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The Difference Between CAFM & IWMS

Any successful, creative, and profitable business will attest to the fact that these coveted superlatives don’t come easy or cheap. Hard work, dedication, and a reliance on a solid team and the right tools is critical. For modern businesses, the proper digital tools are often the greatest catalysts for achieving our desired levels of success. In a recent survey, 82% of companies polled had adopted digital technologies for redefining their businesses, resulting in an increase of almost 40% in both revenue and customer satisfaction. Without these tools, gathering critical data for forecasting, planning, monitoring, and implementing falls back to last century’s techniques – not efficient and not nearly as accurate.

As far as the type of system your business requires, there are various options which can conform to you specifics. Today we’re going to discuss two popular and widely used system types, the Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) model and the Integrated Work Management System (IWMS). Both systems are considered integral to successful business management, so you just need to decide which will work best for your situation. Let’s dive in.

The Breakdown

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) models tend to focus on managing spaces and assets for a company. Don’t let the focused scope of management fool you, though. CAFM systems specialize in space planning, helping organizations align business goals and real estate while forecasting for future needs. These areas offer excellent insight and data gathering, regarding which areas are available, occupied, frequently used, and for what capacities. This data becomes an important source of factual information, which can help transform business spaces into more efficient and effective centers for employees, as well as boosting the company bottom line through removal of wasteful or ineffective practices and plans for existing real estate. These systems are often used by professionals in Real Estate Planning and Consulting, Architecture, Interior Design, and other related fields. The CAFM gathers the critical data needed to accurately predict occupancy needs, floorpan layouts, and continually update figures to existing data subsets.

On the other hand, Integrated Work Management Systems (IWMS) are responsible for a much broader range of managerial data sets. IWMS software is robust and, sometimes, sprawling, in nature, designed to cover the 5 pillars of Facility Management – Real estate and Property management, Space management, Operations and Maintenance, Capital planning and project management (CPPM), and Energy Management. An IWMS is designed to be a complete package integration, which a company would rely on for all of its managerial needs. Facilities Managers use it to monitor and manage all the facets of an organizations’ buildings, systems, and machines. This type of system may also be accessed by numerous different departments and managers or executives to check inventory, monitor energy usage, or schedule preventative maintenance, for example. Additionally, an IWMS can be integrated with other systems, if necessary, to increase overall functionality.

Finding the Right Fit

In theory, an IWMS may seem like a powerful option, which can handle all of your needs. And, for many organizations, this option will help transform their business from simply working to prospering and thriving. It can also be a behemoth of a system, which requires quite a bit of training, a lengthy implementation process, and may be overkill for some organizations. These systems can also be quite the investment, so make sure your ROI is factored properly and your FM is up to the challenge.

For CAFM systems, people, places, and things are the focal point. A CAFM’s dedication to managing these assets makes them ideal for forecasting office moves, regularly managing occupancy needs, and keeping daily activities running smoothly. With out-of-office worker ratios on the rise, up 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016, and growing, managing available occupancy numbers can be a challenge. Flexible office designs thrive through CAFM systems. And these proactive moves help the overall business, as well as the individual employee, leading to greater worker satisfaction and productivity, less turnover and absenteeism, and an improved set of bottom line financials. For a business primarily looking to manage their physical space, CAFMs are a great fit. If you need more complete system management options, though, the IWMS is your more likely solution.

Your Business, Your Needs

At SpaceTrak, we pride ourselves in communicating with customers and finding the best fit for your individual business models.  We have found that while many systems incorporate a space planning module into their systems these modules are not utilized by customers. The forecasting modules incorporated into the all in one IWMS systems are too complicated for customers to utilize. Instead Facility Managers find themselves using Excel spreadsheets or in-house built systems.   While it may be tempting to rely on old methods and regard them as tried and true, the truth is that older systems of business management, such as spreadsheets, are too ineffective for today’s work environment and do not provide accurate data.  These issues lead to budget shortfalls and weary investors. The time, labor costs, and possibility of errors or inaccuracies are all driving factors in implementing an effective system for forecasting of real estate.

The SpaceTrak system works with both IWMS and CAFM systems to extract data and engage key stakeholders. With or without an IWMS or CAFM we have a direct API allowing for integration into any system.  Our user friendly system overlays utilization data with forecasting data for effective and accurate real estate decision making.   Implementation can lead to increased accuracy of 30% or more. And that’s just one way of the many ways this strategic business tool can boost your bottom line. Contact us and let’s see how we can build and work together to plan for your organization’s future.

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