Who we are
David: Good afternoon. My name is David Marcus, and I will be joined here today by my GSA counterparts, Fernando and Mike. We'll be going over our story for GSA of how we revolutionized their asset management system and produced annual costs for the program.
So, I am the program manager for ICF. I've been on this program since the start, and lead the team as the architect of GSA's asset management system. I will hand it off to Mike and Fernando to introduce themselves.
Michael: Thank you, David. As David mentioned, I'm a program manager with the US General Services Administration. I work for the Office of Facilities Management, so I am the business line program manager for the National Computerized Maintenance Management System (NCMMS). Fernando, do you want to introduce yourself?
Fernando: Yes. Thank you, Mike. This is Fernando Castelli. I am the IT project manager for NCMMS. I work with the GSA office of the chief information officer as a liaison on any IT-related issues that are required for NCMMS.
David: Thank you, Mike and Fernando. So today we're going over what the NCMMS is, and how we've standardized, optimized, and built up the architecture for the program. We'll be going through some of the solutions and impacts that we've had on the program. And, as this is a webinar, we will be requesting that you hold off on questions for a Q&A session at the end, but feel free to type in the questions in the chat box on your screen as questions arise, which we will get to the end of the session.
This is a recording, so feel free to share this with your peers. If you want to reference this again, we'll be sending the information out after the session. If there's anything else that piques your interest, and you want to hear more from our team, feel free to reach out, and we will see if we can set that up in a future session or answer any questions that you might have.
What is the NCMMS?
David: So, what is the National Computerized Maintenance Management System (NCMMS)? I am going to hand it over to Mike and Fernando, who predated my time here before we went live with NCMMS, to tell you about how GSA was doing facilities management before this program went underway.
Michael: Thank you, David. This is Mike, again. Before we came into the National CMMS, what we had was a sort of a patchwork of different systems. On the diagram, you can see there's a number of GSA's 11 regions that are colored in blue. At the top, you'll see Region 6, and you'll see Regions 10 and 9 on the West Coast. All of these regions that you see with the blue boxes had their own region-provided computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) system. So, you see, in one case, we had a system called Produce Marketing Association (PMA), and in a couple of cases we had Maximo.
In another case, we even had a custom in-house solution. We had a patchwork sort of on the west side of the map. And on the east side, with the exception of Region 11, which is the Washington, DC area, we had a number of contract provided systems, which meant that the mechanical teams who were contracted to maintain our buildings came in with their own system, which was anything from a CMMS to a spreadsheet or something else.
And so, in that net legacy situation, if we wanted data about how things are going in a given building, we would put out a big data call and get a bunch of spreadsheets back and try to merge it. In that old system, we didn't have consistency, for example, in how you name things, so it's hard to look across the portfolio and see what was going on.
And one of the really large downsides, especially in these regions where the contractors provided systems, those contracts typically lasted five years. The contractor would come in, load data either from scratch or perhaps from a previous contractor, and then when they’d leave, you'd lose a lot of that richness of the data and the equipment histories. That was a problem for us.
Again, we're trying to run a unified portfolio across our 50 states and 11 regions. That was really the motivation to get all of this data in one place, get it consistent, get the processes consistent, and move forward the national system.
How we use asset management
Michael: Now on slide 6. This is a quick look at what a CMMS, or a computerized maintenance management system, does for you and what ours does for us specifically. Our system is built on Maximo. That's an IBM product
The core of this system is asset management. In this case, asset refers to major maintainable equipment in your facilities. It could be chillers, it could be boilers, things like that. We manage something north of a million assets across roughly 1,500 buildings.
We do day-to-day work order management. Tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of work orders flow through every month. So it's a pretty large amount of data we're tracking. We're also integrated –– looking at the upper left of the diagram –– to something called GSA link, which is a building analytic system. It talks to our building automation systems.
Think of it as like a super-powered thermostat. It's running everything in that building, keeping track of humidity and air quality and controlling your fans, your set points, and all that sort of stuff. Well, we talk to that system. If that system finds something is out of range, or perhaps you're letting in too much fresh air for some reason –– maybe you have a stuck damper or something –– the GSA link will analyze that sort of thing and send us a spark or a special work order saying, “Hey, I'm analyzing this. I see a problem in the building. Here's a work order requesting you check it out and close the loop.”
Looking on the left of the diagram, we are used to planning and tracking preventive maintenance. Again, across these we have, like I said, over a million assets. The assets require preventive means. Some are lower than that but it's still hundreds of thousands of assets that we actively maintain and track. Of course, we track breakdown maintenance and customer requests or tenant requests, and we have our rich reporting capability as well as our mobile maintenance capability.
You can think of a CMMS, generally speaking, as the logistics heart for what you're doing to maintain your facilities. And in GSA, the National CMMS is the system of record for tracking all the work done under the service contracts in the building: the mechanics, and the custodial staff, the landscapers. All those folks are service contracts, and we don't necessarily track when they trim some things in the garden, but whether it's elevators or major equipment or spills, all that stuff flows through the NCMMS for tracking and service-level agreement (SLA) reporting and tracking, which we also share with our tenants.
What is our mission?
Michael: I have alluded to this already, but what our mission is, again, is about consistent nationwide CMMS and supporting policies, procedures, and programs around that. And including a lot of work on contracts with hundreds of contracts to make them line up with our policies to use the NCMMS the way we need it used.
We provide complete, consistent, accurate equipment inventories, and that's been quite a journey in itself, and of course, the maintenance histories around that equipment so you can look for trends and problems. Again, consistent, easy to use, efficient for work order processing and equipment inventory tracking. We don't do those data calls like we used to. We can just pull it up in a matter of minutes and get the data that used to take weeks to get.
That really supports our data-driven decisions at all levels. We support rolling up to the whole portfolio, to drilling down to a region, to a service center within a region, to a given building, and on down as deep as you need to go. With the capabilities of this system and our reporting tools, we can slice the data as we need to answer questions, whether it's from our own executives from our building operators or from auditors or congressional people needing information.
We provide that consistent maintenance across PBS to integrate with our system. We have job plans and guides that we've loaded to the system and support working with engineers to update those periodically to get that consistency across our system, both for quality assurance and quality control. And getting that consistency with all these contracts –– and something north of 2 billion a year in contracts –– we're using to maintain and keep these buildings running, it’s all flowing through the CMMS tracking. As I mentioned, this is a single solution for PBS, so it's unified.
How we got here
Michael: Go to slide 8. Thank you. So briefly on our timeline, kicking it off in 2012, but we didn't just jump in and implement a system. We spent a lot of time working with our regional teams’ external subject matter experts. We developed a number of SOPs or operating processes for our 1,500 buildings. Getting that data in, came in everything from a spreadsheet to sometimes PDFs, which, if you work with data, that's a tough way to load thousands of records.
But we got it loaded, and we continue to refine it. A portfolio this size is a never-ending process. I worked early on with a number of our contracting officers across the regions to get our contracts updated, again, to line up processes and requirements around this. So that's 2012 and 2014. Our rollout phase really began in the 2015, 2016 period. We got authority to operate in short order.
David or his predecessor's team, we’re very strategic about that and we managed –– I think Fernando can speak to it later ––but managed to get authority to operate in something under, at least preliminary, under six months. We were up and running, which was quite fast for our organization. We did multiple releases even in the early days, as it was a waterfall approach, but it was broken into multiple releases because there is so much to do to organize that work.
We got our first buildings flowing work through the system in March of 2015 and then our PBS commissioner –– that's the top person of an organization put out an order basically saying, I want work orders flowing in all of our own buildings by the end of September of 2016. So that's our big effort — it was major features being added to releases and configuration. And in 2017 to 2018, we really started enhancing the system. We added tenant surveys.
In 2017, we integrated our building automation system. We upgraded in 2018 to a more recent version of maximizing, and every couple of years I expect we're doing that, and it's a big effort for David and his team. We got our first mobile app users in that time period.
We updated our preventive measures guide, which is the overall guidance to how to maintain our equipment, and it's tightly coupled with how we go into the NCMMS. We keep that guide in the NCMMS and we publish from there now. It's not a separate Word document saved in our database. And if somebody does save a Word copy, we actually pull it out of the database and transform it.
We continue to improve that on inspection — There was a really good effort done by a team in 2018. To improve that, they tightened it up and actually raised the bar for the use of NCMMS as one of our core systems. So in the '19 surprisingly to 2021, at this point, because we're almost to then of our 2020, because of the way our fiscal year works. But we've been increasing our value, we are tracking national key performance indicators, and we're working hard with David and others to improve our usability at some of those work centers, which is just a nicer modern user interface.
We're using something called Toby, which I won't go into, but it's a way to use a standard to get the data. And we're talking tons of thousands of lines of data from each of our big construction projects and following them efficiently into national CMMS. That's a huge improvement that we've worked with our partners in designing construction. We start to crawl through the buildings and try to get this information off the equipment boiler place, and now it's this automated flow. We have customer dashboards, and we'll be doing tenant tickets in 2021 where they can put in service requests.
Let’s talk about data
David: Thank you, Mike. Hopefully, that brings you up to speed on the before picture and some of our current-day operations. I wanted to give the big picture here looking at some data points, and you can see how robust the size of this implementation actually is. The ICF team managed to build a system that can both evolve and grow with the user base implementing GSA's mission. Working with key stakeholders to customize a commercial, off the shelf product, which Mike just took us through, as IBM's Maximo for all the facilities management needs.
With over 20 million square feet of building data, GSA needed a solution that could accommodate an application of this magnitude. We house over 1,500 buildings and store more than 500 million work orders in our system. We have custom-tailored screens for a user base that consists of over 2000 employees and contractors as this program has been live in production, I think for a little over five years now. We continuously work with Mike and Fernando and the GSA team to advance with both the IBM product side from a technology standpoint, and meet all the customer and user needs.
Looking at ICF GSA operations, I'm extremely proud of the work that GSA and my ICF team has done. Mike took us through the history, but we were able to deliver over 800 initial requirements within a span of 14 months to stand up GSA and production. At first, we operated under a waterfall project management methodology, and over the years, we've progressed to a very agile team. We worked with GSA to prioritize their enhancement backlog and roll out iterative sprints at their discretion to our Kanban board.
Our team also manages five environments with one upper and we make sure to follow ICF best delivery practices for software development and also for data migration. As the product owner, our team operates a tier 3 help desk as well, and provides subject matter experts to troubleshoot complex issues. We have customized different workflows and software programs to track change requests and maximum support. Our team also personalized the ServiceNow platform to feed into our JIRA ticketing system. This gives us requirements traceability with GSA and the ability to search and report against the issues that come in. This holistic approach enables us to create a knowledge base of reporting structures and the program continues to grow.
I like to also point out the ICF team has deployed the largest federal maximum cloud project to date. And I want to draw attention to how much data we actually have on the system. As you can see under our delivery best practices on the diagram, we realize the need to migrate our data, and for that, we use our Optum database. We've since moved over half a billion records in the last year to the archive that consists of data that is over 13-months-old. GSA isn't just throwing it in the archive and not looking at it ever again. They have the ability to plug into our database and report on-site data.
Key facts about NCMMS architecture
David: Moving on to the next slide. Here, we're going to go over the NCMMS architecture. I'm going to hand it off to Fernando, to walk us through what it took to set this up and some key facts about the architecture.
Fernando: Great. Thank you, David. This is Fernando, again. These diagrams are not necessarily that pretty to look at. I just gave a brief overview of what we accomplished, at least from my perspective. This program will be its first at Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to be a solution that was going to be centralized on Amazon Web Services (AWS) on the cloud. That presented some challenges that we were able to successfully complete and take care of in a much shorter time frame than we expected.
We did start with our limited authority to operate, which took about six months and is usually about a year. We were able to accomplish that within six months, and that gave us the capability to start installing and configuring. The CMMS, as an application, gave us an extension of, basically, one year to achieve a full authority to operate by addressing all of the adequate security controls through our system security plan, which is definitely created in accordance with NET and Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). With NET's guidelines on FIPS categorization, we were able to –– NCMMS, it's an application that can be accessed anywhere, from any device –– we were able to use our internal secure off for two-factor authentication into our system. We use the current active directory for GSA for all management. Overall, from that perspective, we were able to basically get going in less than 18 months, which is an incredible accomplishment considering this was the first time for all of us.
Michael: Thank you, Fernando. That was a great overview. I'd also like to point out, for those of you who have AWS experience or are partners on the line here, we not only provide hosting solutions to enable us for NCMS, but we provide AWS architects who continuously ensure the solutions engineered to maximize all of security uptime and availability. We leverage multiple AWS availability zones and regions to deliver automated fell over. We also provide backup and restoration capabilities through a number of software programs.
Our innovations over the years
David: Next, we're going to be looking at some of the innovations we've rolled out over the years, and we're currently deploying here at GSA. This next screen takes you to what we call the maximum start center. It's the first screen when somebody logs in from the desktop application. Our team, the ICF team, works with GSA to customize over 20 different start centers to meet the needs of each type of user in the system.
Mike took you through a couple of types of end-users but working with the business side, we really ironed out what each user needs to see to maintain and complete their work in the most efficient manner. The distinct security groups are important for differentiating end-users and the first screen that they're looking at. In the above image specifically, we're displaying our results set from our integration disguise work.
This user has got a number of roles that they have access to from a security perspective. So this O&M contractor is showing the port lifts for, what Mike alluded to, at the top of our call where the integration points to Skyspark. SkySpark pushes every sensor data point to Maximo when their values go out the side of a certain range for us to track. And having the ability to see the most important work for each user when they log in is a key feature that we provide to GSA.
BIRT and reports that help drive decisions
David: Moving on from the heart center. Next, we're going to talk a bit about reports and how data drives our decisions here at GSA. The GSA team worked with each of our 11 regions to track, monitor, and optimize key performance indicators, and maximize a number of reporting capabilities, which I'm not going to cover in its entirety in this format, but the inherent reporting application is Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT).
We created over 40 customer reports when we first stood up the program to meet some of the regional and business line needs. After rolling those out, we also have the ability for the end-users to create their own reports that are more basic using what we call, query-based reports from any specific application. They can log in and create reports based on the fields and the tables for the application that they're looking at, whether it's work orders, assets, or their PM schedule.We've also installed the latest version of Maximo and our lower environments right now. And it's in the beta stages, which is an even stronger reporting engine that GSA will have the capability to report out against. Looking at the screen here, there's a couple of examples of some of the data that Mike and his team looks at on a monthly basis. The first one is the customer-facing dashboard, or Maximo will send survey invitations to tenants who request work and when that work order is completed. The reports shown are customized from the plug-in to the Tableau database.
The second report on the screen is an internal work survey report. This survey invitation is sent with any work order completion notice through email to the tenant and work requester is automatically sent through our maximal workflow, which we've designed to automate this feature. And then, in any given month, we get over 1,000 survey responses. As you can see here, there's a high satisfaction score for the contractor's work.
What the future holds
David: So that was reports and data. Next, I want to talk about the work center, which Mike alluded to, and where Maximo is going, and what it was before from a mobile perspective. In the last seven years of product development, we went by with the mobile device called Maximo Anywhere. What IBM is doing from a product perspective is, say they are redesigning the work centers to make it more user-friendly. So when the users log in to their device they will have the ability to select from an image and one-click to log at their service request.
Some features of the self-service request work centers shown here, have the ability to classify ticket templates and use predefined issues that categorize records. There is the ability to avoid duplicates by suggesting and following similar service requests. Using the search function right there, you can look through the history of any service requests that have come in. You also can utilize your mobile devices camera, take a picture, and attach it to the record for the end-user to see. And then finally looking to the future of work centers, there will be capabilities to scan bar or QR codes to auto-populate location information.
We've piloted a number of groups in the past year. And we're hoping to have much broader use of the work centered capabilities forward with GSA and meeting with different groups to satisfy their business needs. So from work centers, we're going to close out here on the innovation front from two programs that were in the pilot stage of rolling out this year. The first is Maximo Asset Health and Insights (MAHI) and geographic information systems (GIS).
MAHI can improve the visibility for the health of assets and locations to minimize downtime by preventing failures. MAHI looks at conditions, costs, performance, and remaining useful life to help automate optimized asset lifecycle decisions. It really gives the functionality to the users to calculate and visualize a health score. As you can see here on acid health based on a number of customizable KPIs, that the business can set to see how healthy their assets are.
In addition, the ICF team is also deploying GIS in our current release. Users will have the ability moving forward to tag data points at a specific location on their mobile device and with MAHI and GIS as a whole. We further strengthen GSA's ability to track building information using predictive maintenance. And we look forward to championing the product as GSA's data maturity level continues to evolve.
So stepping back and looking at the smarter buildings industry as a whole, the Smart Build for those of you who are unaware, this really consists of warehouses, factories, office buildings, and other enterprises. Intelligence structures leverage a variety of two dependent technologies such as AI, broadband wireless, cloud computing, and some of you are familiar with the Internet of Things (loT), which is a series of networks and systems to improve operational efficiency and enable a safer and more productive environment.
A key statistic to note on this slide, is smart building automation software and systems will be over $20 billion in value in North America by 2027, which isn't too far away. So we do see the value of these connected devices here on GSA. We're proud of the SkySpark integration with some of the data points that we get pushed to there. And I know GSA has a large initiative to move forward with the IoT programs and really give thought to tracking data in a smarter way. Mike and Fernando can speak more to GSA's Data-to-Decisions initiative, which this program falls in line with.