Building A Business Case For An IWMS In A Post-COVID Workplace

by Chad Smith on May 4, 2021
COVID-19 Supercharges Workplace Transformation

The global pandemic revealed glaring gaps in many organization’s workplace technology. Those that didn’t have an easy way to collaborate remotely or manage space and seating, safety, and employee services in the hybrid workplace are now rushing to implement new solutions as they reopen. Just as the past year revealed many employees and operations as essential, it also demonstrated the importance of an IWMS.

Even before the pandemic, 84% of organizations expressed interest in consolidating their real estate and facilities systems into a single solution, according to Verdantix. The challenge is that now, every new investment is under more scrutiny as companies reduce spending.

By leading with the right objectives and doing your homework, you can build a strong business case for an integrated workplace management system.

Here’s how.

5 Steps To Justifying An IWMS

1. Lead with the right priorities

Enterprise priorities have shifted, and so should your leading arguments. According to Verdantix, some of the biggest drivers for implementing an IWMS software platform in the next three years will be:

  • The desire to improve employee productivity, safety and well-being
  • The need to attract and retain top talent as the economy recovers
  • The need to make buildings more resilient in the face of future disruptions
  • The need to reduce real estate costs, especially as companies adopt a hybrid workplace model

By focusing on how an IWMS achieves these goals, you will be more likely to capture the attention of the executive team.

Get the latest Verdantix report to learn more about what has changed since COVID-19.

2. Calculate IWMS investment expenses compared to legacy system costs

To figure out the true cost of IWMS implementation, you’ll need to perform two sets of calculations. The first is forecasting all costs associated with implementing the system, which includes:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) monthly or annual subscription fees (including data hosting and software updates)
  • Initial setup and optimization fees for data migration, integration of the IWMS with existing systems, and report and form configuration
  • Costs associated with user acceptance testing, system administrator training, and user support prior to, during, and following implementation
  • Installation, maintenance, and integration of smart Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to increase the value and applications of your IWMS

The second part of this step is to compare how much you expect to spend on IWMS

implementation with what you currently spend on maintaining legacy software systems.

Examples of expenditures include system maintenance costs, such as database licenses, hosting and upgrade fees, subscriptions, and consulting fees as well as expenses associated with responding to system outages and security breaches, including IT personnel time.

3. Estimate overall savings and return on investment

According to Verdantix, the average annual costs for an IWMS range from $50,000 to $800,000, depending on scale and complexity. Failure to demonstrate anticipated cost savings is one of the main reasons company leaders reject IWMS investment proposals. To overcome this, you will need to estimate cost savings in different areas, including:

  • Your annual real estate costs, and how much you can save by optimizing space management
  • What facility management processes you can automate, and how much time you’ll save by doing so
  • Your annual maintenance budget, and how you can reduce those costs with a more proactive approach
  • The average cost of equipment downtime for your most expensive assets (based on your last outage) and how much you’ll save with better maintenance management
  • The time employees spend on various real estate and facilities tasks
  • The annual costs of performing the work (assign a day rate to each task to account for overhead)
  • The personnel time you expect to save by making it easy for employees to reserve rooms, submit service tickets, and make other requests
  • Prove how an IWMS supports smarter facilities and asset maintenance with features like AI-driven malfunction alerts and automated service ticket creation.
  • How much you can improve energy management by implementing intelligent lighting and HVAC systems powered by an IWMS

You will also need to determine how quickly you can expect to see a return on investment.

In a recent TechValidate survey, 52% of iOFFICE customers said they saw ROI within three months.

4. Show how an IWMS helps you achieve strategic space planning

You’ve explored the cost-savings opportunities that an IWMS creates in your labor and IT budgets. You’ve shown how an IWMS can improve maintenance and optimize energy consumption. Now it’s time to drive the point home by sharing how an IWMS can supercharge your space management strategies.

  • Identify the properties in your portfolio with the highest occupancy costs and the highest potential for cost-savings with data-driven space management
  • Use industry case studies and any available occupancy data (such as badge swipes) to reveal wasted space and wasted spend
  • Present real-world examples of opportunities to consolidate space and achieve better space management with an IWMS
  • Assign dollar values to savings resulting from proposed space utilization initiatives, such as subletting and adopting flexible workspace strategies
  • Demonstrate how your company can avoid common consolidation pitfalls (such as spending weeks planning an office move or losing track of logistics) with move management software

An IWMS that integrates with occupancy sensors gives you real-time insight into how employees are using your space, making it easier to adapt and plan for the future.

5. Draft an implementation plan

Due to the scope and associated expenses, implementing an IWMS is a substantial initiative. It’s best to break it down into a phased approach that aligns with larger business priorities. Consider your company’s internal resources, requirements, and objectives. Here are a few important milestones that should be part of any IWMS implementation plan:

  • Gather stakeholders from facilities management, IT, and real estate teams to establish desired department-level and company-level outcomes
  • Decide which existing processes and software systems your IWMS will replace or enhance
  • Review the location and quality of existing data, and determine how you will consolidate and validate it prior to implementation
  • Assess availability of in-house IT resources and decide if third-party implementation support is necessary
  • Determine which modules you will need and in what order, based on their  anticipated impact, then create a schedule for phasing out old systems
  • Identify potential challenges and risks, and develop response plans for addressing them

Don’t overlook the employee experience

While an IWMS can significantly improve efficiency, space utilization, and cost management while helping you plan for the future, there’s one more essential factor you can’t ignore.

The pandemic has changed the role of the office and the employee experience in many ways, and it’s not likely things will ever go back to exactly the way they were. After more than a year of working remotely, your employees expect more from their workplace. Most still expect to spend the majority of their workweek in the office, but they probably won’t be there five days a week. When they do come in, they will be more intentional about their time.

They’ll expect to collaborate easily with colleagues in the office and those who are working remotely.

They don’t want to spend precious time searching for people or solutions to their technology problems.

They want a workplace that is designed for their specific needs — and they want to feel in control of their environment.

While traditional IWMS solutions focus on managing buildings and business processes, iOFFICEs’ integrated experience management system (iXMS) puts employees at the center of every interaction.

As a strategy, an iXMS is about prioritizing continuous improvement, simplifying your tech stack, and streamlining your processes—all in the name of a better workplace experience.

As a technology, iXMS is a scalable, cloud-based solution that unifies workplace leaders and employees by connecting people, places, and things with mobile, user-friendly solutions. It easily integrates with other workplace technologies, giving you full visibility into how employees are using your workplace. An iXMS is a flexible platform with limitless potential that transforms how your organization operates.

Futureproof your workplace and your employee experience with an iXMS today. 

Schedule a live demo.


Chad Smith

As the VP of Product Strategy, Chad David Smith wears many hats that leverage his 20+ years of experience in the industry. Chad collaborates directly with clients and partners as well as with the iOFFICE client experience, client success, sales, marketing and development teams to create the most innovative and valued solutions for our clients.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5