Do You Need A Comprehensive IWMS Or A Single Solution?

by James McDonald on April 14, 2022
The Next Generation of IWMS: iXMS

The full suite of features an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) offers is impressive — which is why one in five corporate real estate leaders are considering investing in one, according to Verdantix analyst Susan Clarke.

However, an IWMS is not the right investment for every organization. Depending on the size of your company and your business needs, it may make more sense to implement a single solution.

There’s a wide range of single workplace software solutions designed to resolve one specific operational challenge. Some common solutions are room reservation software, service request software, or a visitor management system.

Here are a few critical considerations that can help you determine whether an IWMS or a single workplace management solution is right for you.

IWMS vs. single workplace management solutions: 4 key questions

What is your company size?

The needs of a growing tech startup with a few offices are very different from the needs of a large insurance company with dozens of locations and thousands of employees.

If your company only has a few offices and no one responsible for overseeing your corporate real estate strategy (yet), you might only need a single solution to manage desk booking or room reservations.

However, many large companies often have dozens of disparate workplace management systems scattered across various locations. There might be 10 different ways employees can reserve space, depending on where they are. Your floor plans could be in five different CAFM systems, making it virtually impossible to assess space utilization and real estate costs at a glance.

In that case, moving to one unified platform will significantly improve workplace management and planning. It will likely save you money as well because you’ll be paying for a single subscription, rather than dozens of different licenses.

What are your data capture needs?

Having accurate data is essential to effectively managing and optimizing the workplace.

Both an IWMS and a standalone space management solution can collect a certain level of occupancy and space utilization data. However, depending on which technology you use, the volume and accuracy of this data could vary substantially.

For instance, a specialized solution may be able to use the number of devices connected to the company’s WiFi network to gauge the number of occupants in the building.

However, this doesn’t take into account individual employees who have multiple devices connected to your WiFi. It doesn’t provide visibility into the specific locations of employees or how long they occupied those spaces.

If you are only interested in high-level occupancy statistics, this approach may be sufficient. But if you need more in-depth, precise workplace data, an IWMS is a better fit.

An IWMS can be integrated with multiple technologies — including Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and ID badge systems — to collect more detailed information about utilization and occupancy. It also makes it easy to act on that data.

For instance, with sensors that connect to your IWMS, you can see a much more accurate view of where employees were actually working throughout the day. This is especially helpful if you have unassigned seats. You can then use that data to prioritize cleaning and sanitization service requests, instead of cleaning the entire office daily when you only averaged 50% occupancy.

What are your real estate needs?

At some point, most growing companies will undergo a major transformation. This could involve moving to a new, larger office, expanding your real estate footprint, or making dramatic changes to how your company utilizes its existing space.

At the moment, companies of all sizes are facing the need to make substantial adjustments to their real estate portfolio in response to COVID-19.

Some are reducing their office space, while others anticipate needing more space to accommodate the same number of employees with greater distance between workspaces.

While it may be possible to manage restacking with a single software solution or a large office move, it’s extraordinarily difficult.

Without interactive floor plans, you won’t be able to create different move scenarios or manage seat assignments. Instead, you’re mostly likely going to be shuffling a bunch of sticky notes around on blueprints — something you’d hoped to avoid by investing in a space management solution.

Additionally, managing these large scale updates requires close collaboration between multiple departments, including the FM, IT, and HR teams. Without an IWMS, each department is likely using a different software system to handle its part of the project.

With an IWMS, you’re all using the same platform for space planning, asset tracking, and facility maintenance. You have a single source of truth and transparency throughout the project.

What do you need to improve your workplace experience?

As companies develop their return-to-work strategy, many are rethinking traditional office designs and seating arrangements. They’re also trying to address employees’ new expectations for comfort, safety, and wellness.

Flexible seating arrangements like hot desking offer many benefits, but they can become a hot mess without the right technology. Employees need an easy way to reserve workspaces or rooms with assurances that the space will be clean and ready for them when they arrive.

They also need to be able to quickly find colleagues who may be working at home or on a different floor. And they need to be able to resolve issues quickly. If they came into the office specifically for a meeting and your conference room technology isn’t working properly, they’ll wonder why they bothered to come in at all.

While you can invest in separate technology to manage reservations, wayfinding, and service requests, this is a frustrating experience for employees who have to log into multiple systems or touch a series of shared tablets throughout the day.

An IWMS that offers a complete set of employee services through one mobile app gives them the level of convenience they’ve come to expect. For instance, employees can:

  • Find colleagues and places
  • Reserve available rooms or desks
  • Request services, such as cleaning or catering
  • Receive mail, visitors, or important announcements

An employee experience app that connects with your IWMS also gives you deeper insight into how employees are using the workplace.

You can collect near real-time data on:

  • How many people have checked in for the day to limit capacity
  • Which spaces have been used so you know where to clean
  • Who has been in the office, in case you need to notify them for contact tracing
  • What percentage of workspaces and rooms are used in a typical week

This allows you to make adjustments quickly, helping you improve the workplace experience while planning ahead.

The good news: you can have it both ways

Point solutions and integrated systems both have their pros and cons.

The biggest advantages of single workplace management solutions tend to be simplicity and affordability. If all you need is a visitor management system, you can implement one within a few days.

While this is convenient, it doesn’t necessarily position your organization for growth. If you discover you need other functionality a few months later, you will have to go through the process of researching and implementing new solutions all over again. You may have a hard time finding solutions that integrate with the technology you already have.

As your company grows, adding new solutions frequently across different locations can lead to a bloated, inefficient technology stack.

IWMS implementation is more complex than implementing single solutions. This is because an IWMS is designed to be an all-in-one platform built on a centralized database that different departments can use to resolve various challenges.

However, once you’ve gone through the implementation process, making upgrades and incorporating additional functionality is much more straightforward and involves corresponding with just one provider.

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between addressing your needs now and planning for long-term growth.

With Teem by iOFFICE, you can implement simple solutions like room and desk booking, visitor management, and a mobile app in just a matter of hours.

And if you have more advanced space management needs, iOFFICE’s next-generation integrated experience management system (iXMS) allows you to start with one robust space planning solution and add other solutions as you need them.

Our cloud-based solutions make it easy for you to add functionality and users without hidden costs.

While a single solution might be the best fit for your company now, it’s important to consider your long-term needs, too. Fortunately, our technology is designed to evolve with your workplace.

Ready to see a closer look? Request a demo today.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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