With more than 200 vendors in the facilities management software landscape, this market can be difficult to navigate. Vendors use different terms to describe software functionality similar to computer-aided facility management (CAFM), including computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), enterprise asset management (EAM) and integrated workplace management systems (IWMS). We wrote this guide to help buyers through the selection process.
HippoFM offers CAD mapping tools to track assets and maintenance requests
Here’s what we’ll cover:
In general, facility management software is designed to perform the following functions:
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as the “practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of the organization.” This encompasses a range of activities, from portfolio forecasting to equipment maintenance and space planning.
A well-implemented system will help companies reduce the costs of maintaining their facilities, improve the flow of information across departments and boost operational efficiencies. Common applications found in CAFM include:
|Maintenance management||Allows organizations to create and track work orders for maintenance activities. All building maintenance software offers some type of maintenance application, which is sometimes called work order software. Some systems offer facility condition assessment, which helps organizations evaluate the physical condition of their buildings and preventive maintenance, which automates routine tasks. This is similar to CMMS, but CMMS providers offer more sophisticated maintenance applications than those found in facilities maintenance software.|
|Asset management||Tracks and manages an organization’s assets—where they’re located, which departments use them, their frequency of use and when they need to be repaired or replaced. This helps organizations understand how to optimize the use and placement of assets, which reduces capital expenditures.|
|Space management||Helps organizations optimize the physical space in their buildings. It provides holistic and real-time information outlining how a space is used, which assets and personnel are in that space, and how they’re arranged. This helps avoid leasing or purchasing additional, unnecessary space. Many space tracking applications integrate with CAD or BIM files so users can view the information in a floor plan rather than a data sheet.|
|Move management||Supports organizations in keeping moving costs down by identifying the most efficient and least disruptive moving process. This plays a simple but important role—especially for organizations with hundreds or thousands of employees and assets. This software tracks the move schedule, costs and any related documents, like move requests and approvals. It integrates with space tracking, HR and asset tracking applications so that move liaisons can check availability of space, move the right employees and make sure their assets arrive on time.|
|Capital project & program management||Helps organizations manage capital construction projects. It allows them to track key business processes and project information throughout all stages of a building’s life cycle, from pre-construction to operations and maintenance. Most systems offer a large set of applications which can include managing funds, bid and procurement, scheduling, document storage and resource management.|
|Lease administration||Provides a central repository for tracking important lease documents and information. This helps organizations reduce data errors, avoid costly penalties and accelerate data entry by automating lease tracking processes. It’s especially helpful for organizations that manage a large lease portfolio and that track varying lease expiration dates and tenancy terms.|
|Real estate portfolio management||Tracks everything from square footage to building cost performance and leased versus owned space. Having a single place to track this information reduces administrative costs and helps companies maintain up-to-date information about their properties. In addition, portfolio forecasting tools help organizations predict their future space needs and occupancy costs. These tools assess historical data, and allow users to test “what-if” scenarios to make accurate predictions. Finally, companies can use reporting and analysis tools to analyze portfolio financial data and performance, then compare it with key performance indicators or industry benchmarks in order to find ways to reduce costs.|
|Environmental sustainability & energy performance analysis||Helps organizations monitor and reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint. With more and more organizations seeking LEED certification, energy performance tools are the latest addition to facility management systems. Many solutions have monitoring, reporting and forecasting capabilities. Monitoring tools track how much energy and water is used in an area of a building, and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions or other types of waste the building produces. Reporting and analytics tools aggregate this information so that facility managers can identify consumption trends and make informed business decisions. Forecasting tools help organizations understand the financial impact of sustainability projects (e.g., “green” renovations). These features help save energy costs over time. Additionally, there are best-of-breed environmental, health and safety (EHS) management systems that specialize this type of functionality.|
Infor is an example of a vendor that offers energy performance dashboards
Reduce “churn” rates and the expenses associated with managing space poorly. Moving is expensive, particularly if an organization lacks formal planning surrounding its moves. Churns—the process of moving employees and assets—require both downtime and investment, which can be significantly reduced by utilizing CAFM applications.
Extend asset lifespans. An attentive maintenance program extends the lifespan of assets while minimizing the total cost of ownership. Reactive maintenance is costly, results in unplanned downtime and can create an unsafe work environment. Developing a rigid asset upkeep schedule ensures that assets perform at their peak while maintaining a smooth operational schedule and employee safety—all without unexpected costs due to equipment failure.
Reduce energy-related expenses. Some organizations are taking a look at their energy performance for the first time. Reporting dashboards calculate total energy consumption while helping to identify operational inefficiencies. This kind of analysis demonstrates how an organization is performing and where there’s room for improvement, while encouraging sustainable behavior among a building’s occupants. Organizations can often see an immediate savings in energy-related costs by implementing environmental performance dashboards.
New standards force new lease reporting for facilities. The U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board recently updated its accounting standards to require companies to report lease expenses on balance and income statements by 2019, instead of simply as footnotes in financial statements. Companies with large lease obligations (i.e. those with several facilities to manage) must now fully report these leases on balance sheets.
Computer energy use increased in educational facilities. Computers are now used in about 92 percent of educational buildings; an increase of 89 percent since 2003, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This creates a new challenge for facilities professionals to optimize energy usage and manage costs.
Strong commercial real estate demand continues. The CBRE Group reports that the U.S. commercial real estate market continues to show healthy demand for various property types, such as offices, industrial facilities, retail and multifamily housing. CBRE’s chief economist notes that this slow, steady balance between supply and demand is an indicator of market health.
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