The idea behind an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is that it connects different business functions through one central enterprise-class database. Enterprise class refers to a system that can affect an organization as a whole.
Scope of an IWMS
For an IWMS, the enterprise class database will normally integrate:
- Management of real estate portfolios
- Asset management (maintenance, document control and analysis of capital budgets)
- Facilities and space management
- Project management
The purpose of an IWMS is to better manage assets, starting with the planning and acquisition process through retirement / replacement / disposal. Bringing these functional areas together under one umbrella allows organizations to avoid duplication and understand the implications of every decision within the organization.
Characteristics of an IWMS
A good IWMS has a flexible control platform that can provide both horizontal and vertical functionality, as well as the ability to interact with other business applications. In addition, an IWMS must be able to map the workflow, be scalable for the growing organization, and be able to provide useful reports to executives.
An IWMS is a great solution when there is an organizational need in more than one area. However, the ability of an IWMS to work with other business applications is very important when an organization needs a special need in a particular area.
This is because an IWMS generally does not have the detailed functionality of a specific business application. For example, a quality EAM system has better maintenance management features and better tools to revise work management history for capital budgeting of assets.
Another example is an automated maintenance management software (CMMS) program with a core function maintenance management through automated planning and asset tracking tools. The detailed maintenance history that a CMMS produces is critical to reducing labor, energy and repair costs. It is important that an IWMS can include CMMS or EAM data in the larger overall picture.
Why is an IWMS required?
Now that organizations have grown in size and complexity, it no longer makes sense financially to let functions like maintenance management, space planning, and corporate real estate work in their own world, unaware of the others.
Modern organizations may have business activities or assets spread around the world. The competitive nature of a global economy now requires organizations to have more control over controlling the operating costs of all assets (buildings, projects, space, equipment, etc.) throughout the asset lifecycle.
Thanks to technological advances, senior management has been able to capture asset data, collect and compare operating results, and make long-term planning decisions based on a more reasonable projected return on assets (ROA).
An IWMS assists senior management by:
- Roll up infrastructure information.
- Organizing business functionality under one umbrella
- Provide the ability to establish company-wide standard operating procedures
- Provide senior management with the tools they need to control operating costs and investments.
More importantly, an IWMS increases the visibility of asset management so that senior managers can recognize that good cost control and asset planning are essential to the survival of companies in the modern competitive world.