Integrated Workplace Management Systems​

Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Introduction

Significance of Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Integrated workplace management software assumes great significance in the present business environment full of flux. Offices are changing, business processes are changing, and so are the methods and tools to bring about digital transformation in offices and companies around the world. With the waning pandemic adding a new dimension of enterprise business mobility and business continuity with reference to the seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s offices, workplaces and buildings hosting such operating entities need a totally modern approach, building on the opportunities we have and shunning the follies of the classical system of work and office culture, that limited mobility and encouraged inefficiencies that in addition to other detrimental impacts, encouraged the exploitation of all types of resources and major negative impact on the environment.

In this context, it becomes paramount to have an integrated approach in the management of such facilities, making them equipped with first-class services and equipment, that help the managers of such facilities to entail the best service, and this approach has many high level benefits. The implementation of such services encourage to provide a good working environment to the workforce working in such buildings, making them comfortable and in other words, efficient and productive, that help to give a thrust to the production being carried out in such enterprises, and also give a competitive advantages to the owners and facility managers handling such buildings/facilities.

On the other hand, there are technical benefits to consider while using an integrated workplace management system in corporate buildings, facilities related to critical public infrastructure, institutional buildings like public government offices, and universities & colleges. All such types of facilities generate tons of data that needs to be processed to generate the relevant information that can be used to make the system better. However, much more important than that is to ensure that all such critical building systems and components employed in an integrated workplace management system are consolidated/integrated in one centralized platform that gives a smooth and a seamless cover to their operations, making them resilient to an ever changing business environment and accelerated changing external environment, like the pandemic, and make them functioning under crisis situations so as to ensure business continuity.

Focus of the Article

In this detailed article, we shall explore the integrated workplace management systems and how this consolidated platform helps businesses and companies to thrive under a constrained environment characterized by major upheavals in the economic and the social environment, in addition to the business environment in which they operate, and assume the form of an efficient, sustainable, economically viable entity in the form of an integrated workplace management system.

Workplace Management Definition

Difference Between Workplace Management And Integrated Workplace Management

Workplace management definition, as described in the introductory section of this article, presents a conducive environment for the employees working in the corporate offices of various businesses/companies and lets them work in a comfortable environment, giving direct benefits such as a productive and an efficient implementation of their set business processes and systems and also enables the field staff to have a ‘field’ day on-site, efficiently executing all their designated tasks efficiently and effectively.

This has spin-off benefits for the management of companies where workplace management is implemented. Benefits like increased employee engagement, productivity, loyalty, increased brand recognition, etc. are significant. On the other hand, the agencies imparting such services to corporates in such facilities/buildings also are important stakeholders in this picture.

Facilities Management Companies and Critical Building Systems

Such agencies in the form of facility management companies in turn take care of such buildings, which can be corporate buildings, gated communities where essential services are provided by such facility management companies, institutional buildings, government buildings, and others. Such staff of facility management companies are deployed indoors and on-field, to execute such critical functions. Such building services bring out the best in the workplace facilities and resources, giving a definitive edge to facilities management companies implementing such digital transformation initiatives.

Integrating Building Critical Systems Under One Service Umbrella

Critical building infrastructure related to mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection, among others are maintained under one umbrella system, and this forms the very basis of the integrated workplace management system. Instead of being disjoint and acting as silos, such critical building services and the associated business processes need to be integrated under one service umbrella so that the execution of these systems becomes seamless and in sync with the overall business goals of the facility management companies executing it. This is what integrated workplace management is all about and is the main difference between workplace management and integrated workplace management.

IWMS vis-a-vis with a CAFM

As compared with a computer assisted facility management (CAFM), an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) stands out in various aspects in the form of workspace management services. A natural question may arise from the readers of this article, and those looking at the fine print are surely going to ask the difference between the two. Let us now explore how IWMS is different from a CAFM.

Venn Diagram Citing IWMS

A universal set for CAFM and IWMS is the same and is concerned with the maintenance of the ambient environment in any facility that leads to its optimal functioning. A CAFM and IWMS are the subsets of this term, where CAMF is typically concerning with the maintenance of the equipments and systems associated with critical building components and also concerning with the space management functions, making the workspaces in their prime conditions using proper asset management systems associated with such functions.

On the other hand, an integrated workplace management system is a more diverse and consolidated system that supports the wider components, primarily related to real estate management, and include other components that are critical to manage any building or facility in a prime condition. Some of such components giving rise to an integrated work system include:

 

  • Energy metering systems
  • Green building systems and components
  • HVAC systems
  • Water supply system
  • Drainage systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Fire fighting systems

Note: The list is not exhaustive

In addition, it may be noted that a CAFM system is primarily web-based and may or may not have components/modules that can be deployed on a smartphone. The main focus of any CAFM system is web-based software that helps to assist facility management operations in a planned and systematic manner. On the contrary, an IWMS is necessarily focusing both on a web-based interface system and also necessarily has components and modules that are deployable on the smartphones. These modules also are different from each other, being used for the purpose from the list mentioned above.

Thus, it can be inferred that an IWMS is a more refined and evolved version in the realm of facility management, with its foundation laying on a CAFM, and building upon these systems to roll out an efficient and systematic IWMS for facilities.

Applications of IWMS

Applications of IWMS

Applications of IWMS are extensive and varied; we shall be dealing with a host of industries in which IWMS is applied in the later part of this article. The purpose of introducing these applications in a concise form in this part of the article is to help the reader get acquainted with the context and clarity associated with this sector and the type of applications it entails.

Majorly, the applications of an integrated workplace management system is concentrated with the real estate management of a number of clusters of multistoried buildings with a group of large real estate. These buildings may be both private and public in their nature and applications and can host a varied group of companies associated with different industrial sectors, ranging from manufacturing to IT.

Public Sector Applications

As far as the public sector is concerned, the main area concerning an IWMS is the capital project management, where large scale public infrastructure is maintained with the help of integrated facilities management solutions. This includes the construction of various public buildings like metro stations, industries concerning different applications such as manufacturing and IT components, and entities like government offices, schools, universities, and the like.

Not only in their construction, an IWMS software helps staff deployed to maintain such critical infrastructure to have enterprise style mobility solutions so that they can enable on the go services, also the managers and supervisors of such staff have on the go monitoring capabilities and enhanced visibility and to ensure that critical building components are functioning properly as per their requirements.

Private Sector Applications

In private sector applications, the main thrust area is real estate management. Subsets of this realm are space management and the like. Building owners and real estate managers get clearer visibility about the occupancy levels of buildings, make necessary adjustments to their building projects by ensuring that spaces are created as per the prevalent market conditions and also ensure that whatever spaces are occupied by their clients, are duly maintained and get the necessary infrastructure to make them function under optimal conditions.

In this context, there are five main sectors, where the IWMS software is deployed in buildings. They are dealt with in the subsequent sections.

Pillar 1- Space and Facilities Management

Facilities Management Component

This principal component of an integrated work management system consists of space and facilities management. The facilities management component is altogether taken care of by the CAFM applications that provide a centralized interface between different components of the building sub-systems. These include application software such as predictive maintenance apps, work order management apps, project management apps, incident management apps, task scheduling and business process workflows, reporting apps, and many more.

Helpdesk Management Application

Such upgraded and advanced facilities management gives an array of touchpoints through which the occupants and users of such buildings can put across their service requests through various touchpoints. This can be in the form of a helpdesk management application which empowers users to record their service requests on the go and facility managers can assign the related technician to satisfy the user request with a high quality and timely resolution. This type of help desk management software also helps facility management companies to assign raised tickets automatically to available and qualified technicians and the service staff deployed can give an excellent service based on such set business processes.

Helpdesk Application IWMS

Space Management Component

The space planning/management component of an integrated workplace management system has already been introduced in the previous chapter. To explain it in greater detail, this component of integrated workspace management includes the following points:

 

  • Workspace management, detailed out at the beginning of this chapter and its comparison with integrated workplace management systems. Workplace management also entails tracking the quantum of space availability in any building/facility. It is also concerned with layouts of space utilization, occupancy levels and the optimal allocation of occupied space to facility management vendors/professionals.
  • Location intelligence solutions in a way that relocation of assets, both live and inanimate across their facilities/buildings in such manner that optimal space utilization happens, there is minimal disruption to the staff and equipment that is relocated for vital business continuity.
  • Space allocation estimation solutions that help real estate professionals or facility managers to estimate the cost of each unit of space or even the estimating the cost of installing different types of equipment and services for optimal functionality and encouraging environmental sustainability of such buildings.
Space Management Component

Pillar 2- Real Estate Management and Lease Accounting

Regulatory standards play a major role in areas like real estate and decision makers operating such facilities need to adhere to such mandates and regulations to make sure their business is compliant to reduce and eliminate the risk of any adverse impact on their businesses. These compliances form a strict code of listings that include real estate regulations, and also the way such buildings and the associated buildings and its subsystems are managed. The real estate managers, facility managers, owners of such building clusters, and various other stakeholders invest a significant amount of time and other resources in making their buildings compliant with such regulations. These regulations may be in the form of codes, laws, and other ordinances that come up from time to time as per the changing business environment.

Building Codes and Lease Accounting

The real estate management and lease accounting solutions coming under the ambit of the integrated workplace management system play this role. By facilitating the vetting of building projects, selections of qualified staff and vendors that supply critical material and equipment to such entities, and the application of various building codes, such as the fire safety code also come under the ambit of integrated workplace management systems.

Lease accounting entails the contract management of such kind of building clusters, both public and private, and manages the entire system of such leases, in the form of centralized databases about the list of codes to be complied with, the parties involved, and the type of leases that the building owners and key stakeholders have entered with the various concerned parties. This realm of lease accounting also includes aspects such as strategic planning for new building clusters and public infrastructure, portfolio management, tax management and others, leading to a enterprise suite of apps that especially caters to large behemoth corporates, and all entities which are in need of such solutions.

Pillar 3- Maintenance Management

Robust Building Subsystems Originate from an Effective Maintenance Management

The ultimate aim of any maintenance management system in the realm of integrated workplace management solutions is to reduce the time taken to conduct predictive or preventive maintenance tasks, reduce the inputs of capital, and reduce the inputs of labor in carrying out such core activities. Collectively coming under the ambit of facilities management, the timely and effective management of building/s is absolutely essential for all kinds of projects, on which the success or failure of such entities depend.

CAPAs

The areas which maintenance management cover also include CAPA’s (corrective and preventive actions) use case as well which maintain in prime condition the associated building components and subsystems as discussed in the earlier part of this article. Corrective actions and preventive actions include designing intelligent workplace systems that help in the implementation of such corrective and preventive actions. We have not yet discussed the importance of collecting accurate data from the deployment of such a comprehensive integrated workplace management system and processing the collected data into intelligence that give companies a leading edge over their competitors. This forms the backbone of any integrated workplace management system as the supply of actionable intelligence in the form of collated and analyzed info is the part of any digital solution.

CAPA IWMS

IWMS vs. CMMS

The simple difference between an IWMS and a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is in the scope of the software applications and where it is deployed. If you just seek the maintenance of your facilities and the streamlining of building maintenance operations, a CMMS is the software you can opt for. However, if you want an integrated platform, a software that is spanning different domains ranging from space management to real estate, you need a much more comprehensive software solution in the form of an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

Vendor Management & Inventory Management

Besides CAPAs, vendor management and inventory management components among others also play an important role in any maintenance management system. The vendor management component ensures that critical materials and equipment required for the maintenance of building/s are sourced from trusted and dependable suppliers. In addition, inventory management solutions ensure that adequate stock levels are maintained, and maintenance of critical building components are not hampered due to out of stock products and materials.

Continuous Learning

All these components and sub-components of any building maintenance management systems need to implement and refine continuous learning processes that are used to refine and enhance the system as per the evolving business needs. One needs to keep in mind the fact that continuous learning processes are a part of any system and are not just restricted just to building maintenance management systems.

Pillar 4- Capital Project Management

The Internal and External Shell of Buildings

Till now, we have been exploring the ‘internal shell’ of any facility/building, which consists of the various critical building systems like water supply, fire fighting, HVAC, etc. However, we should also keep in mind that all these critical systems also consist of an ‘outer shell’ from where these services are sourced. For example, these services include the water supply network, which sources the water from the source (a reservoir for instance), the subsquenting filtering and purification systems, and the mains network which brings the water to the doorstep of the building.

External Shell of Buildings Plays a Key Role in Integrated Workplace Management System

Along with such services, where the ‘internal shell’ serves as the front-end, there is also an ‘external shell’, that serves as the back-end, where the external facade of the building itself is the outer shell which needs to be considered, both from a functional and aesthetic point of view. In this context, real estate managers, building owners, facility managers, and all direct and indirect stakeholders need to ensure that the capital project management plays a primary role in the realization of their desirable outcomes which they have planned.

Hence, the location, construction, project management involving construction, and the actual building itself plays a key role in making a viable project from an economic point of view. In addition, the actual inhabitants of such facilities, in both public and private buildings, get an upper hand as everything is optimized as per their preferences and keeping in mind their comfort and optimal performance levels.

Capital Project Management

Availability of a Clean Slate is Not Possible Most of the Times

In such a situation, it becomes necessary to consider aspects like the evaluation of spaces, proper planning of both the external and internal shell of the buildings, and also a refined understanding of the existing building infrastructure to make successful attempts to transform the currently existing buildings to their optimal functioning, since getting a clean slate is not possible most of the time.

Other Important Attributes of Capital Project Management

Other important attributes associated with the capital project management include:

 

  • Capital Planning
  • Procurement Management
  • Cost and Resource Management
  • Construction Project Management
  • Documentation Management
  • Critical Path Analysis

Pillar 5- Sustainability and Energy Management

After considering the inner shell and the outer shell of buildings/facilities, we now consider how the integrated platform under the ambit of integrated workplace management system combines to form one singular entity where the building as a whole functions in an environment friendly manner, consuming less amount of energy, minimal and optimal use of resources, and its behavior as an entity which is sustainable in its operations and its function as a green building.

Green Buildings are Going to Proliferate Exponentially

Green buildings presently have stringent emission norms and must reduce the carbon footprint in a manner through which it can consume optimal resources without compromising on the level of quality and ambient life conditions therein, and not at the cost of causing discomfort to the users of such buildings.

This is where the latest addition of sustainability and energy maintenance and management in the realm of integrated workplace management systems comes into the picture. The emergency of the ‘digital economy’, connected workplaces, enterprise mobility, the aftermath of the pandemic and the ensuing great lockdown, and the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution have been serving as the defining moments in the emergence of the green revolution in construction, where the other pillar of IWMS in the form of facilities project management software gel together in the formation of the intelligent buildings. The intelligent buildings, with a much lesser carbon footprint serve as beacons for the future developments in this sector, where such kinds of buildings are going to be the norm rather than an exception throughout the world.

Green Buildings with Reduced Carbon Footprint Graphic

Emergence of Intelligent Buildings and IWMS

In this context, the emergence of green buildings forged strong partnerships with the implementation guidelines for a robust IWMS system. In intelligent buildings, everything is connected, in the form of sensors and systems of the critical components of buildings. So, the energy meters measuring the consumption of electricity, water meters measuring the consumption of water, HVAC systems ensuring that ambient conditions are not compromised in any situation, and many others, face a strong correlation with each other, and being integrated under a common system, of which the IWMS plays an important role.

IWMS Financial Benefits

Till now, we have discussed how the multi-pronged benefits of implementing an IWMS system can have a positive impact on companies which are host to the building/s in which such companies operate.

Being a Financially Viable Entity is Paramount for Any Kind of Business

Along with such benefits, which are both tangible and intangible, one benefit stands out as it forms the very premise on which the companies operate. An established fact is that companies operate to become financially viable entities, both in the public sector and the private sector, both in corporates and in non-profits. So, any entity operating out of such sectors need to consider their operations from the financial point of view as well, so as to be independent to an extent from the flux in their business environment, and getting a positive bottomline is important for such entities.

Implementing an IWMS system is an important aspect from such a perspective, and it plays a major role for companies to attain high level financial benefits. These benefits are:

 

  • Increased productivity of workers
  • Increased engagement of workers
  • Equipment working efficiently
  • Less consumption of resources
  • Less consumption of energy and other scarce resources
  • Reducing carbon footprint and thereby earning financial benefits
  • Optimal occupancy levels for real estate managers
  • Good rental value of properties

Note: The list is not exhaustive

Benefits for Companies Implementing an IWMS

Facility management companies implementing an integrated workplace management system also gain a bunch of financial benefits, such as:

 

  • Increased brand recognition leading to their consolidation in the market
  • Increased engagement levels of field workers leading to smoother operations and thereby a positive bottom line
  • Increased client retention leading to increased profits
  • Increased client satisfaction levels leading to a positive sentiment and thereby increasing their exposure levels and market presence
  • Minimal use of resources which leads to an efficient working environment for FM companies

What Industries use IWMS?

IWMS is a Horizontal Product

There is a huge market for an integrated workplace management system in every industry and the scope is not just limited to corporates or the public sector or institutional entities like universities or government buildings. We must take into account the fact that an IWMS is a horizontal product in its entirety. A horizontal product caters to different industries and performs the same function, such as opposed to a vertical product that has its clients that are operating in the same industry, thereby limiting the scope of a vertical product to a single industry.

From the above graphic we can see that as a horizontal product, an integrated workplace management system has applications in any industry and those who are willing to implement digital transformation initiatives to their business operations, where an IWMS can be deployed as a main module or as a sub-module of facility management software applications.

Effective Deployment of IWMS is the Key

What is really pertinent is to consider that merely the deployment of an IWMS is not enough, but the mobile applications module that are deployed need to be effective at the workplaces, ensuing employee comfort and making sure that the facility management staff of any level is comfortable with completing their tasks efficiently and productively by using the IWMS software. This shall be dealt with in detail in the succeeding section.

How IWMS Helps Create a More Engaging Workplace

An IWMS Always Pays Rich Dividends if Implemented Correctly

Companies that decide to implement an IWMS reap manifold benefits that have been discussed in the preceding sections. Moreover, companies also reap one huge benefit that is worth mentioning here is the increased employee engagement and worker satisfaction that leads to strengthen the brand of any organization, and whatever the size of the organization, be it an enterprise level company, a large public sector behemoth, or a bootstrap company, an effective IWMS always pays off with rich dividends if implemented correctly as a part and parcel of their digital transformation initiative.

IWMS is used by:

  • High level company management
  • Key decision makers
  • Key stakeholders in the company
  • Managerial Level staff
  • Executive Level staff
  • Field level staff
IWMS is used by

Irrespective of the hierarchy of the organization being flat (plain) or pyramidal, an IWMS plays a constructive role in making the job of any level of worker easier, better and more productive. The IWMS software also helps to integrate the different tools and applications that are implemented to achieve an integrated approach in not just workplace management, but also with the overall digital transformation initiatives that are implemented in tandem with the said IWMS applications.

Taking the workforce of an organization into confidence is the key to this successful implementation as a refined and sophisticated IWMS system is the key in generating the right kind of engagement levels that help the employees to be a part of the decision making process, giving the digital transformation initiatives the much needed transparency and accountability, due to which organizations face less adopting issues, minimal training times in deploying and IWMS and other digital transformation modules and also help organizations in reaching the much sought after common vision and mission pre decided.

IWMS Magic Quadrant

Axonator's IWMS Magic Quadrant

Where Does Axonator Stand in the Quad?

Axonator, as per our interpretation, stands at the origin of the “Quad’, with the four possibilities/positions of the intermingling of the x and y axis resulting into a center point, from which all possibilities arise, and Axonator micro app no code platform is equidistant from all these four attributes, having potential in each of them, and reaching out and meeting all the requirements, so that a superior product takes shape and is easily available to everyone in the micro apps market, along with affordability and a superior service.

Axonator is lying at the origin of the Quadrant, where the X-Axis represents the degree of simplicity, while the Y-Axis represents the range of cost from high to low.

Implementation Planning of IWMS Software

Following steps are needed for implementing IWMS app or software in your organization:

Implementation Planning of IWMS Software

Step 1: Set Clear Goals

  • Get clarity about the goals you intend to achieve while planning to implement a IWMS software. Since a number of companies are offering the IWMS app in one form or the other, you should be careful in choosing the right kind of software that fits your needs and not the other way around.

Step 2: Assess Your Current System

  • Assess your current system. Are you having a system that can be upgraded instead of implementing an entirely new digital transformation initiative in the form of an IWMS software? Are you ready for changing your core business processes in this regard? Is the staff taken into consideration and confidence? Are training timelines (if any) figured out? Is the decision making process clearly defined?

Step 3: Choose the Right IWMS Application and Implement

  • After this, you choose the right IWMS application based on your budget and your specific needs. You need to clearly demarcate the kind of resource consumption that you have to incur to bring about the success of this digital transformation initiative in the form of an IWMS app. Human resources and capital requirements should also be estimated in advance.

Step 4: Be Ready for Change

  • At this juncture, you are now ready to implement the IWMS systems in your organization. You should take your workforce into consideration, explain them the benefits along with the change in your business processes resultant of the implementation of the IWMS app.

Step 5: Implement Continuous Learning

  • This step is for measuring the impact of the IWMS systems you have implemented in your organization. From the learnings therefrom, you need to make tweaks (if any) and also implement continuous improvement processes to refine the system further.

What Will Happen To My Business If I Implement IWMS?

  • A holistic way to improve organizational work culture
  • A future ready workplace at your disposal
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Systemic processes in tandem with other digital transformation measures
  • Streamlined helpdesk management
  • Easily raise service tickets on the go
  • Mobile IWMS apps for your every need
  • Timely resolution of your service requests
  • Increased efficiency of your helpdesk management staff
  • Enhanced space planning
  • Enhanced space visibility
  • Making buildings green and sustainable
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Safeguarding the health and welfare of building occupants including the service staff
  • Easily implementing the concept of ‘intelligent buildings’
  • Reducing building maintenance costs
  • Increased productivity and efficiency of people getting benefitted by IWMS
  • Proper implementation of systematic building maintenance tasks
  • Robust capital management
  • Lease space as per your forecast plans
  • Great in ROI
  • Enhanced profits, positive bottomline
  • Better and faster decision making
  • A definite edge vis-a-vis your competitors
  • Great addition to your digital transformation initiatives
  • Enables continuous learning from real-time data collated into valuable information

Note: The list is not exhaustive

Future of IWMS

Primitive Technologies Employing Punch Cards Computing for Implementation of IWMS

Integrated workplace management systems have evolved from employing primitive software and systems in the early 1990s to sleek, sophisticated, and cutting edge customizable applications powering the digital transformation of companies. Presently, cloud based features employing micro app with no code or low code technologies are used that centralize all the functionalities so that a consolidated solution is deployed, increasing the productivity and efficiency of employees.

Emergence of 4IR and the Internet of Things

Presently and in the future, as workplaces need to model themselves for the ‘new normal’ and the accelerated tech revolution with the emergence of 4IR, the current apps and applications in the near future employing IWMS need to focus on providing seamless connectivity to their users and advanced features that integrate all critical components of the IWMS app in mobile as well as web-based systems, with effortless connectivity with the Internet of Things so that a comprehensive solution comes to the fore, deploying a highly advanced solution that is simple to use and yet powerful enough to materialize a positive change in both the bottom line and the employee morale.

Intelligent Buildings Will Play a Vital Role in Future of IWMS

Intelligent-Buildings-and-IWMS

With the implementation of the Paris Climate Accord, the scope and the number of ‘intelligent buildings’ is going to exponentially increase the world over. An intelligent building has sensors everywhere, and each component of an intelligent building is contributing to the vast pool of data being collected and collated for tasks like predictive maintenance, implementation of IWMS components, and for transforming the building structure into a sustainable and a green building. With the advent of such path-breaking trends, including the attempts for creating ambient hubs exercising climate control, the implementation of IWMS is going to be more and more integrated with sustainable building solutions, with energy management at its core.

Why Axonator IWMS is Different

At this juncture, after introducing the Axonator no code micro app platform with immense power and capabilities to usher in enterprise level mobility in all types and sizes of organizations in the quadrant, we now explore how Axonator no code platform is different from other similar platforms, and how attractive this solution is as compared to its competitors, considering the aspects of qualified workforce employed to make such solutions for organizations, and the comparative pricing that this platform charges, which gives a same output as compared to its competitors.

Talking specifically about enterprise mobility, the motto of Axonator is ‘the world on mobile’ and it is working in full force to achieve this highly significant milestone. We are giving the opportunity to companies of all sizes, operating in any sector to reap the benefits of enterprise mobility, a functionality that was just available to the select club of companies typically enterprise size with profits running in billions of dollars.

For the Big Fish, Enterprise Mobility is an Afterthought

In this context, Axonator no code micro app platform becomes a natural choice for companies to implement an IWMS system since their apps are highly flexible and customizable, with a robust app architecture and can be operated ‘on the go’, with greater flexibility and a much smarter response to the current 4IR, that is changing the world dramatically. What sets Axonator apart from its competitors is that their apps are not hard coded, and are specifically designed to suit the business needs of organizations where it is deployed, rather than the business fitting to the whims and fancies of the highly inefficient micro apps, for whom enterprise mobility is ‘just an afterthought’.

Enterprise Mobility Axonator Attracted to Companies No Code Platform

Core Focus of Axonator is to Bring ‘the World on Mobile’

Get More for Less

As emphasized in the preceding section of this article, the overarching focus of Axonator is to bring ‘the world on mobile’. Accordingly, we have created a zero code micro app platform that gives its users enterprise mobility features in their apps at the cost that is many times lesser than their dominant counterparts, with functionalities that are more than or at the most equal to the ones they offer. Accordingly, our no-code platform is being used by leading facility management companies of the world, with growing opportunities in the US, Middle East and India.

Choose the Path of a High Growth Trajectory

An IWMS application is highly customizable and everything is customer-centric on your zero code micro app platform. Based on the size and operations of your company, and also depending on the complexity of your business operations, you can make your own apps, or purchase ‘off the shelf’ readily deployable Axonator apps that can significantly impact your operations and give you the much needed thrust to your business. The Axonator IWMS app is just one major component of our app suite. We offer zero code micro apps for every application and industry imaginable, and transform the journey of your company’s digital transformation journey to a high growth trajectory.

Components of IWMS
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Axonator's Integrated Workplace Management System Solutions

Integrated Workplace Management Systems​

Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Introduction

Significance of Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Integrated workplace management software assumes great significance in the present business environment full of flux. Offices are changing, business processes are changing, and so are the methods and tools to bring about digital transformation in offices and companies around the world. With the waning pandemic adding a new dimension of enterprise business mobility and business continuity with reference to the seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s offices, workplaces and buildings hosting such operating entities need a totally modern approach, building on the opportunities we have and shunning the follies of the classical system of work and office culture, that limited mobility and encouraged inefficiencies that in addition to other detrimental impacts, encouraged the exploitation of all types of resources and major negative impact on the environment.

 

In this context, it becomes paramount to have an integrated approach in the management of such facilities, making them equipped with first-class services and equipment, that help the managers of such facilities to entail the best service, and this approach has many high level benefits. The implementation of such services encourage to provide a good working environment to the workforce working in such buildings, making them comfortable and in other words, efficient and productive, that help to give a thrust to the production being carried out in such enterprises, and also give a competitive advantages to the owners and facility managers handling such buildings/facilities.

 

On the other hand, there are technical benefits to consider while using an integrated workplace management system in corporate buildings, facilities related to critical public infrastructure, institutional buildings like public government offices, and universities & colleges. All such types of facilities generate tons of data that needs to be processed to generate the relevant information that can be used to make the system better. However, much more important than that is to ensure that all such critical building systems and components employed in an integrated workplace management system are consolidated/integrated in one centralized platform that gives a smooth and a seamless cover to their operations, making them resilient to an ever changing business environment and accelerated changing external environment, like the pandemic, and make them functioning under crisis situations so as to ensure business continuity.

 

Focus of the Article

In this detailed article, we shall explore the integrated workplace management systems and how this consolidated platform helps businesses and companies to thrive under a constrained environment characterized by major upheavals in the economic and the social environment, in addition to the business environment in which they operate, and assume the form of an efficient, sustainable, economically viable entity in the form of an integrated workplace management system.

Workplace Management Definition

Facilities Management Companies and Critical Building Systems

Such agencies in the form of facility management companies in turn take care of such buildings, which can be corporate buildings, gated communities where essential services are provided by such facility management companies, institutional buildings, government buildings, and others. Such staff of facility management companies are deployed indoors and on-field, to execute such critical functions. Such building services bring out the best in the workplace facilities and resources, giving a definitive edge to facilities management companies implementing such digital transformation initiatives.

 

Integrating Building Critical Systems Under One Service Umbrella

Critical building infrastructure related to mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection, among others are maintained under one umbrella system, and this forms the very basis of the integrated workplace management system. Instead of being disjoint and acting as silos, such critical building services and the associated business processes need to be integrated under one service umbrella so that the execution of these systems becomes seamless and in sync with the overall business goals of the facility management companies executing it. This is what integrated workplace management is all about and is the main difference between workplace management and integrated workplace management.

Difference Between Workplace Management And Integrated Workplace Management

Workplace management definition, as described in the introductory section of this article, presents a conducive environment for the employees working in the corporate offices of various businesses/companies and lets them work in a comfortable environment, giving direct benefits such as a productive and an efficient implementation of their set business processes and systems and also enables the field staff to have a ‘field’ day on-site, efficiently executing all their designated tasks efficiently and effectively.

 

This has spin-off benefits for the management of companies where workplace management is implemented. Benefits like increased employee engagement, productivity, loyalty, increased brand recognition, etc. are significant. On the other hand, the agencies imparting such services to corporates in such facilities/buildings also are important stakeholders in this picture.

IWMS vis-a-vis with a CAFM

As compared with a computer assisted facility management (CAFM), an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) stands out in various aspects in the form of workspace management services. A natural question may arise from the readers of this article, and those looking at the fine print are surely going to ask the difference between the two. Let us now explore how IWMS is different from a CAFM.

Venn Diagram Citing IWMS

A universal set for CAFM and IWMS is the same and is concerned with the maintenance of the ambient environment in any facility that leads to its optimal functioning. A CAFM and IWMS are the subsets of this term, where CAFM is typically concerning with the maintenance of the equipments and systems associated with critical building components and also concerning with the space management functions, making the workspaces in their prime conditions using proper asset management software associated with such functions.

 

On the other hand, an integrated workplace management system is a more diverse and consolidated system that supports the wider components, primarily related to real estate management, and include other components that are critical to manage any building or facility in a prime condition. Some of such components giving rise to an integrated work system include:

 

  • Energy metering systems
  • Green building systems and components
  • HVAC systems
  • Water supply system
  • Drainage systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Fire fighting systems

Note: The list is not exhaustive

 

In addition, it may be noted that a CAFM software is primarily web-based system and may or may not have components/modules that can be deployed on a smartphone. The main focus of any CAFM software is to assist facility management operations in a planned and systematic manner. On the contrary, an IWMS is necessarily focusing both on a web-based interface system and also necessarily has components and modules that are deployable on the smartphones. These modules also are different from each other, being used for the purpose from the list mentioned above.

 

Thus, it can be inferred that an IWMS is a more refined and evolved version in the realm of facility management, with its foundation laying on a CAFM, and building upon these systems to roll out an efficient and systematic IWMS for facilities.

 

Applications of IWMS

Applications of IWMS

Applications of IWMS are extensive and varied; we shall be dealing with a host of industries in which IWMS is applied in the later part of this article. The purpose of introducing these applications in a concise form in this part of the article is to help the reader get acquainted with the context and clarity associated with this sector and the type of applications it entails.

 

Majorly, the applications of an integrated workplace management system is concentrated with the real estate management of a number of clusters of multistoried buildings with a group of large real estate. These buildings may be both private and public in their nature and applications and can host a varied group of companies associated with different industrial sectors, ranging from manufacturing to IT.

Public Sector Applications

As far as the public sector is concerned, the main area concerning an IWMS is the capital project management, where large scale public infrastructure is maintained with the help of integrated facilities management solutions. This includes the construction of various public buildings like metro stations, industries concerning different applications such as manufacturing and IT components, and entities like government offices, schools, universities, and the like.

Not only in their construction, an IWMS software helps staff deployed to maintain such critical infrastructure to have enterprise style mobility solutions so that they can enable on the go services, also the managers and supervisors of such staff have on the go monitoring capabilities and enhanced visibility and to ensure that critical building components are functioning properly as per their requirements.

In private sector applications, the main thrust area is real estate management. Subsets of this realm are space management and the like. Building owners and real estate managers get clearer visibility about the occupancy levels of buildings, make necessary adjustments to their building projects by ensuring that spaces are created as per the prevalent market conditions and also ensure that whatever spaces are occupied by their clients, are duly maintained and get the necessary infrastructure to make them function under optimal conditions.

In this context, there are five main sectors, where the IWMS software is deployed in buildings. They are dealt with in the subsequent sections.

Pillar 1- Space and Facilities Management

Facilities Management Component

This principal component of an integrated work management system consists of space and facilities management. The facilities management component is altogether taken care of by the CAFM applications that provide a centralized interface between different components of the building sub-systems. These include application software such as predictive maintenance apps, work order management apps, project management apps, incident management apps, task scheduling and business process workflows, reporting apps, and many more.

Helpdesk Application IWMS

Helpdesk Management Application

Such upgraded and advanced facilities management gives an array of touchpoints through which the occupants and users of such buildings can put across their service requests through various touchpoints. This can be in the form of a helpdesk management application which empowers users to record their service requests on the go and facility managers can assign the related technician to satisfy the user request with a high quality and timely resolution. This type of help desk management software also helps facility management companies to assign raised tickets automatically to available and qualified technicians and the service staff deployed can give an excellent service based on such set business processes.

Space Management Component

The space planning/management component of an integrated workplace management system has already been introduced in the previous chapter. 

Space Management Component

To explain it in greater detail, this component of integrated workspace management includes the following points:

  • Workspace management, detailed out at the beginning of this chapter and its comparison with integrated workplace management systems. Workplace management also entails tracking the quantum of space availability in any building/facility. It is also concerned with layouts of space utilization, occupancy levels and the optimal allocation of occupied space to facility management vendors/professionals.
  • Location intelligence solutions in a way that relocation of assets, both live and inanimate across their facilities/buildings in such manner that optimal space utilization happens, there is minimal disruption to the staff and equipment that is relocated for vital business continuity.
  • Space allocation estimation solutions that help real estate professionals or facility managers to estimate the cost of each unit of space or even the estimating the cost of installing different types of equipment and services for optimal functionality and encouraging environmental sustainability of such buildings.

Pillar 2- Real Estate Management and Lease Accounting

Building Codes and Lease Accounting

The real estate management and lease accounting solutions coming under the ambit of the integrated workplace management system play this role. By facilitating the vetting of building projects, selections of qualified staff and vendors that supply critical material and equipment to such entities, and the application of various building codes, such as the fire safety code also come under the ambit of integrated workplace management systems.

Lease accounting entails the contract management of such kind of building clusters, both public and private, and manages the entire system of such leases, in the form of centralized databases about the list of codes to be complied with, the parties involved, and the type of leases that the building owners and key stakeholders have entered with the various concerned parties. This realm of lease accounting also includes aspects such as strategic planning for new building clusters and public infrastructure, portfolio management, tax management and others, leading to a enterprise suite of apps that especially caters to large behemoth corporates, and all entities which are in need of such solutions.

Regulatory standards play a major role in areas like real estate and decision makers operating such facilities need to adhere to such mandates and regulations to make sure their business is compliant to reduce and eliminate the risk of any adverse impact on their businesses. These compliances form a strict code of listings that include real estate regulations, and also the way such buildings and the associated buildings and its subsystems are managed. The real estate managers, facility managers, owners of such building clusters, and various other stakeholders invest a significant amount of time and other resources in making their buildings compliant with such regulations. These regulations may be in the form of codes, laws, and other ordinances that come up from time to time as per the changing business environment.

 

Pillar 3- Maintenance Management

Robust Building Subsystems Originate from an Effective Maintenance Management

The ultimate aim of any maintenance management system in the realm of integrated workplace management solutions is to reduce the time taken to conduct predictive or preventive maintenance tasks, reduce the inputs of capital, and reduce the inputs of labor in carrying out such core activities. Collectively coming under the ambit of facilities management, the timely and effective management of building/s is absolutely essential for all kinds of projects, on which the success or failure of such entities depend.

 

IWMS vs. CMMS

The simple difference between an IWMS and a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is in the scope of the software applications and where it is deployed. If you just seek the maintenance of your facilities and the streamlining of building maintenance operations, a CMMS is the software you can opt for. However, if you want an integrated platform, a software that is spanning different domains ranging from space management to real estate, you need a much more comprehensive software solution in the form of an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

 

CAPAs

The areas which maintenance management cover also include CAPA’s (corrective and preventive actions) use case as well which maintain in prime condition the associated building components and subsystems as discussed in the earlier part of this article. Corrective actions and preventive actions include designing intelligent workplace systems that help in the implementation of such corrective and preventive actions. We have not yet discussed the importance of collecting accurate data from the deployment of such a comprehensive integrated workplace management system and processing the collected data into intelligence that give companies a leading edge over their competitors. This forms the backbone of any integrated workplace management system as the supply of actionable intelligence in the form of collated and analyzed info is the part of any digital solution.

 

CAPA IWMS

Vendor Management & Inventory Management

Besides CAPAs, vendor management and inventory management components among others also play an important role in any maintenance management system. The vendor management component ensures that critical materials and equipment required for the maintenance of building/s are sourced from trusted and dependable suppliers. In addition, inventory management solutions ensure that adequate stock levels are maintained, and maintenance of critical building components are not hampered due to out of stock products and materials.

Continuous Learning

All these components and sub-components of any building maintenance management systems need to implement and refine continuous learning processes that are used to refine and enhance the system as per the evolving business needs. One needs to keep in mind the fact that continuous learning processes are a part of any system and are not just restricted just to building maintenance management systems.

Pillar 4- Capital Project Management

The Internal and External Shell of Buildings

Till now, we have been exploring the ‘internal shell’ of any facility/building, which consists of the various critical building systems like water supply, fire fighting, HVAC, etc. However, we should also keep in mind that all these critical systems also consist of an ‘outer shell’ from where these services are sourced. For example, these services include the water supply network, which sources the water from the source (a reservoir for instance), the subsquenting filtering and purification systems, and the mains network which brings the water to the doorstep of the building.

Capital Project Management

Availability of a Clean Slate is Not Possible Most of the Times

In such a situation, it becomes necessary to consider aspects like the evaluation of spaces, proper planning of both the external and internal shell of the buildings, and also a refined understanding of the existing building infrastructure to make successful attempts to transform the currently existing buildings to their optimal functioning, since getting a clean slate is not possible most of the time.

External Shell of Buildings Plays a Key Role in Integrated Workplace Management System

Along with such services, where the ‘internal shell’ serves as the front-end, there is also an ‘external shell’, that serves as the back-end, where the external facade of the building itself is the outer shell which needs to be considered, both from a functional and aesthetic point of view. In this context, real estate managers, building owners, facility managers, and all direct and indirect stakeholders need to ensure that the capital project management plays a primary role in the realization of their desirable outcomes which they have planned.

Hence, the location, construction, project management involving construction, and the actual building itself plays a key role in making a viable project from an economic point of view. In addition, the actual inhabitants of such facilities, in both public and private buildings, get an upper hand as everything is optimized as per their preferences and keeping in mind their comfort and optimal performance levels.

Other Important Attributes of Capital Project Management

Other important attributes associated with the capital project management include:

 

  • Capital Planning
  • Procurement Management
  • Cost and Resource Management
  • Construction Project Management
  • Documentation Management
  • Critical Path Analysis

Pillar 5- Sustainability and Energy Management

After considering the inner shell and the outer shell of buildings/facilities, we now consider how the integrated platform under the ambit of integrated workplace management system combines to form one singular entity where the building as a whole functions in an environment friendly manner, consuming less amount of energy, minimal and optimal use of resources, and its behavior as an entity which is sustainable in its operations and its function as a green building.

Green Buildings with Reduced Carbon Footprint Graphic

Green Buildings are Going to Proliferate Exponentially

Green buildings presently have stringent emission norms and must reduce the carbon footprint in a manner through which it can consume optimal resources without compromising on the level of quality and ambient life conditions therein, and not at the cost of causing discomfort to the users of such buildings.

This is where the latest addition of sustainability and energy maintenance and management in the realm of integrated workplace management systems comes into the picture. The emergency of the ‘digital economy’, connected workplaces, enterprise mobility, the aftermath of the pandemic and the ensuing great lockdown, and the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution have been serving as the defining moments in the emergence of the green revolution in construction, where the other pillar of IWMS in the form of facilities project management software gel together in the formation of the intelligent buildings. The intelligent buildings, with a much lesser carbon footprint serve as beacons for the future developments in this sector, where such kinds of buildings are going to be the norm rather than an exception throughout the world.

Emergence of Intelligent Buildings and IWMS

In this context, the emergence of green buildings forged strong partnerships with the implementation guidelines for a robust IWMS system. In intelligent buildings, everything is connected, in the form of sensors and systems of the critical components of buildings. So, the energy meters measuring the consumption of electricity, water meters measuring the consumption of water, HVAC systems ensuring that ambient conditions are not compromised in any situation, and many others, face a strong correlation with each other, and being integrated under a common system, of which the IWMS plays an important role.

IWMS Financial Benefits

Till now, we have discussed how the multi-pronged benefits of implementing an IWMS system can have a positive impact on companies which are host to the building/s in which such companies operate.

 

Being a Financially Viable Entity is Paramount for Any Kind of Business

Along with such benefits, which are both tangible and intangible, one benefit stands out as it forms the very premise on which the companies operate. An established fact is that companies operate to become financially viable entities, both in the public sector and the private sector, both in corporates and in non-profits. So, any entity operating out of such sectors need to consider their operations from the financial point of view as well, so as to be independent to an extent from the flux in their business environment, and getting a positive bottomline is important for such entities.

Implementing an IWMS system is an important aspect from such a perspective, and it plays a major role for companies to attain high level financial benefits. These benefits are:

 

  • Increased productivity of workers
  • Increased engagement of workers
  • Equipment working efficiently
  • Less consumption of resources
  • Less consumption of energy and other scarce resources
  • Reducing carbon footprint and thereby earning financial benefits
  • Optimal occupancy levels for real estate managers
  • Good rental value of properties

Benefits for Companies Implementing an IWMS

Facility management companies implementing an integrated workplace management system also gain a bunch of financial benefits, such as:

 

  • Increased brand recognition leading to their consolidation in the market
  • Increased engagement levels of field workers leading to smoother operations and thereby a positive bottom line
  • Increased client retention leading to increased profits
  • Increased client satisfaction levels leading to a positive sentiment and thereby increasing their exposure levels and market presence
  • Minimal use of resources which leads to an efficient working environment for FM companies

What Industries use IWMS?

IWMS is a Horizontal Product