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Author's profile photo Ann-Sofie Ruf

Increasing Real Estate Performance with Siemens

In a co-innovation project, Siemens and SAP developed a pilot of the Building Performance Management Cockpit, which enables real estate managers and other roles to gain transparency across the building portfolio and align property resources with business objectives.


Combining Expertise for a Joint Solution

Siemens’ Building Technologies Division is a leader in the field of building automation. Its energy efficiency solutions and consulting services are based on many years of experience collecting, visualizing and evaluating building-related energy data. Some of this data come from technical building automation systems, some from commercial systems. “SAP is a leading provider of such commercial systems, for instance enterprise resource planning software. In light of this, both companies complement each other perfectly to offer corporate customers, many of which are customers of both companies, an innovative and efficient solution”, says Dr. Johannes Milde, CEO of the Siemens Building Technologies Division. Siemens approached SAP with the idea to connect technical infrastructure data with sustainability and energy efficiency together with the real estate operators of large sites. “Major corporate customers with extensive real estate portfolios have told us that simply collecting and evaluating energy consumption data is not enough to efficiently manage their building portfolios. They need significantly more data from different sources”, explains Dr. Milde. Siemens and SAP started to dedicate resources to the project, and to generate ideas with real building operators – SAP Global Facility Management and Siemens Real Estate. While presenting the idea to joint customers, “we soon figured out that you can talk to customers and tell them about your plans, but it is not really impressive unless you see it”, says Peter Marburger, Head of Sales Energy Efficiency, Siemens Building Technologies. This awareness was crucial for the decision to bring the idea to life.


Meeting Core Needs through Co-Innovation

To take the idea a step further, the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) from SAP suggested to approach the challenge “How can we enable Facility and Real Estate Managers to analyze the performance of their buildings” from a co-innovation perspective. During a two-day workshop at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg different employees from Siemens and SAP collaborated to explore the challenge and its opportunities and to brainstorm and sketch out first ideas. Surprisingly, they discovered over 50 different roles. They thus prioritized the different roles and built paper prototypes as a first iteration for the four roles that best represent the most important needs: CEO Real Estate, Real Portfolio Manager, Sustainability and EHS Manager, and Head of Location Manager. After in-depth analysis of the workshop and research results the DCC came up with the idea of a generic Real Estate Cockpit framework that can be adjusted to different roles. They designed a click dummy, a functional mockup specific to the needs of different personas, and tested these cockpits with stakeholders from SAP Facility Management and Siemens Real Estate. In a third iteration they refined the cockpit concept and the visual design language while developing a functional, user friendly, and technical pilot.


Developing a Customized Dashboard

The design concept evolved into in the Building Performance Management Cockpit creates transparency regarding the building performance and allows the managers in charge to make fast and precise decisions on how to optimize building-related costs. Overall, it manages about 18 million square meters of offices and factories. Both companies know very well what it takes to professionally manage corporate real estate holdings. This experience has shaped the joint solution. It offers predefined user profiles for all essential user roles: from facility manager to project manager, from energy manager to chief financial officer. For each role, the relevant key performance indicators are displayed in an easy-to-understand format. Today, this transparency is either difficult to create or is missing altogether in many companies. The device-independent cockpit also supports insights to actions: Users can directly comment on a cockpit, create tasks, download data sets, and contact people with whom the dashboard can be shared. “I guess we were a challenging group, and we needed a lot of flexibility. But the project was really constructive and the cockpit as output is excellent”, recalls Peter Marburger, Head of Sales Energy Efficiency, Siemens Building Technologies. In terms of scope and depth, there is nothing comparable on the market. “The co-innovation project is a successful example of how co-innovation supports stakeholder alignment and incorporates user needs”, reflects Marion Fröhlich, Senior Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP. “Working as one team made us bridge the gap between design, engineering, and business, and to be faster”, adds Alessandro Sposato, Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, the dashboard is now being productized at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam to become a standard SAP solution. The implementation at SAP Global FacilityManagement and Siemens Real Estate as early adopters is currently being planned. In addition, Siemens is going to offer not only a software platform, but also an application specially tailored to corporate customers.

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