised to span three distinct Go Live phases.
Phase 1: June 2021
During the first phase, we will introduce several modules to be used by Facilities staff for managing work orders. In this phase, our campus will be introduced to a new ticket submission portal that allows them to request facilities services and track those requests to completion. Facilities teams will begin using this new platform for the following processes:
- Reactive Maintenance: Customer requests of issues, needed repairs, or requests for services
- Preventative Maintenance: scheduled checks or maintenance tasks to avoid future issues
- Key management: including requesting or returning keys and tracking key assignments
- Asset Management: tracking facilities Assets and maintenance activities related to those components
- Tools and Reservations: internal process for reserving tools and equipment required by technicians to complete the work
- Small Projects: Ability to aggregate costs from multiple work orders as they pertain to a single scope of work
- Warehouse Management and Purchasing: Various functions related to the facilities warehouse of parts used for work orders and the financial reconciliation of those costs
- Financial accounting for all services, parts, etc.: integration with Financials.SMU to streamline the accounting reconciliation for work orders and small projects
Work is currently underway in all of these modules. Data is being collected and imported into the system for use. Processes are being refined and the various fields within the software are being configured. The initial testing is nearly complete. Our attention will now focus on developing the training to support the Go Live, review the processes with the business owners and make adjustments as needed, and complete the next round of testing. Communication and marketing plans are being solidified. The campus should expect more detailed information pertaining to the Phase 1 Go Live towards the end of April and the beginning of May.
Phase 2: August 2021
During the summer, we will complete the configuration and testing of several additional components. These will be implemented prior to the start of the Fall semester. These include
- Room Scheduling
- Event Management
- Grant information mapped to space data
- Real Estate management
- Health and Safety
Work on each of these modules is underway now, although most of the attention is on items critical for phase 1. Additional information on each of these modules will appear in the weekly blog posts (https://www.smu.edu/BusinessFinance/facilities/IWMS_Implementation). There will be plenty of training opportunities and increased communication with stakeholders in each of these areas beginning in early summer.
Phase 3: December 2021
Finally, we will gradually implement several of these modules for OIT to replace the current ticketing system. Once this is in place, the campus will be able to request services and support from Facilities, OIT, and several other campus departments all within one portal.
We are excited to introduce this technology to campus and more importantly transform the way we support SMU. Please refer back to the project site regularly as blog updates are posted weekly to provide additional context for each of the modules being implemented. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to either Allison Day or Rachel Mulry.
In partnership with Risk Management, the Health and Safety module will provide critical information about hazardous materials, confined spaces, safety protocols and more for technicians in the field. This module will allow for the capture of important details on high profile assets and specialized. Additionally, this module will allow automated notifications to the technicians that will allow them to anticipate what protective equipment would be necessary and any advance notification or planning that would be expected prior to working in a particular space. It will also alert technicians to spaces that have restricted access rules or where special arrangements must be made for the work. This proactive approach in combination with having the critical data centralized in the same software will optimize a technician’s time-management when scheduling the work. It will also enhance reporting utilized by Risk Management for a varied number of services it performs for the campus. The initial implementation will be limited in scope. However, the framework and tools will be in place to expand as necessary to support the various initiatives and objectives of Risk Management.
The Stock and Warehouse Purchases module in STABLE provides several critical functions for maintaining our campus. Our warehouse functions as a mini-store. Parts are ordered, organized, and inventoried regularly to ensure proper stocking levels. The warehouse is responsible for then tracking inventory counts to cross check the reconciliation of costs. They are also responsible for reviewing the purchasing demand for both in stock purchases and one time purchases to assess if changes in our product selection are needed.
An inventory of common parts and tools are kept for rapid installation on campus as part of the work order repairs. Technicians can assess the parts required to complete the repair work, pick-up the parts from the warehouse, and complete the order. Reconciling the parts used to the actual work order as well as the accounting codes for cost reconciliation is critical.
A second function of this module is to facilitate the ordering of less frequently used items required for a repair. These items are not kept in our stock inventory. However, knowing the anticipated cost, time for delivery, and appropriate vendors ensures that a needed part can be obtained as quickly as possible.
All of these functions are designed to ensure we are purchasing parts at the best price while having the necessary components on hand for rapid resolution of the repairs. STABLE provides an entire suite of tools to facilitate the warehouse management processes as well as the purchasing processes from the technicians. Technicians will be able to generate a request for parts from their mobile device directly from the order itself. The warehouse can prepare the part for pickup. The technician can then retrieve the part and complete the repair with minimal delay. These processes currently require significant manual efforts supported by many spreadsheets and emails. STABLE will introduce a more streamlined and robust process for supporting this critical department.
The asset management module in STABLE will be used to capture existing and new equipment, building or technology assets. This process will track asset data as well as warranty and repair information. This could be parts of an HVAC system in a building or the overhead projector installed in a classroom. Assets can be varying sizes and serve a range of purposes but they all affect the performance of the campus.
Tracking the warranty information in the same system with the assets and work orders will enable each department to know when a work order is submitted on the equipment if it should be fixed by our team or submitted to the vendor holding the warranty. Optimizing repairs with warranties can save a considerable amount of money for the university.
In addition to repairs, the asset management module will allow us to forecast expenses based on replacement lifecycles. For example, there are rules in place determine the lifecycle of a computer, classroom equipment, and other tools. We will be able to forecast upcoming replacement costs and better plan for the replacement of critical systems before they reach end of life.
The asset management tool also allows us to assign preventive maintenance schedules to each asset. These preventive maintenance schedules prompt our teams to check the equipment at the industry standard frequency to ensure they are performing optimally. All of these components of asset management combine to maximize our use and the longevity of equipment on SMU’s campus.
Quick and thorough response to issues around campus is a critical component of facilities support. However, the foundation of the facility maintenance is built on proactive campus care with preventive maintenance. Rather than waiting for issues to occur, Facilities focuses on maintaining and tracking equipment performance, minimizing foreseeable emergencies and strengthening campus building performance.
The preventive maintenance module begins with compiling all of the asset data into STABLE. Then each equipment asset is assigned a schedule based on industry standards to check the equipment and evaluate its performance. The frequency is often monthly, quarterly, or annual and this process is performed in a partnership between the SMU Maintenance and Grounds Department as well as our partner, Siemens. Checking the equipment proactively allows Facilities to detect subtle changes in performance or appearance that could indicate future failure. With early detection emergencies become repairs, money is saved, and building performance is maintained.
These preventive maintenance tasks are folded into the field technicians’ daily tasks in addition to the work they do on tickets submitted from the campus community. STABLE will offer us the opportunity to begin reporting not only on the tickets submitted by the campus community but the preventive maintenance tickets as well. It will also help us plan and schedule these maintenance activities more programmatically so that critical maintenance is not overlooked.