The idea behind an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is that it ties together several corporate functions using one enterprise class centralized database. Enterprise class refers to a system that can impact an organization as a whole.
Scope of an IWMS
For an IWMS,the enterprise class database will normally integrate:
- Real estate portfolio management
- Enterprise asset management (maintenance, document control and capital budget analysis)
- Facilities and space management
- Project management
The goal of an IWMS is to better manage assets beginning with the planning and acquisition process through retirement/replacement/disposal. By bringing these functional areas together under one umbrella, organizations are able to avoid a duplication of effort and understand the implications of each decision across the organization.
Features of an IWMS
A good IWMS will have a flexible operating platform capable of both horizontal and vertical functionality as well as the ability to interface with other enterprise applications. In addition, an IWMS should be able to map out workflow, be scalable to 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 enterprise applications is very important when an organization requires has a special need in a particular area.
This is because an IWMS will generally not have the detailed functionality of a specific enterprise application. For example: a quality EAM system will have better maintenance management features and better tools to review work management history for capital budgeting of assets.
Another example is a computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) program whose core function is maintenance management through automated scheduling and asset tracking tools. The detailed maintenance history a CMMS produces is critical for lowering labor, energy and repair expenses. It is important that an IWMS can incorporate CMMS or EAM data into the greater overall picture.
Why is there a need for an IWMS
As organizations have grown in size and complexity, it no longer makes good financial sense to have functions such as maintenance management, space planning and managing corporate real estate operate in their own worlds oblivious to the other.
Modern organizations may have business operations or assets spread across the globe. The competitive nature of a global economy now require that organizations have greater control on managing operational costs of all assets (buildings, projects, space, equipment, etc.) through the entire lifecycle of assets.
Advancements in technology have enabled senior management to capture asset data, collect and compare operating results and to make long-term planning decisions based upon more reasonable projected Return on Assets (ROA).
An IWMS helps senior management by:
- Rolling up infrastructure information.
- Organizing operations functionality under one umbrella
- Enabling the ability to establish enterprise wide standard operating procedures.
- Giving senior management the tools they need to control operational costs and investments.
More importantly, an IWMS increases the visibility of asset management so that senior managers can recognize that good cost controls and asset planning are critical to business survival in the modern competitive world.