Installation is just the beginning for digital buildings

There is no doubt that if we are to fully exploit the potential of technology in the built environment then technology needs to be at the heart of the building design process, not an afterthought. Unfortunately, all too often this leads tech suppliers to focus on the install process – making sure that they have delivered against the spec. There is much less focus on how the technology and systems will be managed over the life of digital buildings.

However, a ‘fit and forget’ approach can only lead to poor technology utilisation, wasted money, wasted time and ultimately unmet expectations and disappointed customers. Indeed, talking with some of our customers, the issue of long-term service delivery and maintenance is something that is routinely neglected by suppliers. This may sound like the sort of typical client/supplier friction and grumbling that you might see in any number of industries – but there are real consequences that result from poor service management.

One of the main issues when it comes to service delivery is transparency. If the customer can’t see, or doesn’t understand, exactly what is going on with tech systems then it is impossible for them to evaluate what they are getting for their money or quantify what is being delivered. One of our newest customers describes how this previously made the annual budgets incredibly difficult to work out – they simply didn’t have the information to plan and forecast properly.

More than that though, this inability to prove or define the value of the tech infrastructure meant that the customer’s innovation was stunted. Instead there was complete inertia when it came to pursuing improvements or trialling new technologies.

This is the opposite of what digital buildings should be achieving. It’s why at LMG, we take the long-term view of service delivery so seriously. Rather than focus on installation to the exclusion of ongoing management, or handing off responsibility once installation is complete, we have a fully-featured ongoing service model based on total transparency with the customer.

The LMG service delivery model

At the heart of our service delivery approach is a commitment to enhance the scope, accuracy and availability of reporting.

For instance, we have built our own online reporting tool (Insight IQ) that offers crucial reporting visibility via a real time dashboard that provides rich data analysis and statistics covering all aspects of the service delivery. Equally important is ensuring that rates are as transparent and accountable as possible. Our Procure IQ online quoting and costing system uses pre-approved pricing to fully automate most of the process for customers.

We also offer other services, such as supply chain management, that minimise the impact of currency and commodity price fluctuations for the customer, optimise stock utilisation or accelerate materials time-to-site.

The benefits of this approach are two-fold. Firstly, there are the obvious benefits of delivering an exceptionally high level of service – with maximum cost savings, minimal delays and precise delivery against SLAs. But ticking these boxes also allows us to offer more to our customers – to be their strategic partner, not just a service provider.

With our customers we are able to continually tweak, update and improve the service we are delivering – bringing efficiencies or new capabilities in response to evolving requirements.

The results of this approach speak for themselves. We have been supplying ongoing technology support services to one of the ‘big four’ UK bank’s trading floors for more than 30 years – and our approach means we have been able to continually drive costs out of their operation. The flexibility of our approach has also meant that during the COVID-19 crisis we have been able to rapidly support the relocation of a large number of traders to home working.

We have also worked in partnership with another of the big four for the last two years – realising hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of savings while delivering 100% SLA attainment. For the customer here transparency really was the key.

As the client’s service delivery manager explains: “The very first project we ever did ran into some major challenges but rather than try and hide them, the LMG team flagged them openly and then provided all the right areas of support we needed to get everything resolved. And it learned from the experience, so the same challenges haven’t occurred again … LMG’s commitment to a fully transparent relationship has helped us immensely … Because LMG takes care of the network, devices and service management, it means there’s one point of contact, one point of billing, one point of reporting and crucially – one point of accountability.”

If we are to deliver on the promise of the IoT and digital buildings, then this is exactly the approach that is required. When we talk about delivering converged services that has to be for the long-term, not just at installation, otherwise there will always be something that slips through the cracks, something that holds things up, something that prevents us from extracting the absolute maximum value.

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