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07 March 2019

How much value could an IWMS bring to your organisation?

Real Estate and Facility Managers are often looking for innovative solutions to optimise their business operations.

Webinar – What, Why and ROI of an IWMS

In this co-hosted webinar, Verdantix addresses the potential ROI of an IWMS. They also share a framework on how to develop a numbers-driven business case for an IWMS implementation. Planon elaborates on the practical benefits.

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Within the field of real estate and facilities, a prominent solution is an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). It has many advantages over the use of standalone software for different business operations. Are you thinking about implementing or extending an IWMS? In that case you probably need to write a compelling numbers-driven business case to secure budget for this investment. 

Recently Planon, together with Verdantix – an independent research and consulting firm with a focus on innovative technologies that optimise business operations – organised a webinar based on the new Verdantix report "The Business Case for Integrated Workplace Management Systems". The webinar provided practical tips on calculating the potential ROI of an IWMS and how to write a numbers-driven business case. In a series of three blog posts, I will share the key take-aways from this webinar. This first blog is about understanding exactly what an IWMS is and its key benefits.

What is an IWMS?

To understand how an IWMS can add value to your business, it is important to first get a good grasp of what an IWMS does and to know how it fits into the field of enterprise software solutions. An IWMS is a software platform that can be used across the entire organisation for real estate and facilities management purposes. Within this system important information can be captured, managed, and reported to optimise facility operations. It helps your workforce manage real estate portfolios and workplace related services more efficiently. It supports multiple business operations including: leases, capital projects, facility and space utilisation, workplace services, maintenance, energy and sustainability management. Having all these areas supported by one single software platform offers multiple benefits.

What are the key benefits of an IWMS?

There are many different benefits of an IWMS, not only for real estate and facility executives, but also for the organisation as a whole. Here I highlight four of them:

  • Improved data quality. An IWMS replaces standalone solutions with a single system, becoming “the single source of truth”. This improves data quality control and consistency. The IWMS can be integrated with other applications in your IT landscape to eliminate redundancy and differences.
  • Lower IT support costs. An IWMS simplifies your IT infrastructure because it eliminates standalone or legacy systems and makes sure the same version is used across the organisation. Therefore, application managers have fewer systems to maintain and can update and upgrade the software centrally. It makes their work easier, more effective and more productive.
  • Process standardisation. With the use of pre-configured workflows based on best practices you can standardise processes, moving away from situations where multiple solutions and applications rule. It ensures continuous alignment and improved communication between business domains during the entire lifetime of the software.
  • Better decision making. An IWMS offers you an integrated view and therefore a more complete understanding of your real estate and workplace portfolio. It combines information about the real estate portfolio, spaces, assets, maintenance and services activities, and so on. This not only helps you to react faster, but also to plan ahead.

It turns out that corporate real estate and facilities executives are becoming increasingly aware of the large number of advantages. A global survey by Verdantix in 2018 shows that 84% of them are thinking of consolidating their systems in the future. Furthermore, 34% are already at the stage of evaluating the purchase of an integrated solution to manage their workflows.

Taking a step back: what are my goals?

Now that you have a better understanding of what an IWMS is and the potential benefits, it is important to be clear about the specific goals you have for an IWMS within your organisation. What is the main reason you are considering implementing an IWMS? As a Real Estate or Facility Manager the strategic objectives you are most likely responsible for can be divided into five main categories:

  • Improving productivity
  • Ensuring business continuity
  • Improving employee satisfaction
  • Ensuring compliance
  • Reducing operational costs

What is often observed in the market is that real estate and facilities organisations are forced to operate in such a way that these goals are difficult to achieve. Most of the time this is related to having badly maintained databases in several standalone information systems, leading to decision making that is far from optimal. This leads to an isolated and blinkered way of working, meaning that processes are hard to follow. 

Taking a step forward: what’s next?

An IWMS can help to overcome these hurdles and to achieve each of the five strategic objectives mentioned above. This might already be a compelling story for you as a reader, but how can you convince your budget holder or financial executive? How should you calculate the potential ROI of an IWMS, and write a convincing business case? The next blog in this series will elaborate on ways to approach this.

Would you rather not wait for the next blog? You can watch a recording of the entire webinar with Verdantix.

Geert-Jan Blom
Global Product Marketeer