Case study date: Tuesday 1st January 2008
YIT is the premier provider of technical building systems and FM services throughout the Nordic region with a strong presence in the property, construction and industrial sectors. YIT employs over 24,000 personnel, with group revenue in 2007 reaching 3,706.5 million Euros.
YIT Group's operations are divided into four business segments: Building Systems, Construction Services Finland, International Construction Services and Industrial Services. Building Systems has an comprehensive service portfolio, embracing asset management, property management, support services, building services, space management and energy management. In a constantly evolving market – and with a growing number of large and complex clients – YIT manages the complete property lifecycle, from design and implementation to maintenance and operation.
As the market has evolved and the needs of YIT clients become more sophisticated, the company has made an increasingly significant strategic investment in FSI's Concept™ CAFM software to support its own more centralised operation and deliver a consistently high, flexible, quality of reporting and data transfer for its customers.
YIT has been using Concept™ to support its FM contract management functions since the late 1990s, choosing the system on the advice of an independent consultant.
"Concept™ 500 offered the most functionality and the benefit of a typical SQL database solution which we knew would give us a stable environment," says system manager Tuomo Komulainen.
"The system seemed to be made in a reliable way and offered a range of functions which we didn't need at the time but would give us the space to expand. To begin with, we used the basic modules – Help Desk, buildings management, PPM and asset management – that would allow us to describe the contract contents so that it would be easy to populate the system and let the help desk do its work."
During the last two years, however, Concept™ has assumed an even more important role at the data transfer interface between YIT and its clients' systems, ensuring that customers constantly have an up to date view of how
their assets and buildings are performing.
"Traditionally, our customers were single-owner organisations and we would invoice and report to the same person," explains system manager Tuomo. "But today, when we get a new customer it is a totally different situation.
"Kesko, the Finnish supermarket chain is a typical example: a nationwide company with a multiple assortment of different buildings. There might be four or five customers within a single building: the investor who owns the structure; Kesko, the leaseholder; the enterprises that run the food markets and shops; and perhaps within the shops, different individual assets like a refrigerator owned by a drinks vendor. So we now have several clients to invoice for maintenance, and we need to know who they are and what the invoice is for."
In other words, in addition to preparing its own invoices and managing contracts internally, YIT has to customise reports and streamline data for each party it services, and of course they are only interested in their own criteria: quite simply, the drinks vendor only wants to know about its inventory maintenance, while the investor is interested in the running costs of the building per square metre.
Kesko's Tampuuri project, a management system for monitoring the maintenance of its real estate, is a typical example of a modern client system and it is essential that YIT can seamlessly transfer data from the Concept™ database to the Tampuuri platform in real time to meet the customer's requirements.
"This is the main issue for us at the moment," says Tuomo. "Customers have their own systems and it's a condition of the contract that we update everything for them. Considering that today we have more than ten big customers of this kind, not to mention many smaller clients, it is important that we have a single system that we can train our staff on, support and use to handle everything associated with the live data transfer so that at the end of every day, not only is the customer's system fully up to date but we can also study and investigate our own business and see where we need to apply more resources."
In this environment, manual system updates are clearly no longer a viable option. Neither is placing the responsibility for updating the systems with the client. As Tuomo says, they would give their own systems priority and YIT wouldn't have access to current data that is so vital in helping it to develop its own business.
Thanks to Concept's™ ease of configuration and management, YIT has been able to effect seamless data transfer between its own and its clients' systems, and adding a new customer to the system is a straightforward process.
"We can easily add a new client database and we know the system will be able to handle it," says Tuomo. "Concept™ is proven to be very reliable and stable, and it's running all the time. We develop our own reporting constantly, using our own report generator, and we mirror the system outside our own firewall, which is where the customer connects to the system, making it completely secure for both sides.
The main benefit for the customer is that they have instant access to constantly refreshed data, making it easy to request accurate financial and reporting updates. For YIT, Concept™ has enabled a more systematic approach to business development based on the facts reported by the system.
"It has changed the YIT culture quite a lot," Tuomo acknowledges. "In the old days, we had a typical branch office approach: managers took care of the customers from beginning to end, receiving requests, supervising the work done and invoicing the client. With Concept™, routines from help desk to invoicing and purchasing are now very centralised. Site managers can do more profitable work, such as selling more services and developing customer relations. We don't have any intention of returning to the old-fashioned way!"
Tuomo says that as a supplier, FSI is a good partner. YIT takes advantage of bi-annual system updates as well as consultancy and advice about any operational changes that focus on the care of the system. And questions are never left unanswered.
"FSI is a supplier which is seriously in the business, constantly developing its products and holding seminars that show its commitment to customer relationships," he concludes. "It is a proper, profitable IT house which means we can trust that tomorrow, it will still be running and in business. That means a lot to us. We have had bad experiences with smaller vendors who disappear, which leaves you not knowing what to do for many months. FSI is very reliable."