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08 March 2018

These six strategies are drastically changing the IWMS landscape

In its ‘Green Quadrant® Integrated Workplace Management Systems’ report, independent research firm Verdantix shares insight into the development of Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) solutions in recent years, and over the years to come. Verdantix highlights six strategies IWMS vendors have recently been implementing. In this blog, we elaborate on each of these six and how Planon is considering these.

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Where are we coming from?

According to Verdantix, “IWMS solutions started in the late 1980s to support the collection, centralisation and reporting of real estate and facilities management data in a more consistent format. Through the early 2000s, IWMS solutions became broader as vendors sought to bring together a larger number of applications on a single platform.”

In the coming years, the IWMS market is going to change, as it “is entering an exciting new phase, marked by a further convergence of solutions supported by a slew of investment and mergers and acquisitions activity and technology advances particularly related to the Internet of Things (IoT). This new phase also brings some risks for buyers of solutions as the vendors follow very different strategies.”

Six strategies for IWMS vendors to implement

In their report, ‘Green Quadrant® Integrated Workplace Management Systems’, Verdantix shared six strategies IWMS vendors have recently been implementing that will shape the IWMS landscape in the years to come. We share thoughts on each of these in order to give you more insight into how Planon is aiming to improve its IWMS platform every day.

1. “Vendors are racing to deliver the most complete software for real estate and facilities management”

We sincerely support this notion. Through Planon Universe, our IWMS platform, we aim to optimise workplace performance by simplifying and connecting various business processes. This is intended to result in a reduction of costs during every phase of the real estate lifecycle: from contract management to maintaining the building, and from optimising space usage to meeting corporate sustainability objectives. Planon Universe is what we call ‘integrated by design’, as we strongly believe in building our software from scratch and acquisitions on core applications often turn out to be problematic. These types of acquisitions are similar to trying to build a house using both DUPLO and original LEGO pieces. Just as it would take an enormous amount of time and effort to create a house out of two very different types of LEGO pieces, it is almost impossible to effectively and efficiently integrate two applications which were designed with different philosophies. To be honest with you, it simply does not work.

2. “User interfaces are becoming a major focal point to create widespread usage amongst building occupiers.”

Planon invests highly in user interaction and has its own User Experience Design team that is fully focused on optimising the usability of our software and user interfaces. In order to make our platform as relevant as possible from different user perspectives, we distinguish different roles within the software itself. We support management roles with specific user interactions (often in reporting and Business Intelligence). CRE & FM professionals are provided with specific toolsets within their business domain to optimise their processes. We help field engineers in their daily operations with Planon Mobile Field Services, which has its own interactive design. The workforce itself benefits from self-service functionality such as Planon Self-Service, which was launched more than a decade ago but is being optimised to simplify its use.

3. “Vendors are pursuing different roles in the emerging technology stack to leverage the IoT.”

Planon has a dual strategy when it comes to the Internet of Things. These days, affordable sensors are available that support in areas such as maintenance processing or measuring workplace occupancy. With Planon Agile Workplace Management we provide a full delivery, out-of-the-box solution: from use of sensors to the infrastructure itself. In addition to that – especially in an era whentechnology is evolving exponentially – Planon follows a proactive partner strategy and is opening up its IWMS platform to interact with parties that deliver both hardware and IoT communication infrastructures. Following this strategy, Planon gives its customers the chance to work with, and take the benefits from all sorts of new and existing IoT technology. Through interaction with the Planon software data from different IoT infrastructures is transformed into simple business information which can be used effectively on our platform.

4. “Space utilisation improvements re-invigorating the business case for IWMS solutions.”

Planon perceives the workplace as the tangible product of space. Square metres of space will not tell you anything, workplaces do. When it comes to space and workplace management, Planon Universe gives insight into three areas: workplace capacity, workplace experience, and cost of ownership. Workplace capacity provides a clear overview of the number of workplaces available. Workplace experience gives insight into the quality of these workplaces when it comes to healthiness or wellbeing for example. Cost of ownership involves the actual costs per workplace.

5. “Software partnerships are providing IWMS access to best-of-breed functionality.”

As I mentioned earlier, Planon has opened up its platform to third party technology. However, not only with regards to IoT, but beyond that. We prefer to speak about the evolution from an IWMS towards an I²WMS. The traditional ‘I’ of IWMS stands for ‘Business Integration’ (combining data and creating business information out of it for the various professionals in RE and FM). A new ‘I’ makes its entry, ultimately multiplying Integration with this new I: Interaction (allowing customers to use third party technologies and interact with those) Planon has already brought I²WMS into practice and has started collaborating with various technology vendors. This results in successful partnerships: Autodesk reseller Cadac Group, for example, has enhanced the Planon software with its sophisticated BIM technology.

6. “Vendors are expanding their target markets to encompass building owners, building occupiers and service providers.”

Planon was the first IWMS vendor that started working on the development of a platform especially targeted at facilities management service providers (supply), in addition to its existing IWMS solution which was primarily aimed at owner/occupier types of organisations (demand). This resulted in Planon Universe for Service Providers, with its own specific capabilities, processes and data in place, and supported by a dedicated staff of consultants and support teams.

If you would like to learn more about Planon’s vision for the future, in which I²WMS becomes the new standard, I recommend watching our webinar ‘How technology enables Real Time Personalisation in the workplace’.

Erik Jaspers
Global Product Strategy & Innovation Director