Benefits of Data Interchange for Facilities Capital Planning

By Laura Cook, Director of VFA.facility and Services

VFA solutions are built on the premise of data interchange, natively among the extensive VFA solution set as well as with complimentary software infrastructure solutions. To build an effective facilities capital plan and budget, some key data elements that can feed into and optimize the planning and budgeting process often reside in numerous software solutions an organization has invested in. One of the more obvious software systems with beneficial data for facilities planning and management is an organization’s work order management system.

Capital requirements identified and defined in the VFA.facility® facilities capital planning and management solution are eventually managed as work orders. It’s a logical extension of the capital planning process that capital requirements defined in VFA.facility get passed to the work order management system via a software interface. A “machine-to-machine” interchange reduces redundancy, eliminates errors, speeds the process, and increases efficiency by limiting required staff time throughout the work order definition process.

Additionally, once work orders are complete, it’s important that the satisfied capital requirements be reflected in the capital plan and budget forecast. Therefore, it is again a logical extension of the process to have the work order management system communicate a status back to VFA.facility. Updating VFA.facility with partially or fully satisfied requirements provides capital planners with the information they need to prioritize and optimize how capital dollars have been and will be spent. Without an automated exchange process, planners rely on periodic and often lagging manual updates which can adversely impact capital investment decisions.

VFA continues to invest in research and development to enhance data interchange with third-party software applications. With the October 2012 release of VFA.facility 10.1, a new standards-based Web services platform has been introduced enabling a more extensible, adaptor-based interface for data exchange. Web services and adaptors have been available for years and are becoming an integral component for how many work order management and enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) exchange data. The VFA Web services adaptor platform provides the foundation for a ubiquitous approach to third-party system integration. Utilizing this foundation, third-party system adaptors can be more readily defined, implemented and enhanced, delivering faster deployment and unlimited potential for extensibility over time.

VFA.facility 10.1 includes an adaptor optimized for capital requirement data interchange between VFA.facility and IBM’s Maximo work order management system. The VFA adaptor development roadmap includes plans for more adaptors optimized for additional work order management and ERP systems.

If you have system integration requirements you’d like to share or discuss, or for more information, please contact Laura Cook at lcook@vfa.com.