When discussing complex applications of scalable cloud-based analytics, it is easy to overlook a fundamental aspect of software and organizational management – how to partition user access, securely define who is responsible for what, and how they relate and interact with each other. In this post, I will share how KGS has built a platform to provide a secure but flexible, interwoven but separate, network of relationships among clients and vendors to deliver a platform adaptable to the web of facilities relationships through which we work.
In Clockworks®, every entity we work with is represented by an “Organization”, which allows us to configure their users, their buildings and equipment, and define relationships and permissions between and among entities. For some customers, no other Organizations should have access to their data. However, large Facilities Management Organizations often have relationships that are much more complicated and need technology solutions that can be flexible and secure to reflect the reality of their day to day business .
For example, it is much more common that a customer, say a large healthcare system, works with numerous vendors across their network of buildings. They may have one building automation vendor for three sites, another for five more, and another and another. They may work with four different mechanical services vendors, regionally, and have an energy project underway at a major hospital. They may work with their utility company to find and implement energy savings measures. It is imperative to provide each of these organizations the access, the roles, and the permissions to interact with building data, and only the building data, they need to serve the client.
The Clockworks platform is designed to allow each of these organizations to be configured for their appropriate role. For example, they are configured to gain access to only the sites and buildings on which they perform work. They are assigned roles appropriate for their function, which may differ at each site, such as the ability to view performance indicator data, review detailed diagnostic findings, or be assigned and create work items. This flexibility to represent multiple entities, with complex relationships, different roles, and access to different parts of a building portfolio, is fundamental to supporting an industry built on relationships and coordination among teams to get work done.
While it isn’t the most headline-grabbing part of what we do, this flexible but secure organizational structure in Clockworks is critical to our work, and the IT departments, service providers, and facilities managers we work with come to appreciate this flexibility and security. These organizational structures are also critical to unlocking the great potential of a global platform for building analytics, allowing vendors to be managed in a secure and organized manner with authorization to the appropriate entities rather than ten different log-ins to many different instances of software. With user security, authorization, and relationships properly in hand, we can focus on the good work of providing a global platform for facility analytics, which is advanced for all based on experience across many sites, providing greater value to each individual user and client.
Thanks for reading.
The KGS Buildings Team.
Automated Analytics. Smarter Facilities.