The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) advances higher education in Ontario, Canada through advocacy, research and policy development for its member institutions. In support of COU’s mission, BRG is pleased to announce the successful rollout of an advanced Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) that now services 21 member institutions of the COU.  The new system went live in July of 2014 after an accelerated six month implementation period.

With identified opportunities for increased productivity and innovation as well as clearly defined cost savings and avoidance opportunities, the MTCU (Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) provided funding to the consortium of universities under the Productivity & Innovation Fund (PIF). The University of Toronto acted as the lead institution through procurement and implementation.

The multi-institutional application for funding highlighted the need to replace legacy systems and unsupported software products, with the goal of creating opportunities for collaboration and best practices, development of common reporting and analytical tools, a shared knowledgebase and standardized training and support across the group.

Based on software from ARCHIBUS Inc.® and implemented into BRG’s Cloud SolutionsTM  hosted infrastructure, the implemented IWMS solution provides the COU user group with a best-in-class result to manage their inventory of facilities space, a critical asset of the member institutions amounting to over 8.4 million square meters (90 million square feet) of space.  Among the participating institutions are the University of Toronto, University of Guelph, University of Ottawa, Western University, York University, McMaster University, the University of Waterloo and 14 others.

“Explaining how university space is being used is an ongoing responsibility of each institution. With increasing emphasis on accountability, universities are expected to ensure that their use of resources, including physical facilities, is efficient and that appropriate information on utilization is available to the government and the public. The implemented system contains implicit utilization measures for physical space by category and has a significant financial impact on capital planning and has the potential to strongly impact cost recoveries”, said Todd Hutton, BRG’s Account Director for the project.

Based upon a foundation of scaled CAD drawings, the detailed data maintained in the system provides transparent visibility into space utilization allowing the universities to generate operating and capital cost efficiencies, a mandate of the Ontario Government’s commitment to academic infrastructure within its ten-year $60 billion infrastructure plan.

Through selection of a leading off-the-shelf platform and the implementation of higher education best-practices by BRG, the solution has significantly impacted the ability to drive standardized institutional metrics and system wide benchmarking and analysis, all with improved reporting to internal administration, governance, the COU and the Provincial Government. The system is expected to help inform future policies and procedures as a result of improved reporting capability.

BRG’s Cloud Solutions offers standardized and scalable cloud-based infrastructure that has been designed and optimized for IWMS software.  BRG’s Director of Technical Solutions, Kevin Zimmer, commented, “Without the ability to leverage BRG’s Cloud Solutions environment starting on day one, the condensed six month timeline requirements mandated under the program would have been impossible to meet. However, commissioning more than twenty separate IWMS instances with an integrated architecture and system wide reporting was greatly simplified within BRG’s IWMS-optimized cloud-based environment.”

As the chosen implementation expert, BRG drew upon their higher education subject matter expertise gleaned from more than 65 IWMS implementations for post-secondary clients, a baseline of best practices that significantly enabled the fast track implementation strategy.

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