Facilicom Group is a family business with over 30,000 employees, making it one of the largest facility providers in the Netherlands. “We capture a vast amount of data as part of our service provision. With an integrated approach to this data, we can add considerable value for our customers,” says Michel Steenhuis, Lead Business Consultant for BI & Data Analytics at Facilicom Group. Data management platform TimeXtender provided a solution to unlock the full potential of such an approach.
Data-driven health care
Facilicom Group offers the convenience of a one-stop-shop with services ranging from on-site cleaning, security, catering, and facility management to the management, maintenance, renovation, and sustainability of buildings. In total, the company has over thirty labels, including Incluzio for the healthcare and wellness sector, Grom for cleaning services, and Trigion for security.
Data-driven insights allow Facilicom Group to determine possibilities to innovate. Steenhuis: “Data can, for instance, tell us how we can optimize a building’s use via automation. Or it can tell us to adjust our catering services based on customers’ historical behavior and preferences.”
Data-driven insights also offer considerable benefits for our customers. “We are getting more and more data-related questions from customers every day. Through a dashboard, we can now provide them with an understanding of our service provision and performance. For KPN, for example, we maintain and secure all kinds of technical items. By means of the dashboard, we can provide insights about our service provision, such as the number of disruptions, the time to resolution and the required costs. This calls for a state-of-the-art data platform.”
A convenient Azure environment but no overall picture
Facilicom Group’s application landscape is just as impressive as the size of the company itself. “We run a huge number of applications to record absenteeism and work orders, keep track of plans, results, and more. Most of the data is located in our SAP source system but the risk is that everyone interprets the data in a different way.” To set up an unambiguous way of working and give access to data in a central location, the company opted for Microsoft Azure’s cloud solution. “You don’t need to invest in hardware, you only pay for actual usage, it’s very fast and it’s scaleable.”
Microsoft offers many useful tools for shaping the Azure environment. One of them is Power BI, a tool to report and visualise data. However, even with this instrument, Steenhuis was missing a platform that could manage the entire data loading chain and provide an overall picture. “We wanted a central place where you can see data coming in. A place where you can process, edit and store data and get a clear overview of it. Such a platform would help us continue to develop quickly.” That’s where TimeXtender came into play.
“We’ve had successful collaborations with E-mergo before. Additionally, they were able to deliver a proof of concept fast. Within a week, we knew that the solution met our needs.”
Michel Steenhuis, Lead Business Consultant BI & Data Analytics
Making SAP data easy to manage for TimeXtender
Choosing TimeXtender was a no-brainer. “I’ve looked at other solutions like Snowflake but for a company of our size and complexity, TimeXtender simply offers the best solution. It’s also been certified by Microsoft, which reinforced our decision.” The choice for E-mergo as a partner was just as easy. “We’ve had successful collaborations with them before. Additionally, they were able to deliver a proof of concept fast. Within a week, we knew that the solution met our needs.” Facilicom has its in-house team to analyse data and information and draft reports and was mostly looking for a party that could help them build and manage the data platform. “Together we now form a close-knit development team. You can hardly tell the difference between internal and external staff.”
The main challenge during the project was the unlocking of data from SAP Business Warehouse. This tool is perfect for quick calculations across big data sets but less suitable to transfer bulk data one on one. “And that’s precisely what we wanted. E-mergo had to come up with some clever tricks like chopping up the data. Instead of all data being retrieved and refreshed every day, only is the most recent data is now refreshed every day. The remainder is updated over the weekend.”
A single truth for all
All data relating to the finance domain has now been migrated to TimeXtender. Next up is HR with CRM to follow. The project may still be in progress but the benefits are already noticeable. “There’s now a single place where all data is presented unambiguously. Everybody sees the same dashboard and can make calculations based on accurate information. The chance of making reporting mistakes is minimal and with it the risk of taking a crucial decision based on incorrect calculations.” Now that data movements are documented automatically, it is also easier to add data sources and merge them into the system of information provision. The greater transparency has also simplified compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Steenhuis is pleased with these initial results but still has a long wish list. “We’re going to move some of our operational processes, including HR, to AFAS. TimeXtender’s task is to make sure the two systems are integrated seamlessly so our customers and staff can generate integrated reports regardless of the source system.” In the meantime, E-mergo has been working on a solution to plug TimeXtender into a lower layer of SAP Business Warehouse so that data can be retrieved five to ten times faster. Speed should also be enhanced through incremental loading, meaning only changed data is refreshed. “It now takes ten minutes to retrieve the data for a specific period, but ultimately it will take only thirty seconds.”
Steenhuis ultimately wants to discover the possibilities of advanced analytics applications. “These will enable us to do more predictive work and offer a more proactive service. As an example, we could alert KPN if we expected that a specific issue was about to cause a disruption. Internally, we could prevent absenteeism among other things. The switch to TimeXtender has been a great development in creating a modern working environment and a different way of working.”
Company name Facilicom Group
Industry Facility management
- Facilicom was missing a platform that could manage the entire data loading chain.
- The unlocking of data from SAP Business Warehouse.
- Set up an unambiguous way of working and give access to data in a central location.
Solution & benefits
- All data relating to the finance domain has now been migrated to TimeXtender.
- There’s now a single place where all data is presented unambiguously. Everybody sees the same data.
- The chance of making reporting mistakes is minimal.
- It’s easier to add data sources and merge them into the system of information provision.
- The greater transparency has also simplified compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The name E-mergo is derived from the Latin proverb ‘Luctor et emergo’ (I struggle and emerge). In Zeeland this signifies winning the battle against water. Obviously, we do not battle water, but we do make sure that companies keep their heads above water in the growing stream of data. Working from the motto ‘Manage your data, innovate your business’ we help you to get the most out of your data.
We do this using software from Qlik, Microsoft, Mendix and TimeXtender, for which we provide software, training, consultancy and support. Together we will help your company to create new business models and to reduce costs.