Does Your Organization Really Need An IWMS?
As they look to modernize and consolidate their workplace technology, at least 1 in 5 workplace leaders are considering an IWMS, according to a global Verdantix survey.
If you are among them, you will likely need to justify your investment to your CFO.
You might be wondering whether your organization really needs a full integrated workplace management system (IWMS) or if there are other software solutions that will meet your needs.
What Is An IWMS?
An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) is a software platform that helps facilities management, corporate real estate professionals and other leaders conduct essential functions needed to keep their buildings operating and their workforce engaged.
Gartner first coined the term “integrated workplace management system” to describe a platform that would seamlessly combine many disparate software systems into one.
IWMS software combines essential data into a single system, empowering leaders to make more informed decisions about their workplace and real estate portfolio.
Historically, IWMS software has consisted of five core pillars:
- Space and facilities management
- Real estate management and lease accounting
- Maintenance management
- Capital project management
- Sustainability and energy management
While the core functions of the IWMS remain critical, today’s leaders expect more. They need a cloud-based software platform that is built with the workplace experience at the center. It needs to have an exceptional user interface, allowing employees to access a variety of workplace services from a mobile app, kiosk or desktop.
The IWMS of the future should serve as a digital workplace concierge, allowing employees to find people, reserve rooms, request service and receive mail or visitors.
It should also have the ability to integrate seamlessly with IoT sensors and other emerging workplace technologies — including applications that may not even exist yet. And it should have powerful reporting capabilities.
What Companies Benefit Most From An IWMS?
IWMS software brings unique benefits to every organization, depending on its industry, size, assets and challenges. Here's a closer look at how organizations benefit most from an IWMS.
1. Companies In Highly Regulated And Asset-Heavy Industries
Financial institutions, healthcare organizations, energy companies and other companies with a high degree of regulatory oversight need to comply with certain reporting requirements. For instance, to comply with FASB lease accounting standards, they need to be able to report on the lease details of every asset they own. By the end of this year, these new reporting standards will apply to private companies as well. That means any organization with a large number of assets — like airlines, manufacturing companies and logistics companies — will need at least an asset tracking software system if they don't already have one. And if they want to visualize those assets within their space and properly manage them with preventive maintenance workflows, they need an IWMS.
2. Companies With Multiple Properties
For companies with multiple properties, an IWMS is essential to staying organized. It allows corporate real estate leaders to see their entire real estate portfolio at a glance, which helps them optimize costs and plan for their future needs. They can also drill down to see data on each individual property and space utilization by building, floor and department. This allows them to make more informed decisions about their real estate.
3. Companies With A Large Or Distributed Workforce
It's challenging enough to manage a workplace with a single office and a handful of employees. As companies grow, their space and resources become more scare. That makes it even more important to manage them well. Because the growth of the workforce often happens before new real estate investments, employees may find themselves needing to reserve conference rooms, share desks and sign in new consultants or contractors. An IWMS serves an essential role when it comes to connecting employees with the spaces and resources they need to be productive.
Key Benefits of An IWMS
An IWMS helps enterprises save significant time and money. Verdantix highlights several areas where organizations can expect to achieve the greatest savings:
- Real estate and lease management savings - An IWMS reduces the time spent entering and obtaining lease information.
- Space management savings - An IWMS reduces time spent surveying spaces and reporting on space utilization.
- Faster meeting room scheduling - The best IWMS software on the market today has the ability to manage workplace services such as room reservations, making employees more efficient.
- More efficient asset management- An IWMS allows facilities managers to create automated workflows for maintenance, which saves time and improves the useful life of assets.
- IT savings - An IWMS consolidates multiple legacy systems into one, which eliminates licensing fees, IT hardware and the considerable costs of maintaining and upgrading outdated systems.
- Occupancy cost savings - An IWMS allows leaders to consolidate spaces and achieve significant savings. Gartner notes businesses can reduce costs by 10% to 15% with effective space management.
- Energy cost savings - An IWMS enables more efficient space utilization and energy management, which results in considerable cost savings.
An IWMS enables businesses to work smarter by automating manual processes and making data more accessible.
5 Questions To Consider Before Investing In An IWMS
1. How Much Could You Save By Improving Space Utilization?
The average company has 30% to 50% more corporate real estate than it actually needs, according to Accenture. Much of this is due to redundancy or poor space utilization.
And considering the cost of just one empty desk can be as high as $18,000 per year, that is waste your company can’t afford.
An IWMS can help you achieve significant cost savings by consolidating all your real estate data into one central system. This makes it easy to identify opportunities for consolidating underutilized space or increasing the employee-to-desk ratio. In today’s agile work environment where employees frequently move around the office, space occupancy and vacancy data won’t get you enough insight to make these decisions. You need an IWMS that includes space management software, room reservation software and IoT sensor integrations to give you real-time data on how every corner of your workplace is being used.
The good news? The more space your organization has, the more you stand to save with an IWMS.
2. How Will An IWMS Impact Your Facility Maintenance?
More than half of all leaders who responded to IFMA’s 2019 benchmarking survey said they use facility maintenance software to manage service requests and repairs.
There’s no question facility management software on its own is more efficient than using email or spreadsheets. Using facility management software that is part of an IWMS brings added benefits, including the ability to:
- Maintain a digital record of every asset throughout its lifecycle
- Determine the total cost of ownership for assets
- Easily locate assets within your floor plan
- Create workflows for preventive maintenance
Take the time to talk with your facility maintenance team and determine how an IWMS will impact their operations. What manual processes could it replace? Are there unexpected repairs that could have been avoided if they had better visibility into asset performance and preventive maintenance needs?
3. What Existing Technology Could You Consolidate Or Replace?
How many different workplace software systems is your company using to manage your real estate, maintenance and other critical functions? If you have multiple locations or divisions, it might take some time to determine that. In addition to having redundant systems, you likely also have significant IT infrastructure costs and software licensing fees.
Many legacy facility management systems are built on-premise, which makes them expensive to maintain and update. Moving to a cloud-based IWMS eliminates the costs of IT hardware and upgrades, as well as the fees associated with multiple systems.
4. How Will An IWMS Improve Employee Productivity?
The average company with 200-500 employees uses 123 different apps, according to Blissfully’s 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report. That means the average employee uses about eight different apps every day.
Toggling between multiple applications is distracting and can hinder employee productivity. Having the ability to navigate your workplace and access important resources from a single app gives employees more time to focus on what matters most.
That’s why having an IWMS that connects to a workplace app is so beneficial. It allows your employees to find people and places, reserve space, request service and more.
5. How Will It Impact Your Workplace Experience?
While IWMS software has been the gold standard for the past two decades, it hasn’t kept up with the changing needs and expectations of the modern workplace. These solutions were primarily designed to manage buildings, not people. And as they evolved into large, complex and costly on-premise systems, they’ve been slow to adapt to an agile workforce.
That’s why the market demands a transformation—one that recognizes the importance of employees and places experience at the center.
If you want to make your workplace experience a priority, you need to equip your employees with technology that not only makes them more productive, but happier. That means investing in workplace management solutions that have an exceptional user interface and the ability to integrate with other technology.
As one of the first full cloud-based workplace management software systems, iOFFICE was built this way from the beginning.