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Integrated Workplace Management Systems

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The profession of Facility Management (FM) and Real Estate Management (RE) has evolved rapidly in the last two decades. The increasing need for cost efficiency, business flexibility and transparency is challenging today’s FM and RE managers. This is where Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) come in picture.

In many organizations a lot of the FM and RE related data and information is available, however in most cases it is in different spread sheets, different IT systems and often in the minds of different employees. Bringing this data together in a structured ‘single-source-of-truth is an important step to answer the ‘what’ question like what real estate to manage, what assets to maintain or what services to deliver.

The ‘how’ question is even more important to achieve FM and RE targets like how is a technical service executed, product delivered, workflow works, service request handled or real estate transaction processed. These so called ‘business processes’ are at the heart of any efficient and professional FM and RE organization.

Combining the ‘single-source-of-truth’ with ‘business processes’ in an integrated software solution is a key precondition to continuously identify and execute cost efficiency and quality improvement initiatives in any Facility and Real Estate Management organization. These software solutions are called Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS).

Integration

An IWMS is typically connected to various other IT solutions, like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources (HR), Building Management Systems (BMS) or Smart Meters. ERP systems contain data that is relevant for FM & RE management processes. HR systems deliver personnel data, BMS send technical data and Smart Meters deliver online energy consumption data to the IWMS. This data exchange is in most cases bidirectional. Next to data exchange, today’s technology like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA or SOAP) even supports real-time process integration between software systems. IWMS vendors offer different solutions either based on specific customizations or the configuration of Web services within the standard software.

For organizations that have a large and geographically spread portfolio, integration with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) like ESRI offers new opportunities in terms of analyses and visualization. The connection of IWMS with GIS combines intelligence of both worlds to analyze, for example, the impact of demographical circumstances on your real estate portfolio, helps you in finding the best location for your retail expansions.

Any organization that begins a new IWMS initiative expects fast implementation, a quick results and a maximized re-use of the market’s collective experiences. Best-practices that are based on many implementation experiences and market standards like IPD, BOMA, CEN or LEED and BREEAM allow organizations to shorten the time from implementation to benefits.

From a functional perspective the most important difference between IWMS and CAFM is that IWMS additionally includes extensive functionality for real estate and lease management, project management and environmental sustainability. Individual offerings however differ per vendor.

Users of IWMS

IWMS is used across all industries in profit and nonprofit organizations including financial services, local and central government, education, healthcare, retail, production, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Due to their complexities, multinational organizations that are represented in multiple countries tend to use IWMS as a key strategic tool to manage and align real estate portfolios and facility management processes.

Commercial providers of professional facility, maintenance or real estate services have adapted IWMS as a part of their core business as it helps them to improve the planning, delivery and quality of services to their customers. IWMS user-persona in FM and RE are:

  • The front office user – the connection between the back-office and the employees in the core business.
  • The field engineer – responsible for the execution of work and job tickets.
  • The core business employee –who consumes FM and RE services to execute tasks in the best possible way.
  • The manager-persona – needs easy to access output like management dashboards, trend analyses, occupancy reports, SLA and performance indicators, benchmarks and other tactical and strategic output.
  • The application manager – who needs full access to the configuration, authorization and system management functions to reconfigure processes, change user-interfaces and system behaviors, maintain standards, add or change user authorizations, etc.

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