Dashboards Show the BigBy Elizabeth Bennett | Posted 2007-02-28 Print
Companies retaining UNICCO to clean offices, maintain heavy machinery and landscape grounds can schedule and track jobs and monitor work quality—all without picking up the phone.Picture">
Dashboards Show the Big Picture
UNICCO piloted the portal in 2003 with a couple of hundred internal users and two clients. "The response was overwhelming," Peterson says. Clients liked having access to different kinds of information in the same place: account information such as a list of all the services UNICCO provides, or how many work orders were open or had been escalated.
Since 2003, UNICCO invested roughly $1.5 million in software, hardware, consulting fees and ongoing maintenance in the portal. More than 1,600 employees and clients use the site.
And now, 20 UNICCO customers can view a graphical snapshot of key performance metrics in a dashboard screen on the portal. For example, green bars might depict the percentage of high-priority work orders that have and have not been completed within the agreed-upon time frame.
"The goal of the dashboard is to continually monitor each of the measures that are part of the service contract agreement," says Peterson, who adds that not all performance metrics can be monitored through the portal. In those cases, he says, UNICCO's tech staff may develop customized code or a data capture mechanism for reporting through the dashboard.
On UNICCO's end, an account manager will use the dashboard data and reporting tools to monitor service on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The portal includes a feature that allows a customer to track UNICCO's performance: An algorithm randomly generates customer satisfaction surveys and e-mails them to employees who request work orders. The consolidated results are posted on myUNICCO.com.
UNICCO estimates the cost to support each internal and external user based on infrastructure and maintenance investments has gone from $327 to $120 since 2004, largely because a big chunk of the software, hardware and consulting costs came in the project's initial years.
The company figures it saves about $125,000 annually on labor, now that customers can view invoices online versus calling a customer service agent to pull them from a filing cabinet and fax them over.
Another savings: Customers can also submit work orders on the portal instead of by phone or fax. Since April 2006, UNICCO has seen a 40% cut in call-center inquiries from one customer alone, who uses UNICCO for janitorial and other services under a $5.8 million annual contract.
While the portal helps UNICCO collect metrics to gauge its operations, the portal's ability to serve up metrics specially geared for customer use is key. Metrics—such as average time to close a trouble ticket—is an important service that portals can provide, says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research. "Companies should have a specific business problem in mind when building a portal," she says. "Think about what the problem is you're trying to solve. If it's meeting a real challenge, there are likely to be both direct and indirect benefits."
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