It was the late 1990s, and the Internet was still in its infancy. Dial-up service was still the norm, and the idea of sharing digital files was still fuzzy to most people.
A small design-build team was working on an expansion of a growing software company’s Redmond campus and trying to find a better way to share CAD drawings with other designers and contractors involved in the project.
This was the environment where Buildingi was born. Twenty years later, the company has grown from a portable construction trailer to an organization with more than 80 consultants in Bellevue, Wash., and San Jose, Costa Rica. They’re also one of our top partners. Here’s a look at how the partnership has evolved, how it benefits clients and why we’re excited about the future.
How iOFFICE and Buildingi Became Masters of Space Management
The experience of working with what became one of the world’s largest software companies was a lightbulb moment for the team that would later become Buildingi.
“We were trying to use technology to help us work smarter,” Buildingi Managing Director Don Barnes said. “We ended up building a shared website for them to deliver their projects and manage building assets so they could share them with different contractors. That grew into helping with space management, evolving their intranet collaboration, and creating methods for managing capital assets. And out of that, we realized there was a business here.”
Buildingi provides implementation and support of workplace solutions (including integrated workplace management systems) and collaboration technology. They also offer consulting services, including real estate portfolio management and occupancy planning.
The company joined forces with iOFFICE in 2015.
“What was intriguing about iOffice is that it was built to be SaaS from the get-go,” Don said. “We were able to do demo environments for clients who were coming from blueprints and sticky notes. And there were already apps and integrations built out for it, while many other IWMS companies were still playing catch-up. There was no heavy lifting for us.”
With their background in CAD and enterprise data, the Buildingi team can onboard new clients quickly. But the work doesn’t end there. Once the client starts using iOFFICE’s IWMS, Buildingi continues to consult with them to offer support and help them maximize their investment in the software.
Improving Space Management For a Major Airline
The partnership between iOFFICE and Buildingi has helped large organizations improve space management and reduce real estate costs by as much as $500,000. One example is a high-profile airline that recently acquired another airline of similar size.
“Once they loaded data into the tool, it became much clearer where the opportunities were to improve space utilization,” Don said. “For example, there were union employees working in the same place as non-union employees with different labor and occupancy rules. There were contractors taking up space that they had no consistent visibility into. Everybody said they were out of space, but it looked like there was space that could be used.”
Buildingi continues to work with the airline to identify further opportunities for improvement. The airline now uses data from iOFFICE in executive presentations and to rationalize decisions about its corporate real estate portfolio.
The Future of Space Management
The potential for improvement in space management continues to grow as organizations acquire more property and encounter new dilemmas.
“Buildings are a giant, slowly changing data problem,” Don said. “The way space gets used changes. Buildings get remodeled. New buildings get added. That chaos, if you don’t have a way to manage it, gets overwhelming. If you’re not savvy about that, it’s not apparent where the opportunities are. You need a good interface and a good change control process so nothing slips through the cracks.”
To stay on top of these changes, Buildingi uses auditing processes that identify anomalies and investigate their root causes. For instance, if employees aren’t using software to reserve spaces, it might be because there isn’t an easy way for them to access the system while they’re moving from one place to another.
Barnes believes the challenges of navigating new workplace strategies, such as activity-based working or hot-desking, will keep his team busy.
“It’s one thing when you have assigned desks and you’re just looking at the current state based on that. But when you introduce free-address or activity-based working, how do you know what spaces are really getting used? And how do you have that discussion with leadership to make sure the company is staying aligned with its real estate needs?” he said. “Real estate is pretty slow-moving. There are long-term leases that requires capital investment which may be better spent elsewhere in the business. iOffice is that intermediary that allows the real estate team to see what is the best value quicker.”
At iOFFICE's recent Workplace Champions Summit, we honored Buildingi's Holly Hindmarsh with the Social Butterfly award for her work on social media. As the Occupancy Planning Services Manager for Buildingi, she is helping to pave the way for the FM industry on social media by encouraging interaction and sharing her experiences at conferences and other industry event.
Want to expand your business and offer more value to your clients by partnering with iOFFICE? Learn more about our channel partner program.