FAQ Series Volume 2: Defining IWMS and Wayfinding

by Glenn Hicks on September 14, 2017

In the second installment of our FAQ Series, we’re addressing some common questions surrounding the differences between the various workplace management tools currently on the market. We cover digital signage, wayfinding and the differences between on-premise, hosted and Software-as-a-Service solutions to help clear the confusion with this multi-dimensional industry.  

What do the abbreviations CMMS, CAFM, FMS and IWMS stand for? 

CMMS: Computerized Maintenance Management System

CAFM: Computer Aided Facility Management

FMS: Facility Management Systems

IWMS: Integrated Workplace Management System  

What is digital signage?

Digital signage is the ability for employers to display media and relevant content to their employees either through a kiosk or panel device. This device can be anything from a large wayfinding kiosk, or a conference room panel that displays everything from corporate marketing messages to slides and video and even wayfinding. It can also serve to provide users with a way view available conference rooms and to schedule reservable space throughout their workplace.  

What is wayfinding? How does iOFFICE use it?

Wayfinding is the ability for users to search for and find colleagues while also providing a way to search for and find where a room is or where something of note is in their workspace. Here at iOFFICE we use our online floorplans to create a map of a space, where you can easily search and find rooms or events through the wayfinding digital signage or kiosk. A common use for this tool is to configure it so employees can reserve space like flex desks, conference rooms, and call booths directly.

How do I choose between a SaaS, hosted or on-premise IWMS?

The decision of whether or not a SaaS-based, hosted or on-premise solution is the best for your workplace varies between companies. It’s important to note the true difference between SaaS and hosted comes to upgrades. While SaaS-based solutions charge a hosting fee and a monthly fee, upgrades with this type of facilities management software are always free and immediate. The data and information are still yours, but you don’t need an on-site IT team and site to host any hardware, unlike on-premise. 

When it comes to hosted, service providers often charge users between $80,000 to $100,000 per year to gain access to any upgrades that come along. Only true, 100% SaaS charges no upgrade fees, ever. Also, with SaaS solutions, the return on investment is seen much faster than with other versions, since there are no internal hosting fees, no IT involvement and setup is much faster. 

To better understand the benefits of SaaS compared to on-premise, you can look at the solution like leasing vs. buying a car. With a lease you can use the car how you want, how much you want and on your terms. But when you need an oil change or maintenance, the dealer covers those for you. You get the best part of using a car without having to deal with the costs and responsibility of upkeep. 

How do I know when an IWMS provider is 100% SaaS based?

We’ve noticed since the inception of SaaS solutions, that there are a few impostors on the market claiming to be a Software-as-a-Service, but are really a hosted solution in disguise. To separate the real vendors from the fakers ask them this simple question. Do they charge to do upgrades? If the answer is yes, they are not 100% SaaS.

Why doesn’t iOFFICE offer hosted or on-premise IWMS solutions?

Our co-founders, Elizabeth Dukes and Don Traweek recognized a need for a software solution while working together at another company. They were struggling to gather disparate information from multiple systems from several locations around the country, and were having to put together quarterly business reviews on what was going on and performance statistics. It took several hours and sometimes days to put together the information. They realized if everyone was placing their information into one system they would be able to access reports easier. That system was the internet.

Regardless of the company, industry or different services provided, it all came back to those companies needing the same type of data. Customers needed to know who their employers were, where they were, and what cost center or department they were associated with. And they needed to know this information quickly, and wherever they were at the time. They recognized that only a software-as-a-service cloud solution could provide this, so they built one.

Our development team began to see that software-as-a-service would have significant cost savings for customers. As a cloud-based solution, it allows our team more flexibility in ensuring consistent end user experiences, and eliminates the need for manual updates by our customers. In the beginning, our development team also started to see this as the wave of the future in terms of software applications, and knew it would be a longer term solution opposed to on-premise management systems which were on the way out.

How much IT involvement is needed when onboarding iOFFICE’s IWMS?

Zero. Yes, you read that right. Now if your particular package contains integration points, like uploading a user directory, some IT involvement is necessary. However, in those cases the average time spent is less than 2 hours. 

We hope this has helped clear up some common misconceptions out there about the IWMS and CAFM vendor provider types, and exactly what iOFFICE can do for you. We believe in providing a seamless solution that solves your current workspace issues behind the scenes, but turns into something you don’t know how your facility lived without. 


Glenn Hicks

A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.

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