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Integrated Workplace Management Systems

The profession of Facility Management (FM) and Real Estate Management (RE) has evolved rapidly in the last two decades. The increasing need for cost efficiency, business flexibility and transparency is challenging today’s FM and RE managers. This is where Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) come in picture.

From a functional perspective the most important difference between IWMS and CAFM is that IWMS additionally includes extensive functionality for real estate and lease management, project management and environmental sustainability. Individual offerings however differ per vendor.

In many organizations a lot of the FM and RE related data and information is available, however in most cases it is in different spread sheets, different IT systems and often in the minds of different employees. Bringing this data together in a structured ‘single-sourceof- truth is an important step to answer the ‘what’ question like what real estate to manage, what assets to maintain or what services to deliver.

The ‘how’ question is even more important to achieve FM and RE targets like how is a technical service executed, product delivered, workflow works, service request handled or real estate transaction processed. These so called ‘business processes’ are at the heart of any efficient and professional FM and RE organization.

Combining the ‘single-source-oftruth’ with ‘business processes’ in an integrated software solution is a key precondition to continuously identify and execute cost efficiency and quality improvement initiatives in any Facility and Real Estate Management organization. These software solutions are called Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS).


An IWMS is typically connected to various other IT solutions, like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources (HR), Building Management Systems (BMS) or Smart Meters. ERP systems contain data that is relevant for FM & RE management processes. HR systems deliver personnel data, BMS send technical data and Smart Meters deliver online energy consumption data to the IWMS. This data exchange is in most cases bidirectional. Next to data exchange, today’s technology like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA or SOAP) even supports real-time process integration between software systems. IWMS vendors offer different solutions either based on specific customizations or the configuration of Web services within the standard software.

For organizations that have a large and geographically spread portfolio, integration with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) like ESRI offers new opportunities in terms of analyses and visualization. The connection of IWMS with GIS combines intelligence of both worlds to analyze, for example, the impact of demographical circumstances on your real estate portfolio, helps you in finding the best location for your retail expansions.

Any organization that begins a new IWMS initiative expects fast implementation, a quick results and a maximized re-use of the market’s collective experiences. Best-practices that are based on many implementation experiences and market standards like IPD, BOMA, CEN or LEED and BREEAM allow organizations to shorten the time from implementation to benefits.

Users of IWMS

IWMS is used across all industries in profit and non-profit organizations including financial services, local and central government, education,healthcare, retail, production, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Due to their complexities, multinational organizations that are represented in multiple countries tend to use IWMS as a key strategic tool to manage and align real estate portfolios and facility management processes.

Commercial providers of professional facility, maintenanceor real estate services have adapted IWMS as a part of their core business as it helps them to improve the planning, delivery and quality of services to their customers. IWMS user-persona in FM and RE are:

  • The front office user – the connection between the backoffice and the employees in the core business.
  • The field engineer – responsible for the execution of work and job tickets.
  • The core business employee –who consumes FM and RE services to execute tasks in the best possible way
  • The manager-persona – needs easy to access output like management dashboards, trend analyses, occupancy reports, SLA and performance indicators, benchmarks and other tactical and strategic output.
  • The application manager – who needs full access to the configuration, authorization and system management functions to reconfigure processes, change user-interfaces and system behaviors, maintain standards, add or change user authorizations, etc.

Benefits of IWMS

The organization’s FM and RE strategy determines the scope, functionality and processes the IWMS needs to support. The broader the scope and number of processes, the
larger the benefits one achieves. Some examples – well planned maintenance avoids expensive reactive maintenance, combined energy reduction targets with a sustainable maintenance plan, an effectively combined FM and IT support service in one integrated helpdesk, smart space and workplace management that reduces the need for real estate and impacts company’s portfolio planning. For global organizations that operate in multiple countries or continents, the requirements for an IWMS typically will include aspects such as multi language, currency, time-zone and measurements.

Full transparency & Compliance:

IWMS brings transparency in all relevant aspects by creating a standardized and structured data repository for all your processes. It offers the functions, tools and structures to ensure compliance in FM and RE, protecting businesses from any legal consequences.

More efficiency & Monitoring:

IWMS allows you to continuously improve and benchmark processes to achieve maximized efficiency and customer satisfaction. It connects external providers to processes by giving them access to authorized functions, ensuring maximized process efficiency and monitoring of suppliers’ performances in real-time.

Improved occupancy & Savings:

IWMS offer tools to measure and analyze utilization of facilities, office spaces, meeting rooms & workplaces and increase their effective use and value. This even allows you to eliminate under performing facilities and spaces or change their functions. This can produce 10-15% cost reduction in space by, 5-8% costs savings by process improvements and better contracting, and 5-8% savings in lease costs by professional lease administration.

Better planning:

IWMS supports strategic, tactical and operational planning processes based on historical information, standardized catalogues and future scenarios. This allows FM and RE managers to align real estate and facilities with future demands, plan budgets and resources accordingly and make the right decisions pertaining to mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, budgets and other economic factors.

Employee connection :

An IWMS includes the tools like self-service or native smartphone apps that allows employees to easily request services, query relevant information, book a meeting room or workplace, enter a malfunction or access any other customer oriented process. This drives motivation, pride, innovation, customer orientation and professionalism within the team.

Courtesy: Planon Group
Netherlands the global software provider





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