In real estate, mergers, acquisitions, rightsizing and re-organizations are quite common. So, how does a company take control of these actions and keep control once the proverbial dust has settled? Or, what can a company do to to help optimize the use of workplace resources, including the management of a company’s real estate portfolio, infrastructure and facilities assets. Most companies turn to various software platform solutions to help, one of which can be an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) product.

A typical IWMS is a modular custom software product configured to meet a company’s specific needs.  Examples of modules within an IWMS (as noted in the chart above) can be elements of: space planning, maintenance, project management, leasing and building sustainability. All of these modules will typically share a common database, which may or may not be tied to other software databases in the company, such as Finance, HR, Purchasing, and Operations, among others.

IWMS components can be implemented in any order, or all together as a single, comprehensive implementation depending on the company’s goals and objectives. Implementation can take well over a year to be configured and in place. However, the payoff is a much more streamlined and cost effective process for all your Real Estate and associated functions.

The 5 core areas within a typical IWMS:

  1. Corporate Real Estate Management
    • Strategic Planning
    • Transaction Management
    • Lease Management and Accounting
    • Portfolio Management
    • Tax Management
  2. Capital Project Management
    • Capital Planning
    • Design
    • Funding
    • Bidding
    • Procurement
    • Cost & Resource Management
    • Project Documentation
    • Scheduling
    • Critical Path Analysis
  3. Facilities & Space Management
    • Strategic Facilities Planning
    • CAD Integration
    • BIM Integration
    • Drawing Management
    • Space Management
    • Site Management
    • Employee Services Management
    • Resource Scheduling
    • Move Management
  4. Maintenance Management
    • Asset Management
    • Equipment Lifecycle Analysis & Management
    • Work Requests & Administration
    • Preventive Maintenance Management
    • Warranty Tracking
    • Inventory Management
    • Facility Condition Assessments
  5. Environmental Sustainability
    • Resource Consumption
    • Waste Production Analysis & Management
    • Energy Analysis & Management
    • Building Management Systems Integration
    • Performance Metrics

Implementing an IWMS will typically be completed in 4 phases:

  1. Needs Analysis
    • Preliminary Assessment
    • IWMS Opportunity Analysis
      • Resource Analysis
      • Data Requirements
      • Data and Access Flow
      • Training Requirements
      • Implementation Plan & Analysis Report
  2. Solutions Design
    • Systems Design
    • Standards Development
    • Software Personalization
    • IWMS Procedures Guide
  3. Implementation
    • Software Installation
    • Data Development &/or Integration
    • Report Production
    • User Training
  4. Post Implementation Support
    • Technical Support
    • Review & Evaluation
    • Systems Enhancements
    • Supplementary User Training

If your company is looking to implement an IWMS thorough research should be completed and the help of an experienced consultant is usually recommended.

For facilities managers, construction project managers and real estate portfolio managers, IWMS applications provide significant functionality to aid in meeting increased demands for improved facilities, equipment asset management, and reduced operations costs.

It is estimated that behind labor costs, facilities operations and real estate costs represent the second-largest annual cost. The ability for managers to effectively control costs and optimize investments is significantly enhanced via IWMS tools. These tools provide opportunities to fine-tune real estate investments to better meet corporate goals, improve maintenance labor yield by better scheduling, improved equipment warranty compliance by ensuring that maintenance meets warranty provisions and by ensuring that facilities best meet enterprise change in requirements.

IWMS growth will be positively affected by increasing demands for improved facility sustainability and cost containment initiatives. Facilities managers will be challenged to accomplish sustainability goals without the support of IWMS tool capabilities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Gartner 2009

Since 2004, the IWMS market has been reported on by independent firms Gartner Inc., IWMSconnect, and IWMSNews.