What Is an IWMS?

Here's your definitive guide.

What Is An IWMS?

An IWMS is an integrated workplace management system, which is a software platform used across an organization—including within maintenance, IT, and HR departments—to manage all aspects of a company’s facilities, equipment, and space usage.

Having a dynamic IWMS is important. It helps you optimize your employees’ office space and work experience, monitor your real estate portfolio, maintain the assets and equipment in your buildings, and much more. IWMS software reaches across most parts of an organization and touches nearly every business area.

History of IWMS Systems

According to Verdantix, workplace management systems integration began in the 1970s as organizations started adopting solutions for managing floorplans and space processes. It took off in the 1990s with the rise of computer-aided facility management and integrated workplace platforms, which required consultants to develop and maintain the code. In 2004, Michael Bell produced the first IWMS report from Gartner, noting a “clear transition from point solutions to enterprise suites characterizes the predominant trend in the market.”

The technology continues to evolve. According to MarketWatch, key drivers of IWMS market growth include an increase in interest of real estate workflow automation solutions, along with an increase in emphasis on energy management by governments.

In addition, innovations like IoT and AI continue to provide huge growth opportunities.

Why Use an IWMS?

So, what are some of the specific reasons you’d want to adopt an IWMS?

IWMS software helps you track, maintain, and enhance your workplace resources. Even if you’re already using computer-aided facility management (CAFM)—or if you’re still using spreadsheets and separate systems to monitor space usage, maintenance costs, and energy consumption—it is much harder to get a holistic view of how it is all performing. You’re potentially missing out on key insights into your workplace, which makes it more difficult to make data-driven decisions.

According to recent research by Mind Commerce, IWMS platforms have been found to provide the following benefits to a typical organization:

  • 5% improvement in energy usage
  • 3% improvement in the efficiency of facility usage
  • 2% reduced facility maintenance costs

By having all your asset and facilities information in one cloud-based system, you can create dynamic workspaces and make better, more informed decisions about your buildings and equipment.

In addition, today’s workplaces are rapidly evolving, and factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and new environmental regulations and concerns mean that employers need to be more flexible than ever.

According to one study by Verdantix, total expenditure on software solutions across areas like real estate, maintenance, space management, and energy management “will total $6.4 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020.” Mind Commerce’s report shows that globally, the IWMS market will reach up to $11.2 billion by 2026.

5 Core Components of an IWMS Solution

Gartner currently defines an IWMS as covering five core components:

  1. Maintenance management
  2. Space and facilities management
  3. Real estate portfolio management
  4. Capital planning and project management
  5. Sustainability and energy management

The following sections will explain key benefits and outline each of the five components listed above—including why they’re important, and what to look for when choosing an IWMS software solution.

Let’s start with facilities and maintenance management.

Facilities Management

An IWMS helps you streamline your facilities and maintenance workflows and activities. These include:

  • Maintenance scheduling: Proactively schedule and auto-assign preventative maintenance on your equipment. With all equipment tracked in one system, you can easily see the parts information and work history for each asset, so technicians spend less time searching for data or manually inputting information into multiple systems.
  • Work orders: Easily submit work orders to fix faulty equipment and track maintenance or repairs in one platform.
  • Facilities condition assessments: Manage data for your facilities assessments and get better insights into the physical status of your buildings—including the age, construction, and condition of individual spaces and equipment.

When data for all your assets is in one place, you can more easily see short- and long-term trends. And with the right mobile-friendly, cloud-based IWMS software, your technicians can access equipment information right from the palm of their hands.

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Space Management

According to a Gartner survey, an organization’s work environment has a significant effect on employee engagement, yet only 13% of workers say they’re totally satisfied with their workspaces.

That’s where an IWMS comes in. When you optimize and enhance your workspaces, you can boost employee morale (and, in turn, their productivity).

IWMS space management capabilities can include:

  • Facilities planning and floor plan visualizations
  • Move planning
  • Desk and workspace reservations
  • Usage analytics

Effective IWMS solutions enable you to visualize your offices and facilities using interactive floorplans, making it easier to plan office moves and optimize your spaces.

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In addition, space reservation capabilities are becoming increasingly important. According to CBRE, 73% of companies anticipate supporting hybrid (remote and in-office) work in the future. By enabling employees to book desks and other working spaces ahead of time, you can ensure they’ll have the space they need when they come into the office.

Real Estate Portfolio Management

Corporate real estate professionals can use IWMS software to track items such as leases, contracts, dates, and disclosures. As the real estate landscape continues to shift in a post-pandemic world, it is critical that you have access to data about how all your properties are used.

If you’re tracking this information across multiple spreadsheets, it is much harder to get a holistic view of your properties. An IWMS can help you consolidate, visualize, and report out on it all, enabling you to make the right long-term planning and investment decisions.

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Capital Planning

Capital Planning teams strive to reduce costs and increase efficiency. However, long stakeholder meetings, subjective asset prioritization, and lengthy capital budget approval cycles add time and budget risks (by as much as 20%).

That’s where capital planning, part of an IWMS, allows users to identify, assess, and prioritize capital needs across the entire asset portfolio—repair/replace decision-making, when it needs to happen, and how much it will cost. The data can then be easily pushed into a capital projects tool for execution and back into an asset record, completing the capital asset lifecycle.

Capital Project Management

Capital project management includes tasks such as:

  • Cost and resource planning
  • Contractor bidding and vendor management
  • Scheduling

When you choose a software platform that connects to the same system you use for your other business processes, you can monitor critical details and dates all from one environment.

This means you spend less time manually inputting and tracking specifics like financial expenditures, cash flow analyses, and vendor contracts, and more time focusing on the bigger picture.

Sustainability and Energy Management

An increasing number of corporations are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, increase sustainability efforts, and monitor energy consumption.

However, this is becoming more challenging. The Verdantix study also notes that, as firms push toward a hybrid working schedule, building occupancy levels will fluctuate more. This in turn will put pressure on facilities teams to optimize their heating and cooling equipment to account for these fluctuations and low-occupancy states.

Effective IWMS software helps organizations analyze their consumption patterns and makes it easier to see the spikes and anomalies in your data. This means you can better optimize, forecast, and reduce your energy usage.

Going Beyond a Traditional IWMS with OT Security

Operational technology (OT) cyber security is not included in a traditional IWMS, but it is a part of the Nuvolo Connected Workplace—and it is a major complement to every department. Hackers are increasingly targeting non-IT, network-connected devices like HVAC or pipeline systems, and these cyber attacks can be devastating when an organization is caught off-guard.

The Nuvolo OT Security solution automates your cyber security response and coordinates remediation work across teams to resolve issues quickly.

When you have visibility into all your assets and equipment, you’re armed with actionable data that enables you to keep your devices online.

Let’s Talk OT Security

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Choosing an IWMS

So, which one is right for you?

One of the most important aspects of choosing an IWMS is understanding your business needs and how the software is going to alleviate facility and operational pressures. Some questions to consider are:

  • Which areas of management should be prioritized for digital transformation, and what is the impact of this?
  • Does the software in question meet the demands of your industry?
  • Does the vendor have experience deploying the IWMS in your industry and understand your organization’s pain points?
  • What resources and support can the vendor offer you?
  • How has Covid-19 and flexible work policies affected your organization’s workplace policies?
  • What is the estimated ROI?

When considering the product itself, you should ask:

  • Does the IWMS software in question work across multiple devices?
  • Does the product integrate with other software platforms?
  • How quickly can the software be implemented?
  • Does the software offer automation capabilities?
  • Is specialist training needed?
  • What are the vendor’s plans for development and investment in the next 3-5 years?

Connected Workplace: The Next Generation IWMS Software

It’s clear that workplaces are evolving—and the way you manage them should, too. Effective IWMS software helps you manage your facilities, spaces, equipment, business processes, and more.

Nuvolo Connected Workplace not only supports and enhances all the core elements of a traditional IWMS, but it goes far beyond by offering critical OT security capabilities. The Connected Workplace encompasses all the components required for an organization to plan, deliver, and operate the enterprise services offered to their employees and customers.

See how Nuvolo can help you ditch your spreadsheets, get a holistic view of your assets and spaces, and ensure the security of your OT devices.

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