5 Essential Features Every Space Planning Software Should Have

by James McDonald on April 17, 2018

Space planning software has become a fundamental resource for many organizations, offering visibility into how their real estate is being used and helping them plan for future growth. 

There are more space planning solutions on the market today than ever before with varying degrees of functionality, which makes it that much more important to choose the right one. To get the best return on your investment, you need to strike a balance between software that’s robust enough to include all the information you need, but simple enough that anyone can use it.

So how do you know which space planning software is best for your organization?

Make sure it has these five non-negotiable features. 

What Is Space Planning Software?

The broad definition of space planning software is any software system that stores digital floorplans of your space , as well as data on how that space is being used. But modern-day space planning requires much more than digital storage. That’s why effective office space management software also needs to be actionable, allowing workplace leaders to view space utilization data, develop occupancy plans and plan for the future needs of their organization. 

Space Planning Software: 5 Essential Features 

1. The Ability to Capture Sensor Data

For space planning software to be useful, it needs to capture real-time occupancy data. In today’s connected, digital workplace, that data can come from many sources, such as occupancy sensors and employee badge swipes. With that type of data on hand, managers have everything they need to know to make informed decisions.

2. Integrations With CAFM Software

To realize the full value of space planning software, you need to be able to use it to visualize your floor plans. That means the software needs to fully integrate with AutoCAD or other CAFM software. This will allow your team to navigate easily through different scenarios and see the impact of making changes before you implement them.

3. Integrations With Other Enterprise Systems

Planning an office move from one building to another is challenging enough. When you’re managing multiple locations, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all without a centralized system. This system should do more than just allow you to visualize your space. It should pull information about your assets and maintenance records so you can see when various equipment lease agreements are set to expire or when an expensive machine is due for repairs. Choosing space planning software that is part of a larger integrated workplace management system (IWMS) will give you a more complete picture of everything.

Make sure your space planning software also integrates with your organization’s enterprise systems, including accounting and HR. This will give you the most accurate information on your workforce so you can plan moves and set up spaces accordingly as your needs change.

4. Connections to Mobile Apps for Employees

Facilities managers aren’t the only ones who need to know what space is available and where to find it. Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever, and they expect to be able to find the information they need at their fingertips. For instance, if a West Coast product manager is working at your East Coast campus for the week, she needs to know where to find an available workstation, navigate her busy schedule of meetings in various rooms and track down the people she needs to see during her visit. With employee workplace apps, your workforce can find people, meetings and space so they can be productive wherever they are.

5. Space Planning Metrics and Reporting

The expectations for facilities management professionals, or workplace leaders, have never been higher. They are taking a more active role in planning for their organization’s future and are being held accountable for demonstrating cost savings and greater workforce productivity. To justify their decisions and show value to C-level executives, they need a software solution that can keep up with these growing demands.

That’s why the office space management software you choose should include robust metrics and reporting. It should show real-time facility data, including:

  • Total occupancy
  • A floor-by-floor analysis of space utilization
  • Snapshots of facility performance, including departmental chargebacks

Using old-fashioned means of tracking workspaces and other assets is like looking at the world through smudgy windows—it’s difficult to see the full picture of what’s in front of you. The right space planning software gives you a clear, multidimensional view of where your organization excels at space utilization and asset maintenance, and where it can improve to achieve optimum savings and performance.

To learn more about what to look for, check out this handy resource, The Essential Guide to Space Management Software.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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