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01 August 2019

Facility Management Evolution Series: 1990s & 2000s

Analysis of the article “The Evolution of FM” by Nancy Johnson Sanquist, former VP of Global Strategic Marketing at Planon

My curiosity continues when looking to understand early ideas within Facility Management, and the creation of IWMS as we know it today. With my study of “The Evolution of FM” by Nancy Sanquist, VP of Strategic Global Marketing at Planon, I’ve been able to dive into previous decades , where FM has established itself as a solid field and gained association support and recognition. Throughout the analysis of Sanquist’s research, we’ve been able to gain a remarkable understanding of the evolution that’s taken place in previous decades. 

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During the 1990s, there was significant transformation that needed to take place to align FM with advancing technological capabilities. This included being able to analyse what’s working and what is not. For example, Sanquist mentions an effort made to transform the terminology of CAFM (Computer-Aided Facility Management) to CIFM (Computer-Integrated Facility Management) with help of Bruce Forbes, CEO of Archibus. Even though the overall idea of this change in terminology was strategic and applicable, this never took off in the field and was subsequently rejected. This was a true time of trial and error for the world of technology, and FM was no different when it came to experimentation.

The early 2000s and the creation of IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System)

Throughout Nancy Sanquist’s article, “The Evolution of FM” she highlights the period during the early 2000s where we found ourselves asking, what did the new IWMS look like, and to be frank, what could be done with it? Sanquist mentions how Gartner, a respected global research firm within the field of FM, had hired analyst Mike Bell in the area of newly developing real estate and facility management technology. He is the one who had named it Integrated Workplace Management Solution (IWMS).

With Gartner being such a leading tool for reference and research, we saw it establish an IWMS “pecking order” as Sanquist mentions, referred as the “Magic Quadrant” that was reviewed annually from 2004 with the last appearance seen in 2014. Through this research we were also able to outline the formal definition of an IWMS and be able to keep up with the current trends and capabilities as they emerged. Despite changes within the structural aspects of the field, Sanquist points out that Planon, as well as Archibus, remained the only IWMS vendors still under original ownership.

Changing the way we think about Facility Management during the Fourth Industrial Revolution

I was pleased to see that Sanquist touched on just how much we have witnessed change throughout IWMS organisations, as part of my interest is in the comparison of current FM practices. She also explains that for each individual decade, there were notable shifts in the way that we utilised our solutions and developments at every turn. Shifts within ownerships occurred across companies, consequently enabling integration and expansion within accessible technologies. For example, these systems have come to integrate not only with CAD but with 3D modelling and Geographic-Information Systems (GIS) in addition to taking advantage of multiple new capabilities that have emerged during the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

So, what will be the next Facility Management breakthrough?

The field of FM has remained important and ever-changing throughout the decades. It continues to be exciting with the introduction of more and more technologies relevant to the field and the capabilities that come along with them. For FM professionals, there is something new to learn every day. What is next for us? Well, the capabilities that are present in the fourth industrial revolution can be leveraged throughout the field of FM to develop even further. We are ready for the fifth decade, and all the great possibilities that are ahead for FM. There seems to be no limits within the technological revolution. 

Abdel el Ouasghiri
Account Manager