Optimizing the campus environment

The role of campus management is more complex than ever before. Real estate and facilities management professionals within higher education institutions must juggle the needs of many different types of stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, visitors, and the surrounding environment. And while many elements of the physical campus, like classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, dormitories, student centers, and recreational facilities remain relevant and important today, there are many new campus technologies to be managed, such as campus-wide, high speed Wi-Fi, classrooms equipped with technologies to allow for remote students to follow along online, new access and security technologies, wayfinding and the 5G network in the future.

It has become increasingly important for real estate, IT, and facilities management professionals to recognize the growing need for a comprehensive campus management toolset and strategy that allows them to incorporate these campus technologies into their digital campus infrastructure as well.

A comprehensive campus management solution will support higher education institutions in managing their business processes within real estate, maintenance, space and campus planning, capital projects, events and services, and in sustainability initiatives. In addition, a campus management solution will allow real estate and facilities professionals manage the existing and emerging systems and smart campus technologies to tackle challenges across the many different layers within the campus infrastructure including its physical infrastructure (both inside and outside the buildings), its digital infrastructure (for example an IoT network or the 5G network), and its learning infrastructure (to support innovative educational models).

Here are some examples of the campus management challenges that real estate and facilities professionals at universities around the world face today:

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Changing expectations and stakeholders for a smart campus

The convergence of new technologies, increasing demands and expectations, the need for life-long-learning, and new business models have created new challenges for universities and their campus management strategies. Real estate and facilities management professionals must be able to coordinate all activities to provide an attractive and future-proof learning experience and environment for all different kinds of stakeholders. Even the traditional profile of a student is changing – with the influx of remote students and online coursework, as well as older generations enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling to improve skillsets or change career paths. Universities that want to remain competitive when faced with these new challenges are moving toward creating and promoting a more connected campus experience for their stakeholders.

The global research and analyst firm, Gartner, Inc. has defined this connected “smart campus” as such:

“A smart campus is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. Multiple elements, including people, processes, services and things, come together to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience for students, staff faculty and stakeholders of a university or college.”

What you need to know about integrated campus management solutions

Planon’s integrated campus management solution is based on our market-leading integrated workplace management system (IWMS), but includes best practices that are carefully fine-tuned toward higher education requirements. Implementing an integrated campus management solution can help your institution to unify all stakeholders, processes, data and technologies in a single platform that enables significant cost savings and encourages continuous improvement. It benefits any educational institute that is looking for increased efficiency, transparency, flexibility, and student and staff satisfaction in their real estate and facility management processes.

Today, integrated campus management solutions are deployed frequently as a service (SaaS), to lower total cost of ownership, reduce the time it takes to deploy, and improve integration and scalability.

The importance of a business case when selecting an integrated campus management solution

Before selecting and implementing your campus management solution, we recommend creating a business case, including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits like cost reduction in space-related processes and campus property management, services and maintenance costs, and improved student and staff satisfaction.

Some campus buildings within the United States can be vacant up to 65% of the time, which points to a huge opportunity for universities to find cost savings around more efficient space utilization. (Higher Education Facilities Forum Article – “Higher Ed Facilities: Navigating Through Disruption”)

In many cases the campus management software costs are a minor part of the total investment. Data collection and management, change management, internal costs, IT infrastructure and project management should be considered.

Also, specific customizations or integrations can impact the Total Costs of Ownership (TCO) heavily, depending strongly on the vendor and solution of choice. The deployment of a campus management solution and support model is also a part of the business case. For instance, your team must be able to answer questions such as, “Is the campus management solution going to be installed within our organization or hosted by the vendor as a service (SaaS)?” or “Will application management be handled internally or outsourced to the solution vendor?” These questions and your team’s choices will impact both costs and benefits.

Our global success stories

Client Cases
Kings College in London uses Planon Software as CMMS.

King's College London

Elizabeth Harris, Business Information Systems Manager: “The solution allowed us to reduce our maintenance backlog by 50% within three months and allows us to move from a reactive maintenance model to a preventive one.”

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Client Cases
Singapore Management University

Singapore Management University

Haslinda Shamsudin ‒ Project Manager, Office of Campus Development: “Planon’s IWMS has provided us with an efficient, real-time solution to our workplace and facilities challenges.”

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Client Cases

Maastricht University

Brigitte Marchal, Contract Manager Facility Services: ‘The greatest added value for the organisation is the automatic despatch of notifications from the Planon software. This means manual actions and checks are now history, and unnecessary costs are prevented.’

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