The FBL Financial Group — a holding company whose purpose is to protect livelihoods and futures — wanted to make some innovative changes to their facilities management processes. Jodi Parrot, senior staff facilities planning analyst at FBL, shares their story.
With iOFFICE, everything is simple. Processing work orders to equip new employees, or to provision those who transfer to different locations with computers and phones, is all so much easier than it used to be.”
FBL’s old IWMS system suffered from overly complicated updates and inefficient processes.
FBL turned to iOFFICE to give their facilities managers the tools they needed to do their jobs better.
With a streamlined process, FBL saved time, improved communication and was able to better handle moves and changes.
FBL plans to use iOFFICE products to improve their building management processes as well.
With eight office locations, plus a headquarters housing some 1,600 employees across eight states, FBL Financial Group needed to find a better way to manage its facilities — including people and office moves, adds and changes. They were averaging more than 550 changes each quarter — from onboarding new hires, facilitating office moves, and handling employee transfers and terminations — with more changes seemingly happening overnight.
FBL was saddled with an old system for integrated workplace management services (IWMS) that dated back to 1994. Their IWMS system could not easily process and manage all of these changes without significant manual effort, which slowed down the workflow. In its early days, the system was very simple. Without many bells or whistles, it was technically easy to use and got the job done. Over the decades, however, the software company that originally designed the system was purchased and sold several times over and, with each new owner, a new version launched. All the updated versions attempted to provide unique solutions for every problem, but ended up becoming too complex even for today’s computer programmer. The upgrades did little to simplify and streamline processes for FBL, and required more manual tweaking and customized, complicated workflows to get anything done.
In 2013, FBL realized that its old IWMS system needed a complete overhaul. Using this same old system to move people and make changes for workspace management, budget allocations by department, manage tenants and the normal flow of employee changes across eight states was no longer a viable option. Jodi was through with plugging in data and pulling it out manually, tweaking processes to accommodate urgent needs and taking too much time to handle what should be routine business requests. The gaps in technical support and attention when she experienced system issues, the complex end-user experience and how difficult it was to train newcomers to use the system — combined with the lack of easy integration with IT, HR, Procurement and other business functions — presented a nightmare challenge for Jodi and her company.
FBL joined forces with iOFFICE, a true partner who offers simple, flexible tools to help facilities managers get their jobs done. The iOFFICE platform is a cloud-based, single point of access with multiple functions and support tools for integrated workplace management services (IWMS).
When Jodi and her team reviewed all the options, iOFFICE was the only system that came close to covering their needs with a single, ready-to-use interface.
Being cloud-based, iOFFICE is easily integrated with other business applications, or it can stand on its own and deliver services quickly and conveniently via a secure internet connection. “Cloud” applications reside on iOFFICE operated servers in a secure, centralized environment, making it easier for clients such as FBL to order and access their own set of services and transactions – from any office, any time and in any location with secure internet access.
iOFFICE promotes the concept of “WOW” – Wide Open Workspaces – which sees an opportunity in the convergence of cloud-based innovation and the “new age” of work, specifically addressing IWMS. iOFFICE is committed to providing software that helps companies run their businesses in the most effective manner for their specific needs. The iOFFICE platform is a suite of services designed to advance facilities management.
FBL chose iOFFICE for its holistic approach that can be easily integrated with other systems. For managing the space and location of people, facilities management needed input from human resources (HR). Data needed to be pulled from the HR system and fed into the iOFFICE system, so equipment could be ordered or reclaimed, office space allocated and other processes could take place.
Taking your company’s IWMS solution from point A to Z can take a long time to get right. Converting data and complex processes and managing subsequent changes from an old to a new system is intensive. At FBL, the iOFFICE conversion took under two months to go live.
“iOFFICE has changed the way we do things. It is simple, intuitive and I love that it does so much with so little fanfare, so little complication.” – Jodi Parrott
The way FBL manages IWMS has changed dramatically. Time saved, faster communication and speedier transfers, moves and changes are all results that iOFFICE delivers, taking the pain out of facilities management.
“I’m really excited that they’re starting a Report Writer function soon, adding a viable way to customize reporting that won’t disrupt the entire system. Enhanced data collection and reporting is something that I could really use in my daily work,” says Jodi.
Onboarding, new hires and internal moves are happening all the time. Moves, adds and changes can be processed much more easily with iOFFICE. An additional advantage of iOFFICE is that it requires little or no internal IT support. Since the cloud-based software is managed by iOFFICE on its own servers, it does not require localized IT support, which is not a core focus of most businesses. FBL has experienced very few technical hiccups with iOFFICE, and when they do occur, they are resolved quickly by the experts who own it, manage it and run it.
“iOFFICE takes the complication out of facilities management and allows people to get their jobs done,” Jodi states. “We considered several other options when we were in review for another system. iOFFICE really listened to what our concerns were — they really listened to what we were trying to do — and brought that solution to the table. They’re competitive, easy to implement and fabulous to work with. The solution is easy and everything is there; I just enter my specific requirements and the system talks to other systems easily, making things work simply and intuitively.”
In the future, FBL foresees using iOFFICE to enhance its processes and methods for the structure, equipment and maintenance of its buildings.