How to successfully manage estates with cloud technology

ICONICS and Microsoft Azure give UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy a new way to manage data from multiple property estates

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 28 May 2018
How to successfully manage estates with cloud technology
This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of The Record.

Responsible for promoting trade and boosting innovation across the UK’s science, business and industrial sectors, the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) helps to provide citizens with the skills and education they need to start and grow businesses. To this end, BEIS has 2,500 core staff and oversees 49 partner organisations that collectively employ more than 14,500 people. Each of the partner organisations has its own property estates, which means that BEIS’s Property Asset Management team manages offices across London, Sheffield, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham and several other UK cities. (and facilities-related data sets) BEIS’s main holistic aim was to shrink its carbon footprint by reducing the number of buildings it owned, while optimising the performance of those it retained.

However, the data and reporting processes for BEIS’s entire building portfolio were fragmented and its team had to compile hundreds of incongruent spreadsheets for 70 disparate data sources across 180 buildings. This meant it had little time to digest data and act accordingly.

Consequently, BEIS needed a new way to capture all sorts of operational data – including everything from occupancy counts, energy statistics and meter readings, to project information, financial reporting and lease agreements. To do this, it turned to Microsoft partner ICONICS.

ICONICS ran a short Microsoft Azure-hosted proof of concept to demonstrate the capabilities of its GENESIS64 solution. BEIS chose three data sources and, within a week, saw that the dashboards ICONICS had built, combined with the flexibility of visualising spreadsheets with different formats, were exactly what it needed.

Today, BEIS uses the Microsoft Azure-hosted solution to gain an integrated view of all its building assets. The Property Asset Management team can drill down to any property by geographical area and see more than 70 different data types in building dashboard summaries within Microsoft Azure. BEIS can manage all data entry via an online interface, so there’s no longer a need for staff to trawl through hundreds of different spreadsheets to see the buildings occupancy counts, energy consumption statistics, or lease agreements – the data can be accessed within a couple of clicks. This allows BEIS to easily identify the most underused and least energy efficient of its 180 buildings.

ICONICS used Microsoft’s Azure Table storage and Event Hub to configure the cloud solution, which means that it can be easily scaled if BEIS wants to add more data sources as it grows across the government in future.

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