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Death of Spreadsheet

Communications in Facilities: Death of the Spreadsheet

We all know that a good spreadsheet can perform magic with data. Collating and streamlining information for your team to process and organise your plans. Tracking the impact of work already carried out – as well as balancing the books. There are more ways to utilise a spreadsheet than there are minutes in a day.

Although spreadsheets are a handy tool, many businesses still rely on formulas doing their thing and saving the file. Tucking it away in a digital folder and moving on to the next job without using or sharing the data. A good spreadsheet is useful but relying entirely on spreadsheets could be letting your business down.

Communications in Facilities

Let’s explore some of the ways that spreadsheets are failing your organisation:

Sharing information

Excel is truly powerful when it’s being fully utilised. It can process huge amounts of data and collate, compute, predict and tally that data in ways that a person can’t.

But what use is that if you just click save, close the file and move on? Data is king – exploring and measuring data to show the impact of your work allows you to track your organisation’s performance. Without sharing the results of your data, your business will stagnate. The world moves quickly – you need to embrace tools that will allow you to keep up. ​

Too much data being ignored

Whether you’re running one small team or a network of offices across the country, the sheer amount of data being stored and ignored is staggering. Relying on spreadsheets to collate data is a missed opportunity to improve performance and get the best from your workforce.

The business has outgrown it

Technology has improved significantly and rapidly. You may have been so focused on growing your business that you forgot to invest in processes and systems which can keep up with that growth. Now you have a bigger team spread over a larger area, with staff spending time chasing paperwork and inputting data. They are going through the motions without any assessment of the information, and no real idea of why the process exists in the first place.

Don’t get stuck in a rut – future proof your business by moving away from outdated processes.

Integrity of data

When relying on people manually filling in paperwork there are many different stages where mistakes can occur. Having different people inputting information into the same spreadsheets. Passing results to yet another person to process and assess. Information can easily be confused, missed or lost.

Human error is the biggest cause of failures in this kind of process.

Manual vs automation

Why spend hours, days and weeks manually processing information which could be instantly collated and assessed by a digital system? People can access information at the touch of a button, compiling reports in moments. This can reduce the number of administrative staff you need, saving money on recruitment and salaries.

Data tracking

Manual systems and spreadsheets can seem like a game of Chinese Whispers – hard to trace who did what and where, because information is so limited. Unless you have people manually inputting who has done what (another clunky and time-consuming approach) there is very little information on who is performing well, who needs support, and how to plan for the next project.

The spreadsheet is dead.

Hopefully we’ve helped to shine a light on some of the limitations of relying on spreadsheets in your business. We have worked with organisations in the Facilities Management industry for many years and have seen the impact of our digital systems in reducing costs and improving data quality all over the world.

If you feel held back by maintaining an outdated process and want to see how our system could help streamline your data, call today on  0203 411 1795 or visit the website at www.mobiess.com for more details.

 

Clipboard or tablet?

Which is most efficient; clipboard or tablet?

Obviously, in modern business, we all have access to computers, and have used them in our work – or know that the work we do is recorded somewhere, by someone, on computers. The systems record our working hours, the tasks we complete, the customers and contact information we need to maintain, and anything recorded on paper is, eventually, referenced in or linked to digitised data.

Facilities management is no exception – and most of the scheduling and recording of information relevant to our work is inputted in digital systems – but there are still a great many places where information is being processed on paper, work is distributed on paper, inspections are completed with a clipboard and a pen, and the information is collated in a central office. This can be cumbersome, slow and, the more hands which touch data before it is stored, the more opportunities there are for mistakes to be made, errors to slip into the system, and some areas are overlooked, ink smudges, pens run out, paper gets damaged or lost, and information doesn’t get stored or shared as quickly or with as much detail as it ought to be.

Most organisations now use a combination of core business applications and spreadsheets to run their processes and organise business functions. Spreadsheets fulfil an important role in these – allowing even non-technical staff to bridge the gap between applications and process, to allow the organisation to function efficiently.

However; a great many facilities management teams still have field staff collecting critical business data with a combined approach of pen and paper, with clipboards of information sheets that need to be filled, filed and submitted to the office – and some excel sheets on tablets to digitise aspects of the data.

Whilst these steps towards digitisation have moved things forward, and simplified some processes, it actually makes things more complex. There are gaps in the data and knowledge being shared, and it actually isolates data more than sharing it across the board, as the information is being stored locally, and not always explored by the wider team.

Obviously – as designers of mobile solutions – we are pro-tech, and will sing the praises of e-forms and digital systems; we often hear “I can collect the information more quickly on paper” – and if collecting information was all that you wanted to do, that would be fine…but what use is isolated data? We don’t collect information simply to pop it away in a box – it’s stored and processed to share and retain information, to streamline work processes, to update maintenance work and compliance inspections, and to schedule and delegate tasks to the appropriate teams.

Collecting this information on paper means that it sits in the cab of a van, or in a car’s back seat, until the team member visits the office, where it is handed to someone at a desk. This person will then input the data into an excel spreadsheet so that there is a digital, sharable copy of the information. This then needs to be imported to a database, with countless validations necessary – and much of the data can end up being rejected.

Compare this labourious process to an organisation using an e-form solution; all of those validations and rules can be plugged into the digital platform, and every tablet and mobile device being used to access and populate the forms are primed in advance, to prevent information being rejected; the person inputting the data is promoted to provide the correct information there and then.

This ensures that all the data being collected is high quality and relevant – and then present the data in a clear and informative way, comparable to previous periods, other sites, upcoming schedules and timetables for ongoing works.

This usable data isn’t simply filed away, and collecting it is far more than a box-ticking exercise; data is a first class citizen, and can revolutionise your processes if it’s handled well.

Smart data is useful to the whole team, immediately updating newly inputted data so that anyone who has access to the system can see real-time updates, respond in the moment, and streamline the processes and information sharing which are so vital in facilities management.

Picture meeting with your client to discuss the agreed KPIs; their scoring, comments, requests and actions are inputted to the tablet through the meeting, and the data is collated immediately to present a branded report of that meeting directly to the client, before you’ve even left the room. All non-conformities are raised as help desk tasks in your CAFM system, and everyone is up to date on where the project stands, what needs to be done, and who is taking ownership of each task. This is smart data, and smart companies, at work.

Call our team today to see how we can help automate your processes, and drive smart data into your business  using our highly configurable e-forms and auditing platforms ; call today on 0203 411 1795 or visit https://www.mobiess.com/ to request a demo of our systems, and let us start your path to collecting smart data.

Mobile Work Order Management for SME

Once, in years gone by, making your business mobile was left to the big dogs – companies with huge budgets who could invest in the expensive technologies and server space necessary for making mobile working possible.

Team members had to be given specialist equipment. It was a clunky and often frustrating process accessing the data and files they needed. Mobile working was not only expensive because of the technology required but also because of the constant ongoing support it demanded, not to mention the frustrations of slow and patchy internet access in some locations.

These days almost everyone carries a smartphone in their pocket, and the technology available is affordable, widely used and well understood. What was once a ‘would be nice’ is now a must for most people – accessing our emails, websites and data wherever we are.

The expense and problems of cumbersome servers have also been eradicated, thanks to the development of Cloud technologies.

Mobile Work Order Management for SME

So what’s stopping you taking advantage of mobile working for your business?

The wonderful thing about Cloud technology is that there is no limit to the amount of data that can be stored and accessed from anywhere by anyone with the right permissions. A smartphone is a piece of equipment that we are all familiar with. The range of apps and capabilities that these modern pocket-wonders have means that there are no limits to the ways they can be used for businesses.

From communication to corporate file sharing, mobile working has never been easier. Getting a response to queries or accessing important documents can be done in an instant. Forgotten your presentation? No problem – just download it from the Cloud. Want to send an important document to a client? Not an issue; email it right there from your phone.

More Flexible Workforce

People can still feel daunted by the idea of mobile working – but when you consider the amount of time we spend on our smartphone, it seems that the next generation have essentially grown up with an innate understanding of the benefits of the technologies available. The door has opened to allow more flexible working patterns, with your team no longer tied to their desk. The fast-paced world of business has moved quickly, embracing these technological developments. People expect immediate responses, fast turnarounds and 24-hour communication from the brands they’re dealing with.

The Multiple Advantages of SME

This is where SME have a benefit over bigger companies – less likely to be dependent on out-of-date processes or the slower uptake of new technologies. SME have their pick of the market because they can leapfrog the slower processes of their bigger competitors, tracking their workload on the go and responding to customers demands from wherever they are.

Embracing change takes time, and in a bigger company the rollout for this change can be cumbersome and time consuming; here’s where the SME have the advantage. More agile and adaptable to change, the uptake of Cloud technologies and mobile devices has levelled the playing field. Smaller businesses can outpace the bigger, more staid businesses and give the customer what they want faster, more efficiently and with less steps needed to perform.

Go Paperless

Not only that, but the huge reduction in cost and work hours that were once spent on paperwork means financial savings and greater efficiency; no longer are we printing contracts and waiting on the mail run, or searching through years-worth of files in cabinets for relevant files. With everything stored on the Cloud we can share files digitally, immediately and access data from anywhere.

The savings on printing alone can make a huge difference to a smaller business, not to mention benefits of sharing files with clients, sending information to customers, or getting the all-important contract in front of the vital decision maker. He can sign on the dotted line as you’re closing the deal in a meeting, without having to wait a week for the postal system to deliver.

Embrace the Change

In a business world that’s growing ever-faster, embracing the change and the new technologies as they appear not only means that you’re ahead of the game, but your fast responses, efficiency and accessibility instil confidence in your customer base; they can trust that you are on the ball, and that you’re there when they need you.

For tips for Implementing a Mobile Workforce Management Solution to ensure a smooth transition and a guaranteed success check our blog post 10 Best Practices for Implementing a Mobile Workforce Management System .