The Top IWMS Benefits In The Coming Year
Today’s corporate real estate executives, facilities managers, and workplace leaders are well aware of how an IWMS benefits their organization.
They know an IWMS increases efficiency and improves space utilization while reducing real estate costs. But in today’s increasingly health-conscious, agile work environment, they want more.
Their employees expect more. And to justify investing in an IWMS in the coming year, leaders will need to do more to demonstrate the business case for the purchase.
Here are the five biggest IWMS benefits and how they’ll impact your future workplace.
The top 5 IWMS benefits
- Intelligent space management and strategic planning
- Exceptional employee experience
- Easy integrations with emerging technologies
- Real-time data analytics
- Enterprise readiness
Intelligent space management and strategic planning
Space management has always been at the core of the traditional integrated workplace management system, setting the foundation for every other aspect of workplace management.
As business leaders re-evaluate their real estate portfolio in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more critical.
Their first priority is reopening their workplaces safely.
That means reconfiguring their office design to allow for appropriate physical distancing. It may also mean returning employees to work in phases, starting with those who have the greatest need to be in the office.
You may decide to move away from assigned desks in favor of a more flexible workplace strategy, such as hot desking or office hoteling. Another option is to assign employees to alternating shifts.
Whatever you decide, you’ll need software that makes it easy to update existing floor plans, manage seating arrangements, and see which spaces are used each day.
With employees expected to continue working from home more often, leaders are also questioning whether they actually need every office space in their portfolio.
Many workplaces were only 50-80% occupied before the pandemic, according to Work Design Magazine.
Some already had remote work policies in place, while others have only caught up recently out of necessity. Others were impacted by alternative work arrangements in the “gig economy,” which affects over one-third of employees.
The pandemic has only amplified these factors, adding complexity to real estate planning. Lease costs remain high, despite reduced demand. Workplace leaders need to know exactly how much each space is costing them and its average utilization to make the best decisions going forward.
An IWMS benefits them in this way, allowing them to make sense of their buildings and act accordingly.
Exceptional employee experience
Employees wanted greater flexibility and a better workplace experience long before the pandemic.
In one Gallup poll, 37% of employees said they would leave their current job for one that offered more flexible hours.
Forward-thinking employers were responding. Forty-three percent of global employees already worked remotely at least part of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. And when asked the initiatives they were prioritizing in 2019 and 2020 in a global Verdantix survey, 92% said they were focused on occupant comfort. They acknowledged factors such as air quality, lighting, and access to nature aren’t just beneficial for employees — they also increase productivity.
Cultivating a healthy and engaged workforce requires much more than technology, but research by Jacob Morgan shows it plays an important role.
Technology connects employees to each other and to their work environment. It allows them to find what they need to be productive — whether that’s an available workspace, conference room equipment, or someone to adjust the HVAC system so their favorite room doesn’t turn into a sauna after an hour-long meeting.
The traditional workplace management system didn’t offer much for employees. Those systems were designed to manage facilities and spaces behind the scenes, not interact directly with the workforce.
However, as more employers adopt an agile work environment and focus on wellness and comfort, they are considering technologies that close the gap between workplace leaders and the workforce. That includes a workplace app designed to help employees find and reserve space, request service, and receive mail, visitors, and announcements.
And as offices reopen, leaders have new expectations about what a workplace app should do. They are looking for solutions that offer touchless visitor check-in and reservations, help them manage contact tracing, and allow them to send updates related to safety.
As employees use these apps, they are feeding valuable information to workplace leaders to help them manage capacity, adjust their office design, and respond faster to service requests.
The desire to bridge this gap was a key driver that led iOFFICE to develop a new kind of IWMS.
It’s a cloud-based platform that expands upon the traditional IWMS features and benefits to include employee-facing technology and much more.
We call it the integrated experience management system (iXMS) because it puts experiences at the center of everything while connecting to the technology you already use — as well as the technologies we haven’t even heard of yet.
Easy integrations with emerging technologies
Integration was one of the primary IWMS benefits from the beginning. The original intent was to connect several disparate facility management systems into a unified platform, visible across an entire organization.
Unfortunately, the architecture of many of these systems doesn’t allow for easy integration with the cloud-based technology workplace leaders and employees use today.
To get the most benefit from an IWMS solution today, it needs to connect to many different technologies, including:
- Building information modeling (BIM) and building automation systems
- Calendar apps
- Common apps like Uber and DoorDash
- Communication platforms like Slack
- Computer-assisted design (CAD) software
- Conference room scheduling panels
- Email providers
- Employee directories and HR platforms
- Energy management systems
- Enterprise asset management software
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
- Facility management software
- IoT sensors
- Lease administration solutions
- Mailroom management software
- Project management software
- Space and move management software
- Visitor management software
In the near future, this could also include applications for artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and voice-assisted technologies. Connecting these emerging technologies to outdated on-premise IWMS software systems is a major challenge. It’s also extremely expensive since each often requires significant IT infrastructure updates or custom development.
Real-time data analytics
The ability to make data-driven decisions has always been one of the biggest IWMS benefits. Today, the stakes are even higher, and so are the expectations for workplace data.
Today’s leaders need robust, real-time data to make critical decisions, such as whether to use a coworking space to supplement existing office space in an emerging market rather than committing to a new long-term lease.
The advantage of an IWMS that integrates with virtually anything is that each new application adds another layer of context to the bigger picture.
However, adding context shouldn’t mean adding complexity. The best IWMS software compiles all this data into user-friendly dashboards and reporting to ensure the picture is clear.
Consider the example of McKesson, a large healthcare enterprise that was using 58 different apps and software systems to manage its workplaces.
This made it nearly impossible to uncover a single source of trusted workplace data and analyze it to make property management decisions.
The company used an open API to connect its space management software to iOFFICE’s centralized platform for managing room reservations, mail, and visitors. This enabled employees to shift from assigned seats to hot desking, improving space utilization significantly. It also allowed the company to create user-friendly dashboards visible to all departments.
As a result, McKesson reduced total costs of ownership by floor, simplified its technology stack, and improved response times to service requests.
All these IWMS benefits ultimately contribute to one greater objective: preparing for enterprise growth.
When workplace leaders have full visibility into their real estate costs and data, they can plan for new acquisitions or office relocations that help them achieve their goals.
They can also create a consistent, scalable workplace experience that attracts and retains top talent. We often hold up technology startups as examples of great places to work because they are so agile. When something isn’t working, startups quickly pivot their business strategy or make changes within their workplace. As companies grow, they tend to rely less on agile practices in favor of greater stability.
This recent crisis has underscored the importance of being adaptable.
Restaurants that were unable to quickly shift their business model from in-person dining to carry-out simply couldn’t survive. Major retailers including Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy, citing disruptions related to the pandemic.
It will likely have a lasting impact on corporate real estate as well.
With the right technology, workplace leaders can position themselves for growth and agility. They can take advantage of flexible space strategies, offer more services and amenities to employees — wherever they are, and make data-driven decisions so they are ready for anything.
A universe with infinite possibilities
iXMS is not just a reimagined IWMS, but a flexible framework with infinite potential. It’s a way to unify many digital applications into one platform. It’s a 100% SaaS, multi-tenant platform, allowing for continuous integration and delivery. Updates are released continually by the provider, rather than every six months to a year. This creates scalability while eliminating the need for expensive upgrades.
No matter what the future holds, iOFFICE will ensure your workplace is prepared for it. We have the technology and expertise to connect your people, places, and systems to help you create a workplace that grows with you.
And of the many IWMS benefits, this one is the most important.
Ready to unlock the potential of your workplace? Request a custom quote.