Liverpool John Moores University

Client – Liverpool John Moores University

Author - Joe Maleczek 

About the University -

"The Liverpool Mechanics Institute was founded by people of power and influence who recognised the transformative effects of education and the impact that learning and aspiration could have on individuals, communities and society. It was the first such institution to be founded in England.


This small, pioneering movement was followed by the establishment of the Liverpool Institute and School of Art and the Liverpool Nautical College, and in 1900 Irene Mabel Marsh opened the IM Marsh campus. These organisations together laid the foundations for Liverpool John Moores University, an institution that has grown and flourished and continues to provide opportunities for all."


Web-based ARCHIBUS facilitates FM at LJMU


“The most important goal for me is letting senior managers see and use the space information as a critical resource. Senior managers have a stake in the FM system because it is a key driver for effective resource management. They also want to see what space they have and what can be developed”- Mark Nevitt

Direct and user-friendly web-enabled access encourages Liverpool John Moores University management at all levels to gain more value from its ARCHIBUS FM system, supplied and supported by MASS. What’s more, a field service system from the supplier that works on ubiquitous smartphones and tablets will be linked to the FM system and promises to streamline operations still further


Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is using the web version of Archibus to enable management at all levels and in many departments to engage directly with the facilities management system. This will allow data about use of space to be entered straight into the FM system by these users, speeding up strategic processes like preparing annual reports for submission to the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA). 


In the near-term ARCHIBUS maintenance management software will be added to the existing space management application, and a field service system called FieldFlex introduced that will work on smartphones and web-enabled tablets. Longer-term efficiency plans include linking the FM system to financial and human resource (HR) systems so that key data about the whole of the University’s business will be available immediately to all relevant management staff.


The aim is to create a highly integrated, comprehensive and agile FM resource that will become a core business system says Mark Nevitt, the University’s Assistant Director for Estate Management. “Across the University, it will make data about one of LJMU’s largest expenditures, its property portfolio, space and related facilities, available to all management responsible for the funding, use and maintenance of these assets. It will also mean data need only be entered once and will then be shared by FM and non-FM managers throughout the organisation.” Records will be accurate, up-to-date and reliable, processes can be streamlined and the whole business of the University made more efficient and responsive, he explains. 


One of the main reasons it is so important to devolve access to Archibus is that LJMU is a big university in terms of estate and property. It has three dispersed campus sites and over forty buildings, some historically important and some ultra-modern, plus a wide range of high-tech workplace assets. The estates budget amounts to over £15m annually. There is intense pressure to maintain top standards in a fiercely competitive and global higher education market.



Devolving Archibus to non-FM managers 

Over fifteen years ago, to help manage all these requirements, the university invested in an Archibus FM system, supplied, installed and maintained ever since by Mass. Mark Nevitt vigorously promotes the system to university managers – relevant academic and operational staff - as one that should be seen a core business resource, like the university’s finance and HR systems. It is vital that management – from heads of department to operational staff – take ownership of their space allocation, cut waste and minimise response time. “The most important goal for me is letting senior managers see and use the space information as a critical resource,” he says. “Senior managers have a stake in the system because it is a key driver for effective resource management. They also want to see what space they have and what can be developed.”


Issues are inevitable and one Nevitt and his colleagues initially faced was ARCHIBUSrchibus only being available on a single workstation. As space management is so important he wanted not only facilities managers to use it, but also authorised non-FM management – managers of departments and others - so they could enter or access useful data directly and immediately. He says with other core business systems in the university – financial and human resources – managers can do that. Crucially, in relation to those systems, they can work better because they can see and act on data that is up-to-date and accurate.



The answer to the problem was the launch by ARCHIBUSof the software developer’s collaborative and Internet-based Web Central product. Compared to client-server systems, it enables many users to quickly access the FM system using a simple web browser – from their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Interfaces may be tailored to specific user requirements, so they can use the system on their own terms.


 “The really critical component of this story is the move to Web Central because I think a lot of universities may still be working on client-server systems, and perhaps will start to think about the benefits of moving to the web. That’s where we've been pleased with the development of that greater engagement, that greater ownership of space data within our organisation, and that has huge benefits,” says Nevitt. He is now looking at integrating other Archibus modules with the space management software, namely the maintenance application. “At the moment we have a separate system for maintenance and it makes sense to have one system that integrates space management and facilities maintenance management.”


Web-enabled FM service in the field


LJMU is also considering another offering from Mass, FieldFlex. This is a web-based set of field service applications that operates on ubiquitous smartphones and tablets, not costly and dedicated hand-held devices. The applications interface straight to ARCHIBUS, so data handling is direct and immediate, leading to shorter processes, higher accuracy and cost savings. On the move, without having to wait until back in the office, an FM or service engineer can instantly receive an update works orders, create on-demand ‘trouble’ reports, ‘to-do’ tickets and works completion confirmation, and record the condition and location of physical assets. In addition, it supports the growing BYOD trend – ‘bring your own device’ - or the popularity of using personal smartphones and tablets for leisure and business.

The ability to link Archibus to iPads, smartphones and other mobile devices is an important benefit, says Nevitt. “A lot of our work is mobile and in real time. The ability to link the ARCHIBUS system to work taking place within our buildings in a real-time scenario is great,” he explains. Having so much space to manage – over forty buildings spread across three campuses – makes FieldFlex technology ideal and will help manage service level agreements. “It’s a huge plus for us,” he says. “For example, going back to the maintenance system, one of the pluses we can see in the maintenance system, part of the building operations module, is service level agreements”. Putting in place a service level management system is something Nevitt has been working towards. It entails specifying what service is to be provided and monitoring that performance against the specification. He rates the ARCHIBUS service level agreements function as second to none. “It enables us to put into the system our performance criteria, and then monitor the outcomes against those criteria.” FieldFlex will help in precisely and directly monitoring, reporting and managing service delivery and performance.


Summing up, one of the key benefits to LJMU of using an integrated workplace management system like ARCHIBUS is the means to produce far more relevant, comprehensive and precise reports. Mark Nevitt says: “For me and others it provides the greatest flexibility over producing reports as and when needed, in the format needed. Reports can be built very flexible and we never had that previously. Before, we were reliant on our client-server system administrator. Now we can go in and produce our own information, which has been a huge bonus."


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Big Data 26/02/2020

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