Mobile legal safety inspections with the easysquare professional app now also in Austria – BUWOG Group GmbH relies on PROMOS QMVKS
BUWOG Group GmbH makes a decision
BUWOG Group GmbH currently has around 21,300 units throughout Austria and plans to expand this by around 5,100 residential units, mainly in the capital city of Vienna. Since September 2018, the Austrian real estate company has been part of Vonovia SE – a fact that is not insignificant for the entire project. As a long-term customer, Vonovia has already been using PROMOS solutions for several years and has a good overview of the service portfolio. When BUWOG began to search for a digital solution for its legal safety obligations at the end of 2019, PROMOS quickly came into play. They quickly decided to use the PROMOS solution for quality management and legal safety regulations (PROMOS QMVKS, for short) from the Berlin digitisation experts. The project started in April 2020 with Lukas Schön, application manager, as the IT project manager on the BUWOG side.
A situation with potential
After the takeover by Vonovia, the Austrian BUWOG Group GmbH was migrated to Vonovia’s SAP® system and works there with its own client. Up to now, BUWOG’s property inspectors traditionally fulfilled their legal safety obligations with the help of paper-based reports which they had to manually transfer to the system after their on-site appointments. “This approach served its purpose, of course, but we saw clear potential for improvement here. We hoped that a mobile solution would significantly lessen the burden on our employees and also reduce possible transmission errors,” Schön says, explaining the reasons for the project initiative.
Lukas Schön, application manager and IT project manager for BUWOG
From a good standard system to a specialised individual solution
In accordance with the proven PROMOS best practice approach, the standard QMVKS solution was initially made available for internal testing after preliminary discussions on BUWOG’s basic requirements. “We were able to find out at a very early stage where the solution is already very convergent and where we would need to make some adjustments,” Schön recalls. The staff at BUWOG were always able to immediately test the solution after any adjustments were made. Along with regular coordination and project management meetings, this approach allowed the team to gradually inch closer and closer toward the ideal solution. Another crucial success factor was the close involvement of end users in the project. Georg Niessner, head of technical property management and technical project manager at BUWOG, concludes, “As a technical department, we have a very precise and practice-oriented idea of what the solution must achieve and we’re also in a position to assess which functions can really make day-to-day work more efficient and convenient for property inspectors. That’s why I’ve been repeatedly collecting my team’s opinions and involving them in the solution development process. This enabled us to establish a basis for acceptance of the solution early on.”
Transparent communication as the golden rule for remote projects
When the project began in April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had already reached Europe. It was not conceivable to hold face-to-face meetings at this time, especially across national borders. The challenge was thus to map the project completely remotely. PROMOS had already been using SharePoint for a long time in order to keep documents centrally accessible and editable for all participants in customer projects. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Berlin system specialists additionally set up an internal framework for stringent communication, collaboration and file management in MS® teams. As this platform was already in use at BUWOG, it was an obvious choice to use it for the project. “In the beginning, of course, everyone thought that fully digital collaboration might end up being a hindrance. It became clear after a very short time, though, that this would not be the case, at least for our project. A basis of trust quickly emerged in our voice and video calls despite the physical distance. For us, the key to good cooperation was not to get to know each other personally, but to be transparent and open in our mutual communications,” Schön explains. The project thus ran according to plan despite everything, in terms of both time and content.
Figure 1: The target/actual comparison gives the user an overview of all inspection tasks. Traffic light colours indicate the current status.
PROMOS QMVKS – a convincing solution scope
The customised QMVKS solution has been in productive use at BUWOG since the beginning of 2021. Since then, a total of four property inspectors have been carrying out inspections of the safety regulation and maintenance obligations for the nationwide portfolio, which entails around 180,000 inspection tasks for the first year. The current tasks can be carried out conveniently on site using checklists and catalogue selection in the easysquare professional app. The data is then automatically available in the SAP® system, where it can be evaluated. The target/actual comparison is particularly helpful, as it clearly evaluates the status of inspections with due dates for the entire portfolio. “The fact that we can now obtain statuses on open, overdue and completed inspection tasks at the touch of a button is extremely convenient and brings added value for us,” Niessner says enthusiastically. The solution is also characterised by various individual adaptations.
Specialised – region-specific inspection services, legal information and an overall report
Although the majority of legal inspection obligations in Austria are the same for the entire country, there are also sometimes individual regulations for each federal state. For this reason, the QMVKS solution at BUWOG can now be used to store inspection services for specific regions. Another innovation is the ability to record the relevant laws from which the individual inspection obligations arise.
BUWOG also wanted to be able to retrospectively generate an overall report for the whole year. A letter set up for SAP® SmartForms can now be used to generate a corresponding PDF document containing information from the annual inspection survey with all photos and colour markings.
Optimised – mobile master data maintenance via app
An important component of the new QMVKS solution is the integration of master data maintenance. The existing master data was optimised since it did not have the structure required for the solution. Module logic was introduced for this purpose. All possible components were initially stored for each building. In the first mobile inspection walk-through, the property inspectors now check and maintain which components are actually present. For example, is a lift gate really installed and is there a lift? This makes it easier to precisely plan which inspections will have to be carried out on which buildings in subsequent years. Master data maintenance can also be used whenever changes are made to real estate objects. Niessner adds, “Master data entered in the mobile app is automatically integrated into our SAP® system. This not only works quickly and saves us manual transmission effort, but also significantly increases our data quality.”
Figure 2: Property inspectors see their inspection tasks in the easysquare app and can process them there step by step. Issues requiring action can be documented directly in the app, which automatically generates a message in SAP® when the data is sent.
Successful connection – link to the external ticket system and deadline manager
Since BUWOG uses its own ticket system, the QMVKS solution had to be connected to this third-party system. Whenever inspectors discovered a defect on site before, it had to be recorded in writing and then manually transferred to the BUWOG ticket system. This is fully automated today thanks to a digital connection between the mobile solution and the BUWOG ticket system. Likewise, the deadline manager used by Vonovia to store maintenance contracts was also linked to the QMVKS solution. This allows property inspectors to view certain content from the existing contracts on site and carry out their inspections accordingly.
Good foundations – the entire company is ready to use the easysquare professional app
On a broader level, the introduction of the QMVKS solution at BUWOG also acted as a pilot project for Vonovia, where the easysquare mobile app is used by around 5,000 users so far. With the introduction of the new easysquare professional app at BUWOG, the joint SAP® system was prepared technically and in terms of content for a possible future update at Vonovia. BUWOG is successfully using the new version, and a switch at the parent company can now be implemented without major technical preparations at any time.
The introduction of PROMOS QMVKS and its tailoring to the company’s individual requirements and the Austrian market was crowned a success despite the completely remote project communication. QMVKS was able to go live in only nine months and has already received very positive feedback. “We are extremely satisfied with the new solution and have already presented it to other departments. Here, too, we were met with enthusiasm from our colleagues. In addition to the optimisations currently planned for QMVKS, we are confident that we will be able to implement further joint projects with PROMOS in the future,” Schön says, reflecting on the project’s success. “The exclusively digital collaboration has worked very well for both sides throughout the entire project. My team and I would therefore be very excited to meet the colleagues from Berlin in person once the pandemic is over.”
Director Facility & Construction Management
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