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31 August 2017

An IWMS as your organisation's Citadel

First, a little spoiler-alert if you have not started watching the 7th season of Game of Thrones!

In one of the latest episodes of Game of Thrones, we find the main character Samwell speaking to the 'archmaester', a wise man with access to the deepest secrets of Citadel's library. Samwell asks him about the relevance of the Citadel and the archmaester responds with a wise lesson: "We are this world's memory. Without us, men would be little better than dogs. They don't remember any meal but the last, not looking for any other than the next. Every time you'll leave the house and shut the door, they howl, like you're gone forever". After this, he points out that there have been many times when people were desperate, but they have always survived, thanks to the Citadel.

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A good overview is lacking

As well as these brilliant words making you want to watch the next episodes, they are also relevant to the importance of software, such as Planon’s. Imagine your organisation owning a library like the Citadel. Maybe not in books, but in documents and data. Because your organisation keeps on growing, the number of contracts, processes, buildings and building plans cannot continue to be stored just in the memory of your best maintenance employees. There is a risk you are only dealing with isolated incidents, day by day. Today, fixing that asset malfunction is your top priority, while another day the commissioning of a new building will be the most important.

It’s not easy remembering all the information needed within your organisation. At every phase, building information gets cut into pieces, put into specification documents, translated into drawings, saved in Excel sheets and big drawing archives. Software has always solved little pieces of the bigger problem. Malfunctions can be handled in an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), projects monitored in MS Project, the geometry of the building in drawing software like AutoCAD and all of your email communications in Outlook. But it will never give you a good overview.

Integration with BIM

Wouldn't it be great if software supported the total lifecycle of all your buildings? Can it be your organisation's memory? Going deeper still, wouldn’t it be beneficial to ensure that all the materials in a building were being used to their full potential and were a valuable part of this lifecycle - an initiative that the Dutch institution Madaster advocates?

An important piece of the puzzle to realise this vision would be to integrate Building Information Modelling (BIM) information with, on the one side, the daily user processes of an IWMS, and on the other side, all of the changes in your buildings, spaces and installations, available in BIM. It will become possible to access the memory of the organisation at any time: find which malfunction happened at which installation in which room, reported by a certain user, fixed by a service provider who was part of a service contract at that time.

Remember more than your last meal, and use your IWMS as your organisation’s Citadel!

Jan-Fokke Post
Implementation & BIM Consultant Planon Netherlands