In 1987, actress Maureen Lipman famously said: “You get an ology, you’re a scientist,” in a TV advertisement for British Telecom, and I was reminded of this last week. I had been invited to the London launch, by Styles & Wood’s UK-based IT subsidiary, iSite, of ‘The Hub,’ an application of its web-based property information platform to support “assetology” – a ‘science’ perhaps otherwise better known as facilities management.
Styles & Wood CEO Tony Lenehan welcomed delegates to the company’s Smithfield offices, after which iSite director Martin Ward introduced the concept, before a customer representative, Steve Head of Nationwide Building Society, talked about the platform’s use in the organisation’s property services division.
iSite Portal is positioned as a “building intelligence” system, which, through a suite of integrated modules (Portfolio, Planit, Projects, Caretaker, AssetManager), enables an organisation to manage its property operations more effectively. It powers Tesco’s MyProperty and Nationwide’s systems, and Lenehan talked about its growing importance to the group’s relationships with the Co-op and Morrison’s retail groups, among others.
I first noted ‘The Hub’ concept in April 2012, when Styles & Wood announced that iSite and Nationwide intended to jointly promote this suite of management systems, which are aimed at enterprises with an outsource services strategy.
The Hub takes the iSite Portal concept a stage further, providing a single consolidated view of all property and facilities information by connecting directly with outsourced partners and key internal systems to create a single version of the truth. With the aid of some excellent graphics and a video, Martin Ward explained: “the Hub does not impose systems on suppliers, it integrates and aggregates property and asset information, blending it with internal systems into one source of intelligence.”
“In effect what we are introducing to the market is a new strategic asset management process that puts transparency and control back into the hands of the client – minimising risk, maximising control and proven to reduce costs by up to 15%. The approach is something we are calling ‘Assetology’; the solution is The Hub.
“The results with Nationwide have been excellent and there is now positive interest from some of the major retail outlets as well as other financial services providers. The Hub is going to gain real momentum and we think it will change current thinking around property and asset management as the FM and property market accepts the concept of Assetology. It is a new process; a new way of doing things. It is all about turning data into real time valuable knowledge that property teams can use and that gives them control.”
This notion of connecting multiple external systems for asset management is familiar. It is, for example, something that start-up KyKloud showed to me in prototype form in January this year, and long-standing construction collaboration vendor conject has been talking since March about launching its own SaaS-based FM solution before the end of the year.
OK, these competitors probably won’t be talking about “assetology”, and FM may be more of an art than a science, but, with some creative marketing, iSite managed to make an otherwise dry and quite complicated issue more memorable to its audience last Thursday.