Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Organizations with hundreds or thousands of assets need a way to manage them all in one place. What’s more, they typically want to schedule maintenance, track capital projects and reduce energy use without having to install multiple software systems.

That’s where an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) comes in. But what is IWMS software, anyway?

IWMS helps organizations maximize the usefulness of all resources and assets within an integrated software platform where information can be shared. Drawing on advice from two market experts, this article will show you how using IWMS software can help increase productivity and reduce costs.

An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) is a software platform that helps organizations optimize the use of workplace resources, including the management of a company’s real estate portfolio, infrastructure and facilities assets.

An IWMS is designed to help companies in facilities management and corporate real estate management save money and be more efficient. It combines various software applications in order to provide professionals in these fields with high-level management information.

In 2004, Gartner coined the term “integrated workplace management software” to describe an enterprise suite that includes five components:

  • Real Estate and Lease Management: Used to manage the real estate assets of a corporation, from acquisition to disposal. This includes lease accounting, planning, request for proposal (RFP) management and tax management.
  • Facilities and Space Management: Just like facilities software, this application helps optimize the use of facility space. Users can manage physical spaces within buildings, manage employees and book and schedule rooms. It can also integrate with CAD files and building information modeling software.
  • Maintenance Management: Similar to a stand-alone maintenance management system (CMMS), this application is used to schedule preventive maintenance tasks, create work orders, establish predictive maintenance processes, manage spare parts inventory and manage equipment and machinery with asset profiles.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Allows users to measure energy usage, track energy-related costs and identify areas of energy waste. This application can often integrate with building management or building automation systems allow users to centrally control various systems throughout a facility, such as air conditioning, lighting or ventilation. to establish benchmarks and analyze energy use.
  • Capital Project Management: This application helps with the planning and execution of new building projects or remodels (e.g., new construction or an expansion in an existing office building). It includes functionality for planning, bidding, document management and financial accounting.

These tools are integrated and housed within the same platform, all drawing from the same data. Thus, the greatest benefit of an IWMS is the coordination of all the above activities.

An IWMS is a comprehensive suite designed for larger companies with a wealth of assets to manage. This might include organizations with chain restaurants, several retail stores or a large office or educational campus.

As such, there are various types of potential buyers for these systems, says Daniel Barrett, the facilities management portfolio marketing leader at IBM, which offers the TRIRIGA system.

Typical buyers may include:

  • Corporate real estate managers or directors
  • Facilities managers
  • Maintenance managers
  • Environmental energy or sustainability directors

Regardless of the buyer, several departments will use and/or benefit from an IWMS. The primary users are typically real estate managers, maintenance or facilities managers and their teams of technicians.

However, executives also stand to benefit: An IWMS can produce reports that help them make smarter decisions, such as financial reports for capital projects or maintenance operations, space utilization reports or energy efficiency metrics. Some companies may find certain IWMS applications unnecessary for their needs: For example, perhaps you only need to handle maintenance for one facility.

IWMS components can be implemented in any order—or all together as a single, comprehensive implementation—according to the organization’s needs. As an implementation best practice, a phased approach for implementing IWMS components sequentially is advised—though a multifunction approach can still be followed. Each IWMS functional area requires the same steps for its implementation, though extra care, coordination and project management will be necessary to ensure smooth functioning for more complex implementations.

Adoption of as-shipped business processes included in the IWMS software over an organization’s existing business processes constitutes a “core success prerequisite and best practice” in the selection and implementation of IWMS software. As a result, organizations should limit configuration to all but the most compelling cases.

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