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Buyer's Guide

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 24, 2017

Facility, maintenance and real estate managers require specific functionality to efficiently maintain properties and track information. Software solutions designed to handle this functionality are known as Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMSs).

In this guide, we will explain what makes up an IWMS, what it can do and the benefits it can offer.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is an Integrated Workplace Management System?
Components of an Integrated Workplace Management System
Benefits of an Integrated Workplace Management System
Use Cases for an IWMS
How Is It Priced?

What Is an Integrated Workplace Management System?

In the past, managers would use several separate systems to meet their needs. But this changed when vendors first began offering a Web-based software platform that integrated the five modules needed most often by facility and real estate managers—an Integrated Workplace Management System.

Gartner coined the IWMS term in 2004 to describe the combination of these five applications:

  • Real estate and lease management
  • Facilities and space management
  • Maintenance management
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Capital project management

An IWMS is more than a repository for all of the data these applications gather; the system, in fact, offers coordination of activities occurring in each of these areas of an enterprise.

Therefore, an IWMS performs best for organizations with hundreds or thousands of assets, and reveals how various departmental activities impact each other.

Today, several major software vendors offer their own IWMSs. When they’re scattered across different systems or departments, the quality of data about facilities and assets can suffer—but IWMSs give managers all the features they need in one convenient package.

Common Features of IWMS Software

The following five component modules make up an IWMS:

Real estate and lease management As in property management software, real estate management modules give users a centralized database of information about buildings, such as size, value, condition, function, occupancy and maintenance costs. Create requests for proposal (RFPs) and manage the entire lifecycle of a building, from acquisition to disposal. Users can also manage leases or other important documentation.
Facilities management Facilities management features help users manage physical building space, equipment maintenance, portfolios and records of important data.
Maintenance management Where facilities management modules help users manage buildings, maintenance management tools help users manage assets—such as equipment and vehicles—with the goal of reducing maintenance costs and keeping assets at peak performance.
Capital project management These features help users track the status of large, long-term capital projects (for example, the construction of an apartment complex). This can include budgeting, inventory management, assigning tasks and roles to workers, document storage/sharing and invoicing.
Environmental sustainability Sustainability features can monitor and identify excessive usage of energy, water and other resources, and may include functionality to help bring a building within LEED certification standards.

Benefits of an Integrated Workplace Management System

The main goal of an IWMS is to provide the most useful features for facilities and real estate management within a single software platform. This translates into many other benefits, such as:

  • Centralizing information in a database. When using multiple systems to manage a workplace, transferring data quickly and accurately between them is a challenge, and can introduce human error. IWMS vendors solve this issue by sharing information across integrated modules automatically.
  • Optimizing space and resources. IWMS software can help organizations analyze their use of physical space, whether it’s an office, a manufacturing plant or a warehouse. Moving employees and assets around an existing office or into a new space (called a “churn”) can be costly, and software can help plan for future usage efficiently.
  • Reducing energy usage. By monitoring and analyzing the energy efficiency of a facility, organizations can identify cost-cutting opportunities that also reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.

Use Cases for an IWMS

An IWMS contains many applications, so it can be difficult to envision the exact situations in which the system adds value to an organization. Software Advice recently spoke with two IWMS experts to learn some useful ways this software benefits users:

  • Coordinating activities to avoid interruptions: Let’s say a company’s maintenance team uses a CMMS to plan preventive maintenance work orders, and its executive team has a separate calendar to reserve meeting rooms. With an IWMS, these schedules can be viewed by both groups so that planned maintenance on an air handler above a conference room will be performed before or after an important executive meeting.
  • Automate minor environmental adjustments: Employees work best when they’re comfortable, but it’s sometimes a hassle to find someone who can adjust the temperature quickly. A workplace that utilizes an IWMS can offer a simpler, faster way to make minor adjustments—employees can use their smartphone to report that a room is too cold through an online portal. If the system is setup to do so, it can shut off the air conditioning automatically, saving time and increasing workplace comfort.

Read our report to find more detailed information about the applications, benefits, stakeholders and use cases of an IWMS.

How Is It Priced?

IWMSs are priced through a monthly or annual subscription fee, or an upfront license fee. However, it’s important to note that most IWMSs are Web-based.

Pricing ModelDescriptionExamples
Subscription-based, “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)" or Web-based A monthly or annual fee, typically based on the number of users who access the system and/or the number of assets. However, some pricing models are based on square-footage. Manhattan IWMS, Planon Accelerator, iOffice IWMS
Perpetual license fee A one-time, per-user or per-computer fee. Some products allow multiple users on a single license, while others require an additional license for each user. Updates, support and training may be separate costs. IBM Tririga, ARCHIBUS IWMS
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