ABM: Why Building an Efficient Future Starts in the Cloud

Katie Knoll and Anthony Novotne, Xelleration

These days, IT professionals are constantly bombarded with ideas, tools, entities, and big data from every direction from customers, IT publications, partner organizations, and others. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world of technologies, however, it’s necessary to find a way to tackle management and processing of real-time data to give more accurate analyses—resulting in more confident decision making. Unfortunately, big data is often so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional data applications. Developing a solution to reign in big data can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be.

Take, for example, ABM (NYSE: ABM), one of the largest facility services providers in the United States. ABM's comprehensive capabilities include facilities engineering, commercial cleaning, energy solutions, HVAC, electrical, landscaping, parking, and security services, provided through standalone or integrated solutions. The company was initially looking for a way to lower costs and improve efficiencies. However, ABM knew that the potential to collect and analyze big data is vital for innovation and future decision making. To develop a solution, ABM reached out to Xelleration; an award-winning Microsoft Gold competency partner with 14 years’ experience in developing quick reliable solutions tailored to fit any unique technology need.

Humble beginnings to worldwide synergy

After acquiring The Linc Group in 2010, ABM faced a new challenge of working with several legacy work order management systems to relay work activity information to workers in the field. To combine these disjointed systems, ABM needed to develop a solution that pulled information across platforms into a simple interface. Workers needed to be able to view the status of current work activities, take on new ones, and earn rewards to encourage efficiency and quality, all inside a secure device agnostic field-deployable application.

ABM takes to the cloud

To keep in line with ABM’s new Unified Workforce philosophy, Xelleration, along with additional partners, crafted a unique application called Social Compulsion, uniting ABM’s fragmented international workforce together as one. With the goal of saving costs and increasing scalability in mind, ABM needed a solution flexible enough to handle all of its users while tackling the challenges of fluctuating seasonal workloads. Social Compulsion also was devised to integrate with other work order management solutions while providing backwards compatibility for legacy systems.

imageThanks to Microsoft Azure, Xelleration was able to create a flexible, robust system that lightened the load on server processers and instantly increased memory when sorting through mountains of data, resulting in a highly responsive mobile application that can be used globally. Since ABM was able to save money on hardware and infrastructure costs, savings could be reinvested into the application, improving the system’s functionality and performance.

By adding a gamification element to its solution, ABM transformed its antiquated model of working with companies purely based on long-standing relationships, to a model which rewarded efficiency and performance. High performers are acknowledged on a leaderboard and are given the first opportunity to either accept or reject a work activity.

Pioneering the future

imageWith over 100 years of experience, ABM continues to change the way the facilities management industry works by reinventing how it distributes facility services to clients. ABM’s new, innovative model is based on tangible metrics and return on investment rather than long-standing relationships. Using this solution, Xelleration created a transparent adaptable process encouraging and empowering ABM’s workforce to become more efficient, diligent, and to enhance their skills.

Social Compulsion is currently being used at several ABM client locations, including airports and stadium facilities.  Thanks to the solution’s huge success, ABM is scheduled to expand the application to all regions by mid-2014.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes have the same opportunity for success ABM saw when it turned to cloud applications to solve its big data needs. As Xelleration capitalized upon the prospects created by modern platforms, including Microsoft Azure and Windows 8.1, other partners can chart new growth through the development of custom solutions for customers.

Comments (3)
  1. Greg Lush says:

    Well done, thanks for posting the article. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Xelleration and flex the power of Microsoft Azure.

  2. Mo Khan says:

    Great Story and Great company ABM.

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