In Their Own Words: EAM Insights from Mike Berthelsen and Leslie Krueger

Publication date: 
August 15, 2017

We spoke with Mike Berthelsen, Interim Vice President, University Services, and Leslie Krueger, Chief of Staff, University Services, to learn more about the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) project.

leslie kruger and mike bertelsen

We asked them to tell us about EAM in their own words.

  • What is EAM?  

  • Why are we doing it?

  • What are you excited about (regarding EAM)?

About Mike and Leslie - Their Leadership roles in the EAM project

  • Mike Berthelsen is the executive sponsor for the EAM project. He has been involved in EAM all the way back to when it was just an idea. He became Interim Vice President of University Services about a year ago, and at that time he became the executive sponsor for EAM.
  • Leslie Krueger has been involved in the EAM program since its inception, as the Chief of Staff for University Services. Early on, she was aware of the project which Facilities Management was leading because it impacted so many people.

In February 2016, Leslie joined the EAM Steering Committee, when the EAM project was in Phase 2. At this time, they were developing the Request For Proposal (RFP) and selecting the vendor for the System Integrator role (a.k.a. the software implementation company). When Mike Berthelsen became Interim Vice President of University Services, Leslie became the chair of the EAM Steering Committee. In addition, the University Services IT team (Gabe Garlets and his team) reports to Leslie. She also ensures Gabe’s team has the resources it needs to support the EAM project.

In Their Own Words...

What is EAM?

Mike: EAM is a mindset. It is the way we are going to use and be stewards of the University’s physical assets, and it will enable us to make the best use of our physical assets. It is the planning, building the buildings, assigning and managing the space, and maintaining the space.

“We have chosen a new software to help us do that, however, the software is just the tool; it is not the goal.”
- Mike Berthelsen

Leslie: EAM is enhancing our ability to manage our physical assets by changing the way we do business through the use of a common technology tool. There are a couple questions for us to consider:

  • Are there “better” ways to do business?
  • Are there more “consistent” ways to do business with the support of a common tool?

“EAM is not just about the technology (the tool). The technology gives us the opportunity to rethink the way we do business.”
- Leslie Krueger

Both Mike and Leslie agreed, the EAM project is more than just a new technology tool. It is about streamlining processes, making them more efficient and effective. It will provide data for better decision making.

Why are we doing this?

Mike: Our job is to be the best stewards of the University of Minnesota’s physical assets. We support the University’s mission which is threefold (Research and Discovery, Teaching and Learning, and Outreach and Public Service) to create highly functional and efficient facilities where we do our work.

  • We hire talented people to do our work. And we need to give them tools to do the work, both physical tools and information tools.
  • The new system will be easier for employees to use. Today it is not easy. We don’t have simple systems for people to use. We are operating with ‘pagers’ in a ‘smart phone’ era.

“We ultimately want integrated processes. The EAM program will make buildings work better, last longer, and cost less.”
- Mike Berthelsen

Leslie: We are implementing EAM because one of the goals of University Services is to provide mission-advancing places, which supports the academic mission of the University. Maintaining and supporting our physical assets is the second largest expense for the University, second only to people assets (compensation). There is an opportunity to do a better job with this and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our processes and the way we do our day-to-day work.

How does this change align with the vision for the University of Minnesota?

Leslie: The University Services vision, which is part of our strategic plan, is:

“We are driven to deliver exceptional services and places to make discoveries possible and experiences memorable”.

EAM plays a role in all four of University Services’ goals for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Below are some examples of how the EAM project will help us achieve our goals and objectives.

Table with additional information - refer to the article

What are the risks if we don't do this? Or if we don't do it well?

Both Mike and Leslie said one risk is that our current, main technology tool we use to manage work orders today (Compass / FAMIS) will no longer be supported. It is going away. We had to do something.

Mike: If we don't do this there would be a lost opportunity for things we know are wrong with our current system. For example, work occurs in multiple silos today and that would continue.

It limits our ability and prevents us from having enough information to get better. It would take longer to ultimately fix things, down the road. It would cost more. It is better to do it right the first time. It would be harder for staff to do their jobs without the proper tools; it would be frustrating for them.

Leslie: The institution is changing; higher education is changing and we need to change and grow as well. There are pressures to be more efficient.

"The new system, TRIRIGA, will be able to provide us with the information we need, so we can make better decisions and ultimately become more efficient and effective."
- Leslie Krueger

What are you excited about regarding EAM?

Mike: Honestly, I'm excited to be done (with it). (laughter) There are a small number of people spending a LOT of time on the EAM project.

"I am excited to ask new questions and to get answers we haven't been able to get answered before. It will be easier for us to get answers across the University with the data that will be in the new tool."
- Mike Berthelsen

Resources (and information) will be available after EAM is implemented. The University owns and operates 900 buildings on nearly 29 million acres throughout the state of Minnesota. In the new world, we will be able to share much more information, more widely. We want to push information out to the deans and faculty so they know what is there. Today we get duplicate requests, because people don't know what's there.

Leslie: I am excited to have better information to support decision-making and to have information at our fingertips. It will enable the rest of the University to see how they use their space. This is a huge opportunity. I think there will be some a-ha moments when colleges get information about their space, that they currently do not have access to today. We have a lot of work to do to get there. Leslie is also looking forward to seeing how we do business long-term and how we evolve University Services.

"I am excited to see people in the organization and across the University work together. We are strengthening our partnerships both within University Services and across the University."
- Leslie Krueger

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Both Mike and Leslie want thank everyone who has worked on the project.

Mike: For people working on the EAM project, thanks for the work, in addition to handling your normal responsibilities. You are making an investment in the University by making our jobs better in the future.

For those of you not yet engaged, I want you to know that there are a lot of people trying to get you the tools to make your jobs easier. We will be sharing it more broadly when enough of the new system is put together, and when we have something concrete to show you.

Leslie: I would like to say thank you and recognize all of the people who have been working on the EAM project. I recognize how much effort the teams have put in and how much time and effort they will continue to put in through implementation.

In closing, both Mike and Leslie would like to say thank you and express

their appreciation to everyone who has worked on the EAM project.

This is a really important strategic, enterprise-wide initiative and we could not do it without you!