Facilities Manager (APPA)

By Ameeta Soni

A week ago, IBM announced the acquisition of facility and real estate management software provider Tririga. This is news not just for Tririga and IBM, but for the facilities management industry as it draws attention to the importance of strategic facilities capital planning and management, which requires that organizations have accurate and current facility condition data.

According to an IBM press release, organizations spend about 30 percent of their budgets on facilities. This means that buildings account for the second largest expense for organizations, behind only personnel. The most important sentences of that release may have come at the end: “The acquisition of Tririga will help accelerate IBM’s growth in the smarter buildings market, a key initiative in IBM’s Smarter Planet work.”

Good move, but the move by IBM into sustainable facilities management was overdue. Given the importance of facilities, both financially and in terms of supporting organizational missions, and considering the revenue boost IBM anticipates, it’s a surprise that it has taken so long for IBM to enter this market. For years, facilities management software solutions, such as those offered by VFA, have helped organizations cut costs and be strategic in their spending in a way they just can’t contemplate when using spreadsheets.

One factor in this deal that yet to be addressed is that Tririga doesn’t perform facilities condition assessments, which are the foundation for facilities capital planning and management. This begs the question of what IBM will do to offer this critical part of any comprehensive facilities capital planning and management solution.

What’s your take—will the Tririga acquisition provide the bump that IBM expects? Will other IT vendors follow IBM’s lead? If so, whom do you think will make the next move?

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2011
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern
Length: 60 minutes
Fees: This webinar is complimentary
Location: Available Online Using WebEx

Technology and experience each play a pivotal role in how facility condition assessments (FCAs) are performed. The cost of an FCA for an entire portfolio can sometimes prove to be a dilemma for facility managers. As a cost-effective complement to an FCA, more organizations are utilizing guided self-assessment solutions, using Web-based mobile surveys to standardize data collection for reporting and analysis. Employing a guided self-assessment process, whether it’s a complement to a professional assessment or an alternative approach to capturing asset data, provides organizations with efficient and cost-effective options to best address facility condition assessments.

Join us for a free Webinar profiling how VFA.auditor, a guided self-assessment solution with mobile support, is transforming the way facility managers and capital planners are utilizing software solutions to optimize the management of capital investments.

You will learn how facility guided mobile self-assessments:

  • Provide the flexibility to reach more isolated and geographically disperse assets
  • Reduce paper dependency and improve process efficiency
  • Deliver real-time data capture that accelerates collection speed
  • Eliminate redundant data entry
  • Improve accuracy by eradicating transcription errors
  • Leverage prolific, low-cost mobile device technology 

Keith O’Leary, Director, VFA Product Marketing, VFA, Inc.
Scott Cormier, Director, Product Management, VFA, Inc.

By Ameeta Soni

Last week, VFA attended the National Facilities Management and Technology Conference and Expo (NFMT), where representatives from a variety of industries met to learn more about building process and facility performance challenges and solutions. Attendance by facility managers from the Federal and state/local government, along with the K-12 and higher education sectors was especially evident, suggesting strong interest in facilities management from these key market sectors.

At the Expo, VFA announced version 2.3 of its guided self-assessment solution, VFA.auditor with mobile/offline survey support. Complementing professional condition assessments, the VFA.auditor guided self-assessment solution resonated very well with facility and operations managers. The support for mobile devices was also of high interest with many of the managers who were familiar with the explosion and availability of mobile tablets hitting the market.

The VFA team also attended a great panel which featured panelists from the corporate, healthcare and government sectors. They all had good advice for facility management teams including:
• Invest in their skill sets, focus on preparation and on presenting credible data to their organization
• Speak the language of the stakeholders within their organization — whether it’s a CFO, board of directors or the users/owners of the institution
• Collaborate with other areas of their organization, and build relationships, to make a stand for solid facility management procedures.

Since a facility team’s work is often “behind the scenes,” they need to publicize it within their organization — garnering support and building key relationships to help meet their goals. Objective data is an important foundation of an organization’s capital planning efforts. It is also important to measure consistently, to develop a baseline and to show progress.

All in all, NFMT was a great show this year — with lots of interesting and engaged attendees. And, the VFA team is looking forward to seeing how these ideas and these people will touch the facility management and capital planning industry through the remainder of 2011.


Dates: Sunday, June 12th – Wednesday, June 15th
Expo Open: Sunday 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Monday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm, Tuesday 7:30 am – 8:30 am
Venue: Doubletree Hotel
Denver, CO

Stop by our booth (#10)  to come see us!

Dates: Thursday, June 2nd – Monday, June 6th
Expo Open: Friday 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, Saturday 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Venue: World Trade and Convention Centre
Halifax, NS

Stop by Booth #402 to come see us!


Dates: Tuesday, May 24th – Friday, May 27th
Expo Open: Wednesday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm, Thursday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Venue: Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center
Grapevine, TX

Stop by Booth #1533 to come see us!

The Pulse Network’s CIO Insight


By Keith O’Leary

This has been an exciting week for VFA.

VFA Brings Building Assessments Mobile

An update to our facility self-assessment solution, VFA.auditor, now enables facility managers and capital planners to conduct facility condition assessments via the easy-to-use, guided self-assessment process — on a mobile tablet. Now, they can create surveys and walk through their facilities to easily collect data on the condition of the organization’s building portfolio.

With more than 600 professionally engineered and designed systems included in the survey library, VFA.auditor leverages VFA’s building condition domain expertise to guide and standardize the collection of facility condition data.

NFM&T: Creating a Defensible Budget for Facilities

This morning, VFA was excited to participate in the “Solutions Exchange” session at NFM&T, the National Facilities Management & Technology conference. The Solutions Exchange was a round-robin style session that allowed us to discuss how facility managers can create a defensible capital budget — especially in an uncertain economy — with our peers.

At VFA, we know that facility managers still need to justify and account for every dollar. Today’s discussion focused on creating a capital budget that you can defend, and will be approved. Some key takeaways included:

  • How to align facilities investments with organizational mission
  • The importance of a structured and consistent approach to prioritizing capital needs
  • The benefits of budget scenarios that allow you to see the impact of different spending levels

Stay tuned for more observations from the NFM&T conference. And, let us know if you have any questions/comments about our mobile assessment solution at vfa@schwartzcomm.com. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!