IWMS Software Development: Best Practices for Business Owners and Executives
When the digital transformation in workplace and facilities management just started to take off, most companies opted for solutions that optimized specific processes. Asset management, lease management, and workplace management systems gained a solid reputation and were adopted in vastly different industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and construction asset management.
But today, it’s all about integration. Workplaces and facilities generate vast amounts of data that has to be processed and analyzed – from maintenance reports to lease documents. Separate and badly integrated solutions for asset maintenance, real estate management, and workplace organization cost a fortune – both money- and time-wise.
But what if you could have a single, comprehensive solution that gathers and analyzes data, streamlines processes, and optimizes performance in all management areas of your business? This is what IWMS software – or Integrated Workplace Management System – is designed for.
In this article, we’ll explain how IWMS software differs from facility management software, and get you through the 5 key management areas you can take to a new level with an IWMS system. We will also discuss the major benefits of implementing an IWMS system. After that, we’ll try to orient you in the myriad of software providers to help you find a truly effective IMWS solution. We will devise a plan for IWMS system implementation, and take a closer look at real-life cases of successful integrations of IWMS systems into business processes.
Let’s get started.
What is IWMS software?
IWMS software is a single solution that allows you to make strategic decisions based on integrated and analyzed data coming from disparate sources. Integrated Workplace Management Systems optimize processes, boost productivity, and reduce costs in real estate management, capital project management, and facility management simultaneously. They provide you with an all-encompassing view of essential data produced by your real estate, facilities, and infrastructural assets.
Is IWMS system the same as the facility management system?
It’s not. Facility management software focuses singularly on space management and asset maintenance. This might be sufficient for small businesses that only deal with tasks like space allocation, assigning and fulfilling work orders, and scheduling preventive maintenance.
But that’s not enough for enterprises that need to do tasks within several management areas at the same time. IWMS systems help with capital project management, energy and resources management, real estate and lease management, and more – depending on what kind of functionality you need.
Let’s talk about the 5 management areas where the IWMS system works wonders.
5 areas of management
Capital project management
An IWMS system improves the management of existing capital projects, as well as the planning and execution of new ones. It helps you analyze the project outcomes and boosts the quality of your planning with investment scenario analysis. An advanced IWMS solution also provides capital project managers with execution and control capabilities that eliminate budget overruns, remove resource bottlenecks, and improve project cycle time.
IWMS software can include all functionality of space management solutions, including management of employee service, resource scheduling, move management, building information modeling, and more. It can provide you with interactive floor plans that gather data from IoT sensors to deliver real-time data on occupancy. Space and facility management features can be used to improve the efficiency of space utilization and move planning, optimize room reservation management, and more.
Effective maintenance management is a must for the comfort of your occupants. IWMS software can automate service management processes, schedule regular maintenance, and issue work orders according to SLAs and warranties. An IWMS can also help you evaluate asset deficiencies and building conditions to extend the lifecycle of your assets. Finally, an integrated workplace management system can reduce learning time and provide users with control over regular tasks like room scheduling and requesting maintenance.
Real estate management
An IWMS system can provide real-time visibility of properties you manage, including costs, assets, lease terms, and occupancy. This can help you make data-driven acquisition and disposal decisions. On top of that, IWMS systems streamline lease management via date notification, automatic tracking, and other features. Finally, integrated workplace management system software can support and simplify lease accounting by making sure that the balance sheets reflect assets and liabilities, and that compliance standards are fully met.
Energy management and sustainability
53% of businesses view sustainability as one of their top priorities in the next 3 years. IWMS systems can measure energy usage and identify areas where your business produces more waste. It can help you evaluate how energy-efficient your assets are, and whether additional maintenance or replacements are needed to meet your sustainability goals. The highest-quality energy management system can even automatically adjust the temperature, lighting, and other systems based on occupancy data gathered from IoT sensors.
As you can see, IWMS solutions is something like a 5-in-1 shampoo – the difference being that it really does what it promises. Let’s see what benefits you can reap from implementing an IWMS into your business operations.
Benefits of IWMS
Since the scope of features of IWMS solutions is so wide, the benefits to concrete processes vary as well. On a more general level, you can expect the following:
- Complete transparency
IWMS software provides you with a complete view of all relevant processes by integrating, structuring, and standardizing data within a single repository. This gives you unmatched knowledge that can be used to generate better business insights and improve control over the operations.
- Improved efficiency
Smartly implemented IWMS solutions improve efficiency in the management of all relevant assets and operations. From assigning work orders to lease accounting – each of the processes will be easier to complete without mistakes and delays. With IWMS, workflow automation reaches its maximum potential.
- Better planning
IWMS systems offer you a unique opportunity to plan your operations better – from scheduling maintenance to analyzing investment scenarios. By gaining control over the present operations and analyzing current performance, you can predict future outcomes with precision.
- Proven compliance
Non-compliance costs companies $4 000 000 of revenue losses on average. Compliance with existing regulations and laws is key to avoiding incidents, business disruption, and troubles with audits. IWMS solutions let you keep an eye on compliance with health and safety, maintenance, sustainability, and other standards.
- Reduced costs
IWMS software saves you money by improving management processes, reducing time on reporting and maintenance, and optimizing space utilization. In addition, IWMS software reduces costs on maintenance and upgrading of outdated legacy IT systems.
Now, while we have already described key features of IWMS systems in 5 areas of management, any IWMS solution needs to meet the following criteria to improve the chances of successful implementation.
Features of a good IWMS Solution
Here are the 4 major characteristics of a good-quality IWMS system you should look for.
IWMS systems will probably be used by very different people in your organization – from analysts and project managers to maintenance workers. So make sure that the interface is intuitive and adaptable. If it’s too complicated and takes too much time to learn, you may fail to leverage the full potential of your software. A mobile application is an important feature that can help to integrate an IWMS system into your workflow faster.
Integration and scalability
Full-scale migration can lead to data loss and frustration. Ideally, an IWMS solution should replace legacy systems while seamlessly integrating with CRM and ERP systems still in use. This will help you design better workflows, reduce data silos, and improve productivity. In addition, an easily scalable system will serve you for longer while your business expands in size and operations.
The cost of data breaches for businesses is projected to rise to over $5 trillion in 2024, an average of 11% annual growth. An IMWS system is integrated into key management processes and will contain sensitive data that should be secured. Make sure that an IMWS system of your choice complies with software security standards.
Now, IWMS solutions take time to plan, develop, and implement. Here is a short version of the typical development stages of effective IWMS solutions.
IWMS solutions development and implementation
Here are the stages of developing and implementing an IWMS solution that will truly benefit your business.
- Identify needs and goals
An IMWS solution should address specific pain points of your business. You need to clearly understand how an IMWS implementation fits your business goals. Take time to assess your resources and develop data and training requirements to see whether you are truly ready to start a transformation.
- Choose a reputable development partner
Choose a vendor with great reviews and a high reputation for implementing enterprise-level solutions. You can read case studies of the company to make sure that the vendor has experience in implementing features you need in your software, and is ready to work with complex projects.
- Plan the implementation
Determine who will be responsible for rolling out and implementing your software, and who will train your employees to use it. A good rule of thumb is to appoint a change manager who will oversee the whole process.
- Implement an IWMS system
Implementation of the IWMS system usually goes in phases. Initially, you will need to set up and configure the system so that it meets your business needs. Later, you will have to oversee the implementation of updates that usually improve specific processes.
- Measure ROI
Set up KPIs and milestones you need to reach, and use data analytics to find out whether an IWMS system works as intended and truly optimizes the performance of your business. You can use space-related metrics like utilization rates, cost per head, and cost per seat to get a grip on the effectiveness of space and real estate management, as well as track how changes in lease costs and operations turn into cost savings and new revenue.
Now, let’s talk about the real-life case studies of the IWMS system implementation that brought tangible results to businesses around the world.
One gas transportation company from the Netherlands discovered that it had almost 100 paid software solutions that supported the daily operations of its facility. An IWMS that integrated workplace, maintenance, move, and project management reduced the number of paid software licenses to just 1.
Another case is a Swedish regional healthcare provider with almost 150 clinics. An IWMS solution improved the project management from the initiation to construction and completion, while IoT sensors enabled clinicians to know the exact times and locations where services were provided. This allowed for faster coordination and delivery of healthcare services, and improved patient satisfaction.
Technologies are developing rapidly, and IWMS software is not an exception. The rise of IoT sensors, digital twins, and cloud-based software is not over yet, and smart building technologies are just starting to sweep over the market. New emissions standards and hybrid offices demand new performance metrics as well. In fact, today might be the best time to implement an IWMS solution. While IWMS systems are now reliable and tested, they have not yet been adopted by everyone, which will give you a strong competitive edge.