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    IWMS gives facilities managers insight for action-critical decisions

    Elizabeth Dukes

    In the past, facilities managers may have struggled to tackle numerous responsibilities throughout their buildings at the same time. With information locked in spreadsheets or on stationary computers, they had to gather team members and decision-makers in central locations in order to address critical needs such as maintenance issues or emergency responses. With the introduction of advanced technology, facilities managers are moving past those limitations.

    Adopting solutions such as integrated workplace management systems (IWMS), allows FMs to deploy remote team members to specific locations and access data from asset tracking software, move management programs, maintenance request platforms in real-time. By taking a 360-degree view of operations and physical space, facilities managers are moving toward the ideals that were first addressed when building information modeling (BIM) was introduced.

    Facilities managers want panoramic view
    Building information modeling is based on the premise that stakeholders can access crucial information about a facility's operational processes and physical layouts through three-dimensional plans, according to Facilities Net.

    "The benefits of building modeling are clearest when used collaboratively by the design team to coordinate the disciplines, avoiding trades conflicts and ensuring adequate space for building systems. The benefits of good collaboration can translate into cost and time savings during construction," the source explains.

    What started as a way to foster seamless interactions between construction firms and design teams evolved to include a platform that can also service facilities managers and maintenance professionals, the source adds. While the technology is not new or revolutionary, the concept has taken off within FM circles in recent years as cloud-based technologies proliferated the market.

    Real-time sharing through IWMS programs has made three-dimensional modeling software more attractive for monitoring a number of metrics, from energy consumption to space utilization.

    In some cases, IWMS systems can even incorporate BIM functionalities, reports IWMS News. Although this seems like it might be advantageous at first glance, it might actually be too much of a good thing. The article explains that the two technologies are not always interoperable and integration can be time-consuming, thus leaving them vulnerable to data decay. Rather, FMs might want to rely on technology they know is effective.

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    IWMS creates live-sharing opportunities for better insight
    Facilities managers are often turning to IWMS programs to handle the ever-increasing piles of data they are responsible for creating, processing and sharing, IWMS News reports. If they can intelligently leverage the vast amounts of information at their fingertips, they will recognize opportunities for improvement.

    These cloud-based platforms allow FMs to address a number of areas, including maintenance and operations, energy consumption, real estate use and operational efficiency, the source adds. With software as a service (SaaS) solutions, the programs are available as web-based portals that can be accessed on mobile devices regardless of FMs' physical locations in buildings. That way, they always know if occupants are reporting heating or cooling problems, equipment is in working order, tools are in need of routine maintenance or cleaning supplies are dwindling.

    Immediate access to cross-facility data can also help FMs generate insights about the best ways to improve current processes. For instance, they might realize that given the current occupancy rates and burgeoning work-from-home trends, it is an optimal time to launch sustainability practices. Using the information from the central systems, FMs can reduce energy consumption in areas of the building that are not being used on a given day without impacting customer satisfaction. Even if this a small step at first, the continued practice can shrink the company's carbon footprint over time.

    In all professions, knowledge is power, but simply having the facts is no longer enough to help businesses gain a competitive edge. They need to leverage live information with technology tools to uncover actionable insights that will strengthen their bottom lines. 

     
    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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