Working With Data During a Pandemic Crisis

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Working With Data During a Pandemic Crisis

An unprecedented business environment.

Since the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, the way the majority of us work has changed. Some of the largest sectors in the economy, from technology and financial services as well as other commercial businesses, have invested in remote work tools. As of right now, there is little sign that that many of them will be opening their offices back at full capacity. We are living in unprecedented times. With more employees working from home, successful remote working calls for greater collaboration, as well as flexibility, in schedules is critical. According to a recent analysis by Pew, there are now more than 16 million “knowledge workers,” such as executives, IT managers, financial analysts and accountants, who are teleworking. Their line of work often requires swift and reliable access to data to keep the business running for operational, compliance and safety needs. 

From our experience with Accruent Analytics customers, there are a few scenarios that utilize a powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tool to react quickly and strategically to the changing business environment.

Self-empowered reporting.

One of our customers at a large educational institution shared that they were the go-to resource every time an individual in their Facilities and Space Planning team needed to pull a new report around space data. This could vary from department heads looking at occupancy and vacancy trends to their facilities teams looking for ways to uncover additional square footage. With Accruent Analytics, our customer was able to create a series of template reports—either using existing report models or creating new ones from scratch. With full access to a BI tool, they were able to set up these reports to run automatically on a pre-determined schedule and allow other users within the organization to easily remove or add fields from the templates. They estimate this has reduced the number of requests coming to their inbox by almost 40 percent. With remote work leading to greater reliance on email and other electronic forms of communication, any efforts to reduce “electronic noise” reduces employee stress and drives greater productivity between teams. 

Embrace, do not replace, spreadsheets.

Reliance on spreadsheets causes several issues around data integrity, from out-of-date numbers to accidental errors from copying and pasting values from one cell to another. With a BI tool like Analytics, customers can access a full range of Excel functionality and formatting within their reporting canvas. Where previously colleagues may get together in the conference room and run through this spreadsheet navigation process in a coordinated manner, a teleworking environment presents new challenges around collaboration.  

A customer at mid-sized corporate real estate firm shared how they often had to create reports by pulling three separate Excel documents from three different modules within the same application. After that, they would bring in a fourth spreadsheet from a different system and finally juggle all four documents to create a fifth and final Cost Review spreadsheet. This process took almost an entire day of careful maneuvering between applications, occasionally having to wait 30 minutes to an hour for the data to export into Excel format. With Analytics, they now only need to spend time setting up the right filters and reviewing the report to ensure the fields are correct, which generally takes less than an hour. 

Furthermore, working within the Analytics workspace allows for greater collaboration between remote-working employees who may need to access and edit the same report for different needs at the same time. In the case of this customer, the “master” spreadsheet lives under a Personal Folder in Analytics, and they have separate folders for each colleague in different departments. Instead of accidentally saving each other’s work within the same spreadsheet in a shared folder, the Analytics BI experience gives everyone their own space within which they can run and save reports without inadvertently editing the master template.

Business continuity is critical.

Customers are experiencing unexpected down-time during this pandemic, especially when employee health and safety is their first priority. That is why investing in tools that enable business continuity even during unpredictable scenarios makes a lot of sense. Our Analytics BI tool with dynamic dashboards and visualization provides customers with a 3-second sense of the state of key processes and operations. Analytics allows customers to drill-down into data to pursue time-essential insights. A BI tool also provides the flexibility of being able to adapt and change industry-specific KPIs to changing circumstances.

accruent analytics dashboard

Accruent Analytics provides customers with an easy-to-use UI and visualizations for 3-second insights.

Accruent Analytics is a BI tool currently available to our Accruent customers looking to answer some of their facility management, space planning, and asset renewal questions. For more information, contact us today.

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