An IWMS is used in office buildings to manage the life cycle of corporate facilities.

IWMS | Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Typically, real estate and facility management costs make up more than 20% of a company’s total costs. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) are software solutions that enable executives and managers to reduce those real estate and facility costs significantly and increase business productivity simultaneously.

The major benefits of IWMS systems are increased efficiency, transparency, flexibility and customer satisfaction in an organization’s facility management processes. In fact, research from Research & Markets states that the deployment of an IWMS solution leads to a reduction in facility maintenance costs of 14%, an improvement in workspace management by up to 40% and an increase in facility usage efficiency of 42% (source: Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) Marketplace: IWMS Platforms, Software, and Solutions Market Outlook and Forecasts 2018 – 2023, 2018).

Integrated Workplace Management Systems support business processes in real estate management, asset & maintenance planning and control, space and workplace managementservices management, project management, and sustainability management. True IWMS software, as defined by Gartner, is an enterprise class software platform that integrates five key components of functionality, operated from a single technology platform and database repository. The functional areas all IWMS software companies need to support are:

When an IWMS is used effectively, it ensures high quality management information, full compliance, and maximized monitoring and control. If you are interested in learning more about Planon’s IWMS software, please contact us to schedule a demo of Planon Universe.

What do you really need to know when starting an IWMS project?

How do you ensure you’re selecting the best software for your business’ needs? And how can you maximize the benefits from the best integrated workplace management system?

1. Choose software that meets your needs

Your organization’s facility management and real estate strategy determines the scope, functionality, and processes an IWMS needs to support.

  • Are you aiming your strategy at outsourcing FM? If so, then processes including Service Level Agreements and contract management, supplier management, performance monitoring, customer satisfaction surveys, and chain become relevant.
  • Do you want to consolidate your real estate portfolio? If so, portfolio management, lease management, strategic space planning, scenario planning, and transaction management will play a key role in your IWMS.
  • Do you want to add value to your core business? Efficient space and workplace management, room booking services, helpdesk support and self-service processes will help immediately.
  • Is business continuity and compliance a high priority? If so, planned preventative maintenance, reactive maintenance, security management, compliant administration, and reporting enable achieving your goals.
  • Is sustainability a key objective for your organization? Energy monitoring, waste management, carbon emission reporting, BREEAM or LEED certification and project management become relevant.

Watch the video to learn more about IWMS

In addition to processes and workflows, it is important to understand the required output, reports, KPIs and management information from an IWMS and to validate these requirements carefully when selecting your solution.

Image with text: "IWMS maximizes your facility management and real estate contribution to organizational goals with lower costs through transparency, control and agility, and improved staff satisfaction."

For global organizations that operate in multiple countries or continents, the necessities from IWMS software vendors will typically include requirements for multi-language, currency, time-zone and measurements. To see multinational companies' considerations, watch this webinar on implementing a global IWMS.

2. Use a standard solution

Just as IWMS has evolved to encompass more business processes, more companies have started shifting to standard software solutions. Because business processes will change over time, most organizations choose an integrated workplace management system that is able to adapt to changing needs within the standard software. Customized and tailor-made software have shown to be expensive, time consuming, and extremely hard to maintain, so instead of customizing software, an IWMS should be configurable using a standard solution. This increases flexibility, reduces total cost of ownership (TCO), and ensures compatibility with new software versions.

3. Select an IWMS that integrates

Not only should an IWMS be based on market sustainability standards like IPD, BOMA, CEN or LEED and BREEAM, it should also connect to other IT solutions, like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources (HR), Building Management Systems (BMS) or Smart Meters. These systems, including SAP and Oracle, contain data that is relevant for facility management and real estate management processes. For example, the IWMS should send financial charge back information to ERP, or update room- and phone information in the HR system. In addition to data exchange, today’s technology like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA or SOAP) even supports real-time process integration between software systems.

67% of knowledge workers left their previous employer partly because their workplace was not optimized for them.

Five measurable benefits to build your IWMS business case

1. Full transparency

Not knowing your portfolio, its value, size, occupancy, planned maintenance, lease contracts, service suppliers, SLA’s, etc. brings an enormous risk in terms of costs, compliance, and business continuity. An IWMS gives you transparency in all relevant aspects by creating a standardized and structured data repository for all your processes. You know the exact amount of space available for future growth, the floor areas for contracting the cleaning, the expiration of lease contracts, and when the next maintenance order needs to be executed. With this type of management information, you are back in control.

2. Efficiency

Facilities, office spaces, meeting rooms, and workplaces already seem to be well utilized, however practice shows that their occupancy is on average just between 50% and 60%. An IWMS offers you the tools to measure and analyze your utilization and increase the effective use and value for your organization. This even allows you to eliminate underperforming facilities and spaces or change their functions. As an IWMS supports your business processes, you can easily analyze the performance of these processes and ultimately improve efficiency and quality of output. This type of system helps you identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, excessively spent time, exceeding budgets or any other parameter that impacts your business. IWMS allows you to continuously improve and benchmark these processes to achieve maximized efficiency and customer satisfaction.

3. Proven compliance

In today’s society, legal issues are having a bigger impact on real estate and facility management. Health & safety, maintenance, security, sustainability, and IFRS and FASB lease accounting are just a few examples of areas with an increasing need for compliant processes and reporting. Structured administration and documentation needs to be in place to prove compliance in case of any audit or other incident. An IWMS ensures compliance, protecting you from any legal consequences.

4. Decision support

In today’s business climate, it is extremely important to make the right decisions fast. Mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, budget constraints, and other economic factors put high pressure on facility managers and real estate managers. This increases the need for reliable and integrated management information to support decision making processes. IWMS supports operational, tactical, and strategic decision making with reports, analyses, dashboards, and benchmarks. In addition to standard reports, IWMS allows organizations to create specific output or analyses based on historical trends and future forecasts.

5. Cost savings

All of these IWMS benefits include direct and indirect cost savings and revenue increasing benefits. Gartner published an analysis on IWMS savings, which states that organizations can find a 10-15% cost reduction in space by effective and efficient management, 5-8% costs savings by process improvements and better contracting, and 5-8% savings in lease costs by professional lease administration. Other research indicates a result of “10-20% savings in real estate and facilities operations due to transparency and control over data and information.” (Gartner, Market Guide 2016)

There is potential of 10-20% savings in real estate and facilities operations due to process improvements, transparancy in and control over data and information.

Build your business case for IWMS

Before selecting and implementing an Integrated Workplace Management Systems, we recommend making a business case including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits from a three year perspective. In many cases the IWMS software costs are a minor part of the total investment. Data collection, 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 IWMS deployment and support model is also a part of the business case: is the IWMS installed within your organization or hosted by the vendor? Is application management done internally or outsourced to the vendor? These choices will impact both costs and benefits.

> Do want to know more about building a credible business case? Read this white-paper.

Video | How to build a business case for IWMS

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