Client Stories

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)

Digitising the facilities assurance process

Public sector | Digitisation

Objective: Transform a spreadsheet- and paper-based task into a digital service to improve engagement, efficiency and data accuracy.

Outcome: A user-friendly service that allows DIO Facilities Managers to record information on site, from any device, and reduce time spent on the task by up to 40%.

Results that matter: Instant data capture and validation, anywhere; less risk of error; lower assurance costs (£300k p/a); time savings (over 5%); greater employee engagement

Cutting out the paper in the facilities assurance process

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plans, builds and maintains key infrastructure for the UK’s armed forces. DIO Facilities Managers perform assurance checks on contractors’ responsible for maintaining DIO property. The DIO wanted a to transform this process to increase user engagement and improve efficiency and the reliability of the data gathered.

Part of the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is Europe’s largest property-owner, managing some 165,000 buildings (including houses) as well as roads, runways and harbours within and outside the UK. The DIO is also responsible for delivering services such as catering, cleaning and accommodation management.

The servicing and maintenance of DIO properties and infrastructure are conducted largely by contractors. DIO Facilities Managers perform regular assurance inspections to ensure these services meet the standards set out in each contract.

A detailed spreadsheet had been set up for Facilities Managers to record the results of each assurance inspection.

Facilities Managers would print a blank spreadsheet and take it to the site. Results and notes would be recorded on the printed sheet, then the information would be typed up on the electronic spreadsheet – sometimes hours or even days after the assurance check had been performed.

6point6 was appointed to digitise the process as part of a broader digital transformation initiative within the DIO, and improve the assurance inspection process and quality of information produced.

Working round the clock to save time for DIO

In just three months, 6point6 had replaced the cumbersome paper form with a responsive digital service that Facilities Managers could access securely, from any device. They can now input data when the need to, entering it once.

A user-friendly interface allows Facilities Managers to capture information directly to the system during the assurance check.

Not only does this save a huge amount of time, there’s also a reduced chance of forgetting important points discussed during the assurance check, or mis-keying information from paper  to an electronic spreadsheet.

We were able to progress from discovery to a private beta version of the service within three months, delivering ahead of schedule.

User-centric research informs design of a work-based service

Taking time to understand the user context and their needs enabled us to deliver business value with a service that’s engaging and relevant for users, and meets the business goals.

To understand the intricacies and challenges of the facilities assurance process, we spent several weeks shadowing DIO Facilities Managers at locations across the UK – air force bases, navy bases, army training centres and marine barracks, to name a few –and recording our observations.

We also conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the process to understand the business goals of the assurance process.

The outcomes of this work informed the initial design of the service, which immediately gained traction in user testing – as evidenced by the very positive response received.

The end-to-end service process aligned with the Government Digital Service principle of creating digital services based on the needs of the people who use them, rather than assumptions of what the service should do.

Evidence-based design enabled us to create a service that Facilities Managers enjoy using, is relevant to their work and saves an enormous amount of wasteful manual processing.

Digitisation saves 40% of the work week and thousands in training costs

The simplified front-end we designed will enable some 250 facilities staff to record and validate results quickly, freeing up time for them to focus on other tasks.

The improved accuracy of information recorded also means the DIO has access to more reliable, centralised data – and in turn more valuable analytics.

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