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Enterprise Asset Management

How one of Europe’s top universities adopted cutting-edge asset management to preserve its heritage and thrive

In the pursuit of academic and research excellence, European universities often struggle with managing extensive campuses that combine modern and historical buildings.

In addition, these buildings house a large number of assets — from elevators to lighting systems and research equipment — that use diverse systems and need to be adequately maintained and accounted for. However, many institutions lack the adequate tools and technologies to do so.

These challenges are particularly familiar to Milan’s Università Cattolica. Founded in 1921, it is Europe’s largest Catholic university, with more than 40,000 students across its five campuses. “Our activities take place in buildings with an extensive surface area, various types of systems for air conditioning, lighting and security and thousands of assets, from elevators to doors to electrical panels. In addition, some of our buildings are monuments of great historical and architectural value that require periodic monitoring to assess their condition and ensure their preservation,” explains Stefano Vincini, Head of Service for Maintenance and Development of Applications.

A matter of tools

Until 2013, the university’s management struggled to handle such a large and diverse portfolio of assets. Its legacy system offered minimal functionality and lacked comprehensive asset management capabilities. It merely collected incident reports and triggered maintenance interventions, a far cry from what was needed.

Stefano Vincini’s team therefore started seeking a state-of-the-art asset management system that could ensure more effective management of its spaces and assets and continuously monitor its buildings and assets to maintain safety, integrity and value.

A particular objective for Università Cattolica was to use the latest technological innovations to emphasize proactive and planned maintenance activities and leverage new graphical technologies to aid in the preservation of the university’s historical and architectural heritage.

A versatile technology with many tangible benefits

The selection process led to the adoption of HxGN EAM: “HxGN EAM proved highly configurable and scalable, both in terms of functionality and volumes of managed assets,” Stefano Vincini notes. “It also stood out for its ability to optimize our decision-making process by evaluating data and helping us spot trends and anomalies effectively. In addition, its OpenCAD module offers a comprehensive solution for our space management needs.”

Today, the solution is embedded in the daily operations of the university, offering real-time data entry and retrieval to hundreds of internal stakeholders and external operators.

HxGN EAM has helped the university digitize and streamline over 42,000 annual maintenance interventions, fine-tuned maintenance schedules to minimize disruptions to students and staff, improve

oversight of contractors and suppliers and gain time and efficiency in intervention recordings and maintenance operations.

Art every moment, field operators can use mobile devices to access work orders, equipment information, and site floor plans, streamlining their on-site tasks and reporting.

A 21st-century solution to manage Historical Heritage

Today, the use of HxGN EAM expands far beyond the initial scope of maintenance and inspections to include space management, cleaning, document management and even recording lost-and-found,  Stefano Vincini notes: “HxGN EAM's innovative 'double tree' asset classification allows us to catalog our assets with precision and granularity, based on both technology and geographical location. We can now easily navigate our asset catalog geographically, from the campus level down to individual spaces, or by type, such as fire systems or security components. This approach has revolutionized how we manage and maintain our assets across the university.”

In a university confronted with the challenge of maintaining a large number of assets and a rich historical heritage, Stefano Vincini appreciates the difference the new platform has brought: “For us, it was crucial to have a scalable and flexible asset management system that could optimize maintenance and operations while helping to preserve our architectural heritage. With HxGN EAM, we have found a highly customizable solution provided by an international market leader that could meet our needs across a vast range of uses and evolve significantly over time, supported by a comprehensive portfolio of solutions and integrations.”

In a continent where many universities struggle with similar challenges, Università Cattolica's case represents an inspiring example of how technology can usher in a revolution in facility management and heritage preservation.

To know more, read the full case study