Organisations deploy an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) for a broad range of reasons, from supporting the consolidation of facilities data and rationalisation of IT systems, to managing space allocation and bookings and meeting specific needs such as managing lease data.
A recent report from Verdantix – an independent research and consulting firm – indicates that IWMS remains a worthwhile investment for enhancing real estate and facility management processes. Moreover, this software solution takes on a vital role in three of the four major real estate and facility management IT strategies that organisations are currently leveraging.
That is why I believe it is important for organisations to take a closer look at the ways in which an IWMS can actually be deployed. This will help real estate and facility managers to get a clearer view of the potential of IWMS, and where an integrated solution like this can fit within their existing (or future) IT landscape. In this blog, I will therefore briefly discuss three common paths for IWMS deployment:
1. Start with one module (solution) with the option to expand
A huge advantage of an IWMS is that you can start working with one module and can easily expand to other modules. For example, one of our clients started with the implementation of the Planon IWMS solution for maintenance management and facility contractor management across 3,000 properties, buildings and structures in 39 countries. They have been successfully using it for several years now. The first implementation was beneficial for them and that is why they decided to take the next step - rolling out the space management functionality to their 40 largest global locations. They could easily integrate the new module with the existing one.
2. Multiple real estate and facilities management processes within one single platform
When companies are willing to further automate and manage a broad set of real estate and facilities operations, an IWMS provides additional benefits in comparison to multiple point solutions. This is due to integrating all processes within the same platform. This supports IT system rationalisation, improves data consistency and enables organisations to run analysis on more integrated data. In one of our recent white papers, we discussed the advantages of integrating multiple processes into one platform and provided some examples from a space management perspective.
The continuing demand for Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) underscores the desire among real estate and facility managers to adopt an integrated approach. To make the most out of technology, these managers look for a system that can handle the full scope of their real estate and facility management processes. Having one database for all CRE and FM information really facilitates the maintenance of data, ensures consistency and data quality and supports better reporting and more extensive analysis. It is about ‘single input for multiple use’; all workplace and asset data is available for all processes and modules in the IWMS and the data from all these other processes and modules can be used in combination.
3. Using IWMS together with other IT Solutions
Having over 35 years of experience in the automation field, at Planon we know there are systems that are essential for business operations and continuity, like an ERP system and HR applications. These systems also contain important data for real estate and facilities management processes, like employee data (e.g. unique ID-code and contact data) and financial data (e.g. cost centres and general ledger accounts). In addition there are also best-of-breed solutions offered by specialist providers that have very strong functionality in certain areas, like energy management, wayfinding or resource planning. Using these systems in combination with an IWMS could also improve process handling and user experience.
Therefore it is important that the IWMS supports data exchange and real-time process integration between these (sometimes critical) business applications. This ensures that everyone is working with the same information, processes can continue seamlessly when different IT solutions are used and functionality is available that best suits the automation needs. For example, when combining an ERP with an IWMS you have the best of both worlds: a fast and cost-efficient implementation, a higher acceptance by CRE and FM end-users, and continuity of the core business processes. Choosing not to integrate can run a number of risks. A key one is not getting the added value of combining the software systems. Think for example of: the ease of data management and data sharing, improved decision making based on combined information, and better control and improved performance because of integrated processes.
Before making your investment, thoroughly analyse your company’s goals and needs. This will help you to properly align yourself with a software vendor who will take the time to listen, so you can be sure to get the most out of your technology and that the system you choose incorporates all the tools your organisation needs.
Does an IWMS sound like a viable option for your organisation to automate real estate and facilities processes, and would you like to explore the key benefits, use cases, and capabilities of a true IWMS? Make sure you read our white paper ‘What is IWMS?’.