Bloomberg L. P. is a global information services, news and media company whose clients include central and commercial banks, investment institutions, government offices and agencies, corporations and new organisations. Probably best known for its integrated package of information, analytic and electronic trading tools (Bloomberg Terminal™), it also has successful news, broadcast and publishing operations including a 24-hour television channel and a news wire service with 94 bureaus around the world.
Bloomberg's UK headquarters are at 50 Finsbury Square in the heart of London, home to its cutting edge television studios and SPACE, its groundbreaking art gallery open to the public, with a distinctive glass and steel interior designed by Norman Foster.
This and two more interlinked premises – Citygate House and Lackington Street – are maintained on Bloomberg's behalf by facilities services specialist Planned Maintenance Engineering (PME), which manages more than 20 maintenance contracts with an 11-strong team on site.
PME has been using FSI's Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system, Concept™, to manage Bloomberg's Planned Preventative Maintenance schedule since 2000, but in 2005 an IT glitch during an office move meant that the system had to be reinstalled and loaded from scratch.
As contracts manager Dave Pryke explains, operating without the system even for the relatively short time it took to restore the software, was a reminder of just how important it had become for the day-to-day running of the maintenance service.
"Bloomberg is a 365-day operation," he says. "Some kind of maintenance is scheduled every day, so we have quite a lot to get through each month and we use Concept's™ PPM module to look after every event.
"We use Concept™ purely for planned maintenance tasks on a weekly basis at the moment, so it manages all Bloomberg's plant assets in the three buildings and any scheduled servicing. We also use the Crystal Connect™ module to generate monthly management reports."
PME originally recommended Concept™'s PPM functionality to Bloomberg and the system was installed following the client's procurement processes at the start of the new millennium. Dave was already familiar with Concept™ from his experience in other environments before taking on his role at Bloomberg.
"The biggest challenge for us when we temporarily lost the system in 2005 was that we had to repopulate the data from the ground up," he says. "Fortunately, we had everything entered in an Excel spreadsheet so we were able to copy the contract information across, but the loading process still took three days. Being without Concept™ was a heavy blow for the contracts management team because we were so used to the whole process being automated. Without it, we had to look up everything on the original spreadsheet and then manually type the events that were due for those weeks we were without the system into a PC. It just made everything a lot harder."
A quick look at the Bloomberg plant covered by the PPM module gives a clear idea of how integral the system is to managing the contracts.
"It's everything you'd expect to find in a normal commercial building, with the exception of the IT infrastructure," says Dave.
Bloomberg's rotary uninterruptible supply systems (UPSs), the electrical distribution system, the main air handling units (AHUs) and critical power distribution units (PDUs), pumps for hot and chilled water, and cold water tanks all come under PME's responsibility.
"PPM is such a huge part of what we do here," Dave continues. "We're constantly looking after the chillers, the water hygiene side, the UPS and generator servicing, the heating systems. We even cover things like the escalators and glass sliding doors.
"Bloomberg is a very client-facing company. There's a big 'wow' factor as you come into 50 Finsbury Square or into the older, listed buildings. There's a strong history of refurbishment and that means regular upgrades of entire floors and plant. There is a steady stream of newer kit. We have to be able to keep on top of the maintenance contracts to support it."
According to Dave, Concept™ provides an excellent, automated framework for managing the maintenance contracts.
"It's a great tool, because it takes the onus off the team and allows them to focus on what they need to do to make sure the subcontractors are alerted when PPM becomes due, and that the task is completed to schedule," he says.
"It cuts down on the administrative time overhead and it's extremely efficient to use. Concept™ is a very reliable system – once it's set up, it really just works away on its own. Bloomberg automatically backs up the system on a remote server so we can restore it quickly if there are any problems in the future."
Dave recommends FSI's training course for the new Concept™ user.
"If you've done that, you'll find the system very easy to navigate," he says. "It's Windows-based and easy to use."
From the client's perspective, the report tool is a vital means of measuring the percentage of tasks being completed on time, and the performance of the PPM function in relation to Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
"The client [Bloomberg] can see where we are with every aspect of PPM servicing, how long tasks are taking and where there are significant delays," explains Dave. "And that means we can keep on top of the schedule and minimise the risk of penalties with regard to any planned maintenance task."
Although the system will continue to be used for PPM only in the near future, Bloomberg and PME are looking at the possibilities of using it for risk management tasks in the future, predicting the impact and costs of plant going wrong.
"That would be a good way forward for both the maintenance service and the client," says Dave. "Basically, Concept™ is a very helpful tool and I don't think it would be possible to manage maintenance contracts as efficiently without it."