Real estate and facility management costs typically represent over 20% of an organisation’s costs. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) are software solutions that enable executives and managers to reduce these costs significantly and increase business productivity in one go. An IWMS is used by an organisation looking for more efficiency, transparency, flexibility and customer satisfaction in their facilities management processes.   

Integrated Workplace Management Systems typically support business processes in Real Estate Management, Maintenance planning and control, Space & Workplace Management, Services Management, Project Management, and Sustainability Management. True IWMS software is based on a single database platform where multiple business processes from all disciplines are interconnected. This ensures high quality management information, full compliance, and maximised monitoring and control.

What you need to know about IWMS?

The shift from tailor made software to standard solutions
Along with the evolution of IWMS, the market demand for standard software has increased drastically. Project specific customisations and tailor made software have shown to be expensive, time consuming, and extremely hard to maintain. Business processes will change over time, so most organisations choose an Integrated Workplace Management System that is able to adapt to expanding needs within the standard software. Changes are not customised with special software, but are configured using the standard solution. This increases flexibility, reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) and ensures compatibility with new software versions.

Configurability within the standard software is in many cases a key requirement for any successful and future proof IWMS implementation. Configuration capabilities differ strongly by vendor and it’s recommended that you evaluate your requirements extensively.

View the Data Configuration video for Planon Universe.

Evaluate and select software that meets your needs
The organisation’s Facility Management and Real Estate strategy determines the scope, functionality and processes the IWMS needs to support. Are you aiming your strategy at outsourcing FM? If so, then processes like Service Level Agreements and contract management, supplier management, performance monitoring, customer satisfaction surveys and chain integration become relevant. Do you want to consolidate your real estate portfolio? In this instance processes like portfolio management, lease management, strategic space planning, scenario planning and transaction management will play a key role in your IWMS. Are you wanting to increase added value to your core business? Then processes like efficient space and workplace management, room booking services, helpdesk support and self-service processes will help immediately. Is business continuity and compliance a high priority? In this case planned preventative maintenance, reactive maintenance, health and safety procedures, security management, compliant administration and reporting enable achieving your goals. Is corporate sustainability a key objective for your organisation? Then processes like energy monitoring, waste management, carbon emission reporting, BREEAM or LEED certification and project management become relevant. 

Next to processes and workflows, it’s important to understand the required output, reports, KPIs and management information from an IWMS and to validate these requirements carefully when selecting your solution of choice.

For global organisations that operate in multiple countries or continents, the requirements for an IWMS typically will include aspects such as multi language, currency, time-zone and measurements. Practice shows that these organisations tend to combine a centralised standardisation with opportunities for local fine- tuning. Multinationals and professional Service Providers are advised to validate these requirements carefully when selecting an IWMS.

View the webinar Implementing a global IWMS.

A Best Practice helps you to maximise your benefits
Any organisation that begins a new IWMS initiative expects easy implementation, a fast result and maximised re-use of the market’s collective experiences. Some IWMS vendors have anticipated these changing requirements and created best-practices that are based on many implementation experiences and market standards like IPD, BOMA, CEN or LEED and BREEAM. This allows organisations to shorten the time to implementation and benefit from the Integrated Workplace Management System almost immediately.

Find out more about Planon's IWMS solution - Planon Universe.

Integration capabilities determine success
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 like SAP or Oracle contain data that is relevant for Facility Management and Real Estate Management processes. Cost centres, budget codes or supplier information are examples of data that is frequently exchanged between ERP and IWMS. 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. The IWMS for example sends financial charge back information to ERP, or updates room- and phone information in the HR system. 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 for this, either based on specific customisations or the configuration of Web Services within the standard software. 

Five measurable benefits to build your IWMS business case

Benefit 1: Full transparency
Not knowing your portfolio, its value, m2, occupancy, planned maintenance, lease contracts, service suppliers, SLA’s etcetera brings an enormous risk in terms of costs, compliance and business continuity. An IWMS gives you transparency in all relevant aspects by creating a standardised and structured data repository for all your processes. You know exactly the available m2 for future growth, the floor areas for contracting the cleaning, the expiration of lease contracts, and when next maintenance needs to be executed. With this type of information Facility Management and Real Estate managers are back in control.

Benefit 2: Better utilisation and more efficiency
Facilities, office spaces, meeting rooms and workplaces seem to be well utilised, however practice shows that their occupancy is on average just between 50% and 60%. An IWMS offers you the tools to measure and analyse your utilisation and increase the effective use and value for your organisation. This even allows you to eliminate underperforming facilities and spaces or change their functions. As IWMS supports your business processes, you can easily analyse the performance of these processes and ultimately improve efficiency and quality of output. Identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, excessive time spent, exceeding budgets or any other parameter that impacts your business. IWMS allows you to continuously improve and benchmark these processes to achieve maximised efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Benefit 3: Proven compliance
Compliancy, legislation and law are more and more impacting processes in real estate and facility management. Health & safety, maintenance, security, sustainability and FASB lease accounting are just a few examples of areas with increasing need for compliant processes and reporting. A structured administration and documentation needs to be in place to prove compliance in case of any audit or incident. IWMS offers the functions, tools and structures to ensure compliance in Facility Management and Real Estate, protecting senior management from any legal consequences.

Benefit 4: Decision support
In today’s business climate it is extremely important to make the right decisions fast. Mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, budget constraints and other economical factors, put high pressure on FM and RE managers. This increases the need for reliable and integrated management information to support decision making processes. IWMS supports operational, tactical and strategic decision making with reports, analyses, dashboards and benchmarks. Next to standard reports, IWMS allows organisations to create specific output or analyses based on historical trends and future forecasts.

Benefit 5: Cost savings
From a monetary perspective all mentioned IWMS benefits include direct and indirect cost saving, cost avoiding and revenue increasing benefits. A general quantification of these monetary benefits is hardly possible because of the different circumstances and starting points in each organisation. Gartner published an analysis on IWMS savings stating 10-15% cost reduction in space by effective and efficient management, 5-8% costs savings by process improvements and better contracting, and 5-8% savings in lease costs by professional lease administration.

Build your business case
Before selecting and implementing an Integrated Workplace Management Systems it’s recommended to make a business case including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits from at least a three year perspective. In many cases the IWMS software costs are a minor part of the total investment. Data collection, change management, internal costs, IT infrastructure and project management should be taken into account. Also specific customisations or integrations can impact the Total Costs of Ownership (TCO) heavily, depending strongly on the vendor and solution of choice. The IWMS deployment and exploitation model is also a part of the business case: is the IWMS installed within your organisation or hosted by the vendor? Is application management done internally or outsourced to the vendor? Choices that are made will impact as well costs as benefits.


White Paper Building a credible business case

Before selecting and implementing an IWMS, it’s recommended to build a business case including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits from at least a three year perspective. 

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White Paper What is IWMS?

This white paper explains the most important differences between IWMS and Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) and Facility Management Information Systems (FMIS). Also the evolution of these systems in terms of standardisation, integration capabilities, workflow orientation, CAD and BIM connectivity, and technology are described.

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Video Why companies need IWMS

In this video from The Facilities Show 2014, presenter Roger Parslow discusses why companies choose an IWMS and the benefits it offers an organisation.

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