Megha S Anthony
Move over CAFM as Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is here. Or is it? Many companies are slowly adopting IWMS as it is designed to help them in corporate real estate management and FM save money and be more effective. This management system combines various software applications in order to provide specialists in workforce management with higher-level administration information. In addition, accurate IWMS provides effective solutions to manage every facet of the facilities lifecycle.
This, in turn, is boosting the demand of global integrated workplace management system market during the forecast period. IWMS Market is predicted to be stable during the forecast period from 2017 to 2025 owing to sustainability and more analysis capabilities and increasing adoption by larger companies where the wealth of assets needs to be managed. Taking the perspective from a supplier and a service provider, FM today explores the importance of the technology and how different is it from CAFM. The acronym IWMS is often confused or used interchangeably with CAFM, but Javier Hernandez Abreu, Indirect Channel Sales Manager, Rosmiman Software Corporation, notes that there are differences between both systems. “CAFM systems centralise information about a facility, while IWMS systems centralise information about the entire real estate portfolio,” he explains.
From a functional perspective, the most significant difference is that IWMS includes extensive and integrated functionalities for real estate, project management, and environmental sustainability. “In many cases, traditional CAFM systems are operated from multiple technology platforms whereas true IWMS solutions, as ROSMIMAN IWMS, are based on a single platform and database repository. Within an IWMS system, different departments can monitor and modify business processes, whether space management, asset management or movement management. By hosting all this information on a single system, a basis for effective communication is created while reducing costs and improving efficiency,” adds Hernandez.
Data is an important piece of the decision-making puzzle. Thanks to IWMS software, companies can collect and merge real-time data into a single system or database, making it easier for managers to seek accurate information quickly. “When using IWMS, companies have many opportunities to save costs, both direct and indirect, and each saving means profit for them,” says Hernandez.
As workplaces evolve, it is critical to count on the right technology for their management and control. According to emerging trends, many organizations are adopting the use of IWMS software as a basic tool. Concordia is one such company that has incorporated the software. As Concordia, manages over 200 contracts of facilities management services to commercial units and multinational companies, they provide various types and levels of information to their clients as part of their monthly and annual reports. The information ranges from the basic that includes the size of the facility, cost of utilities et al to the advanced that includes headcount information affecting space management, updating of as-built drawings, compliance requirements et al. Tamer Bishay, BDM, Concordia, says, “Many of our clients understand the importance of such information as it assists them in taking strategic decisions on their real estate requirements, spare capacities, costs, and other related benchmarks. By integrating the various space and facility systems, teams stay up to date on the various management sectors - this increases transparency and makes it easier to collaborate. Additionally, this visibility across teams makes it easier to meet compliance and identify a problem before it’s too late.”
These are just a few examples of how useful an IWMS system could be when it comes to managing workplaces: Operational data and information about buildings, spaces and uses are necessary to analyse the real occupation, identify future free positions and be able to carry out an exhaustive analysis of properties’ operation. Controlling air-conditioning facilities and their maintenance requirements allows to foresee maintenance costs and balance them with long-term maintenance budgets. Monitoring energy consumption per building or per workspace allows identifying opportunities to reduce costs and carbon footprint. It is also possible to plan future moves, analyse current space utility data and even perform basic administrative tasks, such as assigning desks to new employees or locating coworkers within a large office space. So when it comes to challenges, Sanjay Bhatia, GM, Concordia, says integration, sharing and updating of information that affects any organization, on a common platform; from small daily-use items to the company building itself, is the main one.
The latest trends in IWMS are those to integrate GIS, Mobility, BIM systems, IoT connectivity, BMS systems, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Smart Glasses, among others. One of the main advantages of an IWMS is its capacity to integrating multiple functionalities, technologies and third-party systems into a single platforming order to have a big picture of the real estate portfolio. “Taking our product as a reference point, ROSMIMAN® IWMS Global Site incorporates the latest emerging technology trends that add value by helping to improve the efficiency and productivity of the system. Including those that, among the various available technologies, help both process optimization and operation cost savings and which provide more detailed or automated data for a better reality analysis,” says Hernandez.
Smart Technology will be the main disruptor in the coming years. It has, in many ways, already disrupted our daily lives. Many technologies are on the verge of breaking into the region, including AI, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Virtual Maintenance, 3D printing, smart energy management and the shift towards command center models for managing buildings. When it comes to embracing technology is there anything like too much technology? “We foresee greater integration of services where an IFM service provider will, more and more, be seen as a longerterm partner who adds value, brings efficiencies, builds sustainability and adapts to the needs to their Clients with agility subject to it being able to provide reasonable ROIs,” says Bhatia.
With so many new innovative technologies entering the market the question arises if IWMS still have space in the market? Here it is important to note that an IWMS helps teams and organisations of all industries and sizes cut costs, save time, and create more efficient workplace operations. By integrating the various space and facility systems that are spread across a large real estate portfolio that is scattered across various geographical locations, teams can stay up to date on the various management sectors - this increases transparency and makes it easier to collaborate. “Additionally, this visibility across teams makes it easier to meet compliance and identify a problem before it’s too late. Furthermore, multiple groups in the same organization can take advantage of the capabilities, and put in their information that others then have visibility into… That’s where the real value proposition is,” says Bishay.
Whereas Hernandez points out that the IWMS technology is itself an innovation, an evolution from the traditional CAFM systems to a transversal and integrating platform. “Therefore, by the nature of its own concept, IWMS professionals must keep foreseeing market dynamics to feed it with updated and effective solutions,” he sums up.