Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)

An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) is a software platform that helps organizations optimize the use of workplace resources, including the management of a company’s real estate portfolio, infrastructure and facilities assets.

IWMS technology is an advanced technology platform designed to help leading organizations manage their RE/FM and asset portfolio more effectively. IWMS solution are commonly packaged as a full integrated suite or as individual modules that can be scaled over time.

IWMS integrates five core functional areas within an enterprise which were organizationally and operationally independent and showed minimal interdisciplinary synergy, prior to the advent of IWMS:

This area involves activities associated with the acquisition (including purchase and lease), financial management and disposition of real property assets. Common IWMS features that support real estate management include strategic planning, transaction management, request for proposal (RFP) analysis, lease analysis, portfolio management po, tax management, lease management, and lease accounting.

This area involves activities associated with the design and development of new facilities and the remodeling or enhancement of existing facilities, including their reconfiguration and expansion. Common IWMS features that support capital project management include capital planning, design, funding, bidding, procurement, cost and resource management, project documentation and drawing management, scheduling, and critical path analysis.

This area covers activities related to the operation and optimized utilization of facilities. Common IWMS features that support facility management include strategic facilities planning (including scenario modeling and analysis), CAD and BIM integration, space management, site and employee service management, resource scheduling, and move management.

This area covers activities related to the corrective and preventive maintenance and operation of facilities and assets. Common IWMS features that support maintenance management include asset management, work requests, preventive maintenance, work order administration, warranty tracking, inventory management, vendor management and facility condition assessment.

This area covers activities related to the measurement and reduction of resource consumption (including energy and water) and waste production (including greenhouse gas emissions) within facilities. Common IWMS features that support sustainability and energy management include integration with building management systems (BMS), sustainability performance metrics, energy benchmarking, carbon emissions tracking, and energy efficiency project analysis.

IWMS components can be implemented in any order—or all together as a single, comprehensive implementation—according to the organization’s needs. As an implementation best practice, a phased approach for implementing IWMS components sequentially is advised—though a multi-function approach can still be followed. Each IWMS functional area requires the same steps for its implementation, though extra care, coordination and project management will be necessary to ensure smooth functioning for more complex implementations.

Adoption of as-shipped business processes included in the IWMS software over an organization’s existing business processes constitutes a “core success prerequisite and best practice” in the selection and implementation of IWMS software. As a result, organizations should limit configuration to all but the most compelling cases.

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

An annual Gartner Market Guide, formerly the IWMS Magic Quadrant (MQ) is posted on the IWMS market that evaluates vendors upon two criteria: ‘completeness of vision’ and ‘ability to execute’.

The original author, Michael Bell, first described IWMS software as “integrated enterprise solutions that span the life cycle of facilities asset management, from acquisition and operations to disposition.” In this first market definition, Gartner identified critical requirements of an IWMS, including a common database, advanced web services technologies and a system architecture that enabled user-defined workflow processes and customized portal interfaces.

Gartner released updated IWMS Market Guide reports, as follows:

The latest Gartner analysis was released August 21, 2018. The current Gartner analyst responsible for publication of the IWMS MQ is Carol Rozwell, Distinguished VP Analyst.

The future of IWMS

While the core functions of the IWMS remain critical, today’s leaders expect more. They need a cloud-based software platform that is built with the workplace experience at the center. It needs to have an exceptional user interface, allowing employees to access a variety of workplace services from a mobile app, kiosk or desktop. In the latest Verdantix research, 80% of executives considering IWMS software said the quality of the user interface was the most important factor influencing their decision.

The IWMS of the future should serve as a digital workplace concierge, allowing employees to find people, reserve rooms, request service and receive mail or visitors.