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  • What's Driving the Need for IWMS Tools?

    by Chad Smith on March 12, 2020
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    As they strive to win the war for top talent, increase innovation and improve employee productivity, many organizations are turning to IWMS tools to accomplish their goals.

    Integrated workplace management system (IWMS) tools make it easier to collect, analyze and leverage data to achieve positive business outcomes.

    Here are five reasons a growing number of companies are implementing them, according to a recent Verdantix report, The Business Case for Integrated Workplace Management Systems.

    What’s Driving Investment in IWMS Tools?

    The Need for Data-Driven Decision-Making

    For decades, it was common practice for companies to use manual processes and multiple disparate software solutions to manage data about their space, assets, technology and employees.

    That made it difficult to ensure the quality and consistency of critical information and challenging to find specific data quickly. Additionally, storing information in siloes meant that data could be updated in one system but not another, which led to key stakeholders using outdated data to make mission-critical decisions.

    Now, many leaders have realized that the only thing riskier than relying on assumptions and gut instincts for managing the workplace is basing decisions on incomplete or poor quality data. IWMS tools enable companies to create a single source of truth in a centralized database.

    Not only does this reduce the risk of human error and eliminate the possibility of duplicate work, it ensures decision-makers have on-demand access to accurate and up-to-date information. With IWMS tools, business leaders have more comprehensive insight into how the company is using its available resources, which allows them to make smarter, more informed decisions.

    A Shift Toward More Agile Workplaces

    As the second largest expense in an enterprise’s budget, real estate is a popular target for cost-saving initiatives. One particularly popular strategy for reducing real estate expenses is to abandon traditional office layouts with assigned workstations and implement an agile work environments, such as activity-based working or hot desking.

    Not only can adopting an agile workplace decrease real estate and facility management costs, it can also encourage more collaboration and contribute to a more positive employee experience, which improves recruiting and retention.

    To ensure the shift is successful, you need to use IWMS tools — more specifically, space planning software, facility maintenance software and mobile workplace apps. With space planning software, workplace leaders can overlay real-time occupancy and asset data on individual floor plans to determine the optimal design and layout to create a comfortable, inspiring workplace.

    Whereas in a traditional office environment, the same spaces will be occupied at approximately the same times every day, in an agile workplace, occupancy levels are constantly in flux. Space planning and facility maintenance software gives workplace leaders the visibility they need to create cleaning and repair schedules that are the least disruptive.

    The Desire to Reduce IT Costs

    Many organizations invested in on-premise IWMS tools years ago with the intent of managing their real estate, space and maintenance. As those companies grew and their needs became more complex, they added new solutions on top of their existing technology stack. These new solutions did not always integrate directly with the original software system.

    Over time, this piecemeal approach led to an overly complicated IT infrastructure that was difficult to scale and expensive to maintain.

    The right IWMS tools help companies reduce the complexity of their technology stack and associated costs by consolidating multiple functionalities into a single interface. In addition, investing in up-to-date, cloud-based IWMS tools removes the security risks associated with aging technology.

    Older systems that are no longer supported by the vendor are at greater risk of outages and cyberattacks as they don’t receive necessary bug fixes or security patches. And technology that is nearing the end of its life will have more limited capabilities as the vendor stops releasing updates.

    Cloud-based IWMS tools automatically receive the latest system updates and feature improvements, ensuring the technology is operating at maximum efficiency.

    The Need for Smarter Maintenance and Asset Management

    Regardless of industry, maintenance and repair expenses account for a large percentage of an enterprise’s budget. And generally, the cost of emergency repairs is substantially higher than the costs associated with preventive or predictive maintenance.

    In fact, according to research conducted by Aberdeen, the average cost of unplanned downtime is $260,000 per hour. It’s not surprising, then, that nearly three-fourths of organizations say zero unplanned downtime is a top priority or the No. 1 priority.

    The most effective way to prevent unexpected asset malfunction or failure is to develop and execute a predictive maintenance strategy. Predictive maintenance enables companies to proactively optimize the operation of all assets, from HVAC and lighting systems to printers and breakroom appliances. This approach involves using IWMS tools and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to measure an asset’s actual utilization to decide when to perform maintenance.

    IoT sensors collect data on asset performance indicators like temperature, vibration and sound. With this information, facilities managers can establish baselines and determine thresholds that indicate an asset could fail soon.

    They can also use the analytics dashboards within their IWMS software to review the data, identify patterns and trends and single out problem assets. From there, they can use the same software system to create a service ticket, assign it to a technician and ensure repairs are completed before anything goes wrong.

    A Growing Emphasis on the Employee Experience

    Fifteen years ago, a powerful desktop computer was the default employer-provided technology. A few years later, a user-friendly laptop would become the go-to.

    Today, as BYOD workplaces become the norm, the technology employers must offer employees isn’t a piece of hardware. To build an engaged workforce, employers need to invest in employee experience (EX) mobile app, powered by IWMS tools.

    The best employee experience apps support the productivity of your workforce by giving them on-demand access to important information in addition to more control over how they engage with the workplace. An EX mobile app keeps employees up to date about the latest company news and upcoming events.

    It helps them find coworkers and available workspaces, submit service requests and receive mail, visitors and important information.

    The added bonus of an EX mobile app is that while it’s empowering employees to get the most out of the workplace, it’s also providing real estate leaders and facility managers with valuable real-time data about space and asset utilization they can use to further optimize the workplace experience.

    Finally, an EX app provides employees with the tools they need to freely move throughout the workplace and be productive no matter where they are.

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    Making the Business Case for IWMS Tools 

    If these driving forces sound familiar to you, it's time to start building the business case for investing in IWMS tools.

    First, you'll need to demonstrate how much you anticipate saving by eliminating multiple legacy systems. Next, consider what manual processes you can eliminate or reduce. For instance, many of our clients have found they are able to plan office moves in a fraction of the time using our move management software. 

    You'll also want to estimate how much you'll save in operating costs. To do this, calculate your company's average space utilization and determine what percentage of your office space is vacant or underutilized. For some companies, it could be as much as half.

    Don't forget to factor in the anticipated savings of adopting an agile work environment, which can be significant. 

    How much could you save with an IWMS? Enter the number of employees you have, your lease costs and maintenance costs into the iOFFICE Savings Calculator to get an estimate now!

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