Author: Leasha Jackson

Technology to Improve Your Organizations Move Management Process

What is Move Management?

Part 2: Technology to Improve Your Organizations Move Management Process

In my first post, “What is Move Management Part 1: How you can better understand your move management process” I talked about what move management is and discussed how the first step in understanding your organizations move management process is to truly understand what your churn rate is–and then getting it under control.

In this post, I will talk about how there are many different methods to managing your move process–from manually tracking each and every move to having a point solution or a full blow facility management platform. Moves involve a lot of people and require a significant amount of communication between involved parties. This is where technology can play a vital role. Below, I will discuss the benefits for each way and how you can find the right method that works best for you and matches the business goals and objectives of your organization.

Manual

Believe it or not a lot of people are still managing their move process manually. They may using printed drawings and spreadsheets, using coloring pencils and pens and taking clipboards with printed out floor plans to where the move is actually occurring to try and manage their move process. This move type method is best for one-off moves within a single department. For organizations who do several hundred moves per month, this is not the most efficient way to manage your move process. Say you are doing 1,000 moves a month–if you are manually managing these moves, you are likely working about 6-7 days a week and about 16-20 hours a day in order to complete the move on time. This type of process is not scalable and it is very difficult and time-consuming to do, but people still manage their move process this way.

CAD & Spreadsheets

Using CAD & Spreadsheets is a little more efficient than the manual management of your move process. These are really stand-alone solutions, where you have a floor plan of your facilities with employees names but it can be very difficult to maintain and update the information. Someone might also be managing moves in an Excel spreadsheet, indicating that a person is moving from one location to another. Each time they get a notification or move request, that individual has to update this information which can be extremely time consuming and error prone. Both of these methods are not scalable and are only one-off solutions, they don’t provide you with visibility into what space you have, reporting or notifications. Individuals who manage their moves with CAD & spreadsheets typically put this information on a shared drive, but not everyone has access to this information in a real-time collaborative way. These types of move processes are not designed for managing your moves in an efficient and timely manner.

CAFM or Move Point Solutions

Some organizations use a Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) system or a move point solution to manage their move process, but these are typically only used at the department level, not enterprise-wide. They are smaller technology and can be desktop solutions, not an enterprise Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) platform. These types of solutions can do an effective job of managing a few moves within smaller departments, not for organizations who are managing several hundred moves per month. They are considered a point solution, meaning they are just meant for move management and won’t be tied to your golden source of space data or your physical space inventory. They also won’t be tied to any other solutions you have in place, for instance your maintenance management solution, where you could do task management or submit a work order and have the two solutions work seamlessly together. CAFM or move point solutions are typically not designed for mass collaboration within an organization.

IWMS

If you are doing hundreds or thousands of moves per month I recommend using an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). Unfortunately the manual methods that a lot of organizations use can lend themselves to miscommunications or scheduling errors which can lead to time-consuming problematic moves. An IWMS can automate your move management process and keep the lines of communications open with everyone who is involved in the move process. An automated approach can also reduce the cost associated with moves and allow you to track your performance–costs include time spent planning, coordinating and executing the move, employee downtime and errors and miscommunication that can occur with manual process. An IWMS platform can automate and help that innovative facility manager solve the problem, reduce costs and downturn from churn, and create a better work environment for their employees. An IWMS allows you to get your employees moved happily, effectively and as quickly and easily as possible.

Part 3: Move Management Best Practices

Now that I’ve discussed the different types of technology that can be used to manage your organizations move management program, next I will dive into Move Management best practices. It is critical to understand your organizations move program as it is a critical component of effective facility management practices.

Stay tuned for my next post on Move Management Best Practices!

What is Move Management?

What is Move Management?

Part 1: How you can better understand your move management process

Simply stated, move management is the process of moving one or more employees from one location to another or in and out of your organization. There are varying types of move management–there are Moves, Adds and Changes (MAC), which are typically simple moves, you’re either moving an employee from one location to another within your organization, you might be adding employees and onboarding them or perhaps someone got a promotion and they need to move work spaces. You might also be tracking things such as space standards–an employee who got a promotion may have been in a cubicle or touch down space and now in their new role they need to be in an office. Being able to track all of this is part of your MAC process and is critical to understanding move management within your organization.

The other type of move–which is much bigger and more complicated–is a project move. A project move is taking a handful of people to thousands of people and perhaps moving them from one location to another, completely restacking a building or even bringing a new building online. A project move requires a lot of coordination from various stakeholders in order for the move process to go smoothly.

What is Move Churn?

According to FM Guru Consultancy, Churn is the term used by facilities professionals to describe the continuous cycle of moves and changes within the work space. The churn rate is normally expressed as a percentage of the number of total occupants that have been moved during the year.

All facility professionals have to deal with churn, organizations are dynamic entities that must move people and equipment to order to adapt to change. Churn can be driven by business challenges–maybe you are upscaling or downscaling your business or there was an acquisition or a facility renovation taking place. There is also the daily activities of your occupants–maybe an employee is moving from one department to another or they submitted a move request to be closer to their team or perhaps they wanted access to more natural light.

There are a lot of stakeholders that get affected by a move–IT, HR, move liaisons or coordinators, and of course the person who is getting moved–and their work gets disrupted when any type of move occurs. There is an estimate of approximately four hours of downtime per employee who gets moved and a lot of organizations aren’t really cognizant of the actual costs and loss of productivity that is associated with a move, whether it is small or large.

The first step in understanding your organizations move management process is truly understanding what your churn rate is–and then getting it under control. Getting your churn under control is critical to the success of your organization.

How You Can Better Understand Your Move Process

Moves don’t happen instantly–they require a significant amount of communication between involved parties and there are a lot of things that take place during a move. But at a high level, all moves follow the same overall process:

Request Management

Move requests identify what employees should move and when as well as what small or large scale moves are in the works. Request management allows you to track these types of requests and every organization needs some way to manage this. One way some organizations manage their move requests is through email, however this is not the best option because you have to rely on someone, or a group of people, to manually track all of your incoming requests. A best practice is to find a solution that helps you automate your move management process, which I’ll get into detail further down this post. One way or another, you need a way to manage your requests to get people the space they requested in a timely manner, as smoothly as possible, and with little disruption to the organization.

Planning

Planning involves the high-level coordination between the groups that support the move process, which requires a lot of people outside of facilities and real estate and outside of the person who is getting moved. Move planning entails coordination from various departments including: HR–letting HR know that someone is either getting onboarded or that someone got promoted and now needs to move into an office, IT–you need to be able to track not just the move, but the location of the assets tied to the move (the employees chair, phone, laptop, etc.), facilities and telecom groups.

Coordination

Move coordination means getting the right information at the right time to both internal and external vendors to ensure the move happens in the proper order and on time. What if your employee is all ready to move and your external vendor isn’t ready or has the wrong date? Being able to not only coordinate with external vendors but having internal coordination within your organization is crucial. Coordination takes place from the moment the move is planned all the way through the process of making sure the move goes as planned and making sure the employee gets into their new location smoothly with little disruption to their work.

Process Review

After the move, a review should be conducted using follow up surveys. How did the move go? Is the employee able to accomplish their job in their new spot? Are they satisfied with how the move went and their new location? Could things have gone better? Did everything get moved in time? This move data can then be analyzed to uncover issues and determine areas for improvement in the future. Did you actually perform as a team and are the employees happy with the process? This process review enables you to continually optimize and improve your move process over time.

Part 2: Technology to Improve Your Move Management Process

There are many different methods to managing your move process–from manually tracking each and every move to having a point solution or a full blow facility management platform–each way has its own benefits and you have to find the right method that works best for you and matches the business goals and objectives of your organization. In my next post, I will discuss the different methods and types of technology that you can implement at your organization to improve your move management process. Stay tuned!

Learning about the Future of Utilization at the 2018 FM:Systems User Conference

We just had our annual FM:Systems User Conference in downtown Raleigh, NC. Our User Conference allows our customers and business partners to spend several days networking with other users of FM:Interact, meet the FM:Systems staff that they work with in person and attend sessions to expand their use of the FM:Interact workplace management suite. The User Conference is such an exciting time and we put a lot of time and effort into planning it to make sure our clients have the best week they can possibly have. I personally look forward to our conference each year and get excited to meet new clients and learn how they are utilizing FM:Interact to manage their facilities.

I can truly say that the 2018 User Conference was the best one yet. We hit a new record of registrants and had people come from 10 countries— Australia, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Panama, United Kingdom and the United States. We had a lot of first time attendees as well as over 50% of returning clients.

Classroom Training

The week starts out with two days of optional hands on classroom training led by our consulting team. Clients can choose from 16 classes ranging from beginner to advanced tracks to expand their knowledge of the FM:Interact products they use and learn tips and tricks to help them succeed faster. This is the one time of the year that we offer hands on training and a lot of our clients take advantage of this offering prior to the full conference.

Business Partner Day

This was the first year we had an International Business Partner Day which allowed our international partners to meet with our executive team to learn more about our partner program and how we can better work together. We also had a full day with all our partners, domestic and international, to further discuss our partner program in a collaborative environment. We had sessions on our sales process, marketing update, solution validation methodology, best practices working with our support team and more.

The Future of Utilization

The full conference kicked off with a Welcome Reception at the Raleigh Marriott City Center Hotel, sponsored by AMS CAD + CAFM Solutions, Autodesk, CADD Microsystems, CREE, Eighth Day Design (EDD), HELLA Aglaia, JLL, Little and RSP i_SPACE. This reception allows our attendees to network with other clients over hors d’oeuvres and drinks and speak with our sponsors. It is a fun night to get to know other attendees and FM:Systems staff prior to the start of the conference and all attendees have the chance to win door prizes!

The theme of this year’s conference was, “The Future of Utilization.” The growth and availability of sensors in the workplace has created opportunities to better understand how our buildings are occupied, our assets are performing and our spaces are utilized. We had several sessions that talked about the rise of sensor based technologies for real-time space utilization in the workplace which explored the newest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that enable organizations to better track real-time utilization and better understand how their space is really being used.

We had both a customer success and a FM:Systems product features track with presentations on FM:Interact tips and tricks, emerging technology trends, space management best practices, a higher education track and more!

Throughout the conference there are several things our attendees can take part in—we give away two Apple Watch’s to individuals who provide us with a customer testimonial video, clients can sit down with our product management team to provide product suggestions and feedback, one-on-one time with our consultants and a networking breakfast for our higher education clients.

We had a southern style meal at the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh on Thursday night. We enjoyed their beautiful lawn and played some yard games while enjoying some hors d’oeuvres and drinks during cocktail hour. It was a beautiful venue and it was the perfect way to end the first full day of the conference.

Thank you to all our customers and business partners who took time to attend our User Conference! We hope you all enjoyed your time in Raleigh and were able to learn more about FM:Interact.

2019 User Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2019 FM:Systems User Conference, June 5-7 at the Swan and Dolphin hotel in Orlando, FL! I hope to see as many customers and business partners there that can possibly attend!

What is Space Management?

What is Space Management?

Simply stated, Space Management involves the management of a company’s physical space inventory.

Whether you realize it or not, every organization manages their space one way or another. You might have an automated space management solution, use AutoCAD and Excel spreadsheets or manage your space with printed off floor plans and colored pencils.

At a high level, the management of your space inventory includes tracking and maintaining your space and occupancy information—identifying who sits where, understanding how much space your organization has, and how it’s actually being used, and projecting and forecasting how much real estate you will need in the future.

Every organization has their own process in place to manage their facility and real estate portfolio—it may be working for them or they might need a solution in place that aligns with the goals and objectives of the organization.

What is CAFM vs. IWMS?

There are two big acronyms that you will hear when talking about space management solutions—Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) solutions and Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) platforms. Well, what are these and what is the difference between the two?

CAFM

CAFM evolved in the late 1980s with the purpose of leveraging the PC to automate the collection and maintenance of facility management information. CAFM provided facility managers with the solutions they needed to track and report on their facility and real estate information.

IWMS

Very similar to CAFM, an IWMS is an enterprise solution that supports the planning, design and management of an organization’s physical real estate. An IWMS allows organizations to optimize the use and administration of workplace resources and communicates that information throughout the entire organization.

These still sound very similar, what is the difference?

The main difference between CAFM and an IWMS is that an IWMS allows key information to be shared between everyone in the organization whereas CAFM is limited by its inability to distribute information to those beyond facility management.

I’ve included a diagram below will help show you what solutions fall under an IWMS platform.

IWMS Diagram

I’ll throw in one more acronym to give you the full picture of all the solutions that tie into the management of an organizations facility and real estate space: Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS).

CMMS

A CMMS is a database of information about an organizations maintenance operations. This typically includes the management of work orders and service requests, preventative maintenance scheduling and workflows, asset management and inventory control. As you can see from the IWMS diagram above, a CMMS is just a portion of the full blown IWMS suite.

Why do organizations need a space management solution?

This is something I hear all the time and the answer is simple, organizations need a space management solution in order to automate their facilities processes. You might think your current process works just fine, and it might, but research has found that moving from a manual process of managing of your space inventory to an automated solution can reduce your overall operating costs, increase the productivity of your entire organization and provide you with real-time visibility into how your space is truly being used, across one or many locations. The best part is, at the end of the day you will still have time for other tasks at hand.

We have seen a lot of companies who thought they were managing their facility space just fine by using CAD drawings and Excel spreadsheets, walking the floor with a pen and pencil to track who sat where, and spending hours putting together critical reports for upper management. Companies who have moved towards an automated space management solution quickly realize they were managing their facilities inefficiently and can immediately begin seeing the results that an space solution can bring to their organization.

What are the benefits of a space management solution?

We have a guide that we wrote on, “The Top Five Must-haves for Space Management” that discuss the main capabilities you should be looking for in a space management software solution that can help you plan for and manage change in your facilities.

These five capabilities include:

  • Managing change
  • Visualizing space
  • Having a centralized source for all your facility information
  • Collaboration anytime, and anywhere
  • Reporting and analysis

This is a guide worth reading and I am certain that if you don’t already have an automated space management solution in place, once you implement one you will instantly see results and your job will be made a whole lot easier!

Download the guide:

The Top 5 Must-have’s for Space Management Software

Understanding Why Space is the Key to Effective Facility Management

I’m continuing my “Best Practices for Space Management” series which is the first guide we have published as part of our best practices series. I hope you enjoyed learning about the making of our best practices series, benefits of space management and the top 10 things every facility manager should know about space in my first post, “Introducing the Best Practices for Space Management.”

I highly recommend you download the full guide so you can understand why space is the key to effective facility management. I’ve outlined several sections below that our guide goes into more detail about.

What is Space Inventory Data?

In our “Best Practices for Space Management” guide, we discuss how space management systems are comprised of two major information systems: space inventory and occupancy. The starting point in implementing a space management system is to define space inventory data. Space Inventory describes the physical facilities and includes sites, building, floors and spaces. Generally speaking, space inventory is separate from information about the organization and individuals occupying the space.

Coding Systems for Unique Identification

In any information system, every element needs a unique identifying code. This is certainly true of space management. An organization implementing a system will at a minimum need to select or define a coding or numbering system for the following elements:

Coding for Buildings: it is extremely important that buildings are clearly differentiated and that there is an organized method for assigning codes to new buildings
Coding and Spaces: Space codes are necessary to uniquely identify each space (room, open-plan workstation, restroom, hallway, etc.)

Classifying Space

Facilities have all these different types of spaces, but it is important that you have a practical classification system that is clearly understood. In the United States, colleges and universities use the Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual (FICM) coding for classifying space according to use.

For office space, there is no generally accepted classification system for office space. Space classification systems have been developed by Omniclass (Table 13- Spaces by Function) and by OSCRE. However, neither standard has yet to see significant adoption. Furthermore, the OSCRE standard is not a public standard and is available only to companies that have paid to join OSCRE.

Understanding Space Measurements

Over the past fifty years, the commercial real estate and facility management professions have developed generally accepted concepts and terms for space. In office space, the most widely known standard is defined by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). The purpose of the BOMA standard is to define the area for which a tenant pays rent.

Graphic Sources for Space Inventory — CAD and BIM

Space inventory should originate with a graphic source, specifically Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Building Information Modeling (BIM). Autodesk is the dominant provider of both CAD and BIM software with their AutoCAD and Revit products, so virtually all buildings for the past twenty-five years have been designed with either CAD or BIM.

Preparing AutoCAD Drawings for Space Management

It is highly unlikely that people will be ready to go with their CAD drawings and there will be some prep work that needs to be done. In this guide, we talk about the 6 things you need to do before linking to our system.

Preparing BIM Models for Space Management

Typically the BIM model was built from construction and they usually require preparation for use in a space management system. You need to consolidate your linked models so you don’t have 10 different ones, making it easier to manage.

Get Access to the Full Guide Today

Introducing the Best Practices for Space Management

Who is FM:Systems and what do they do?

I’ll take a moment to give you a little background on FM:Systems and how it has become the leading software solution provider in space and occupancy management. Our Chairman, Michael Schley, founded FM:Systems in 1984 with the vision of creating a flexible, comprehensive facility management system that could be easily used by facility planners and managers.

To help facilities teams effectively manage even the most demanding building portfolios, FM:Systems created FM:Interact, a Cloud-based Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). FM:Interact helps facility and real estate professionals improve the management of their space, occupancy, assets, moves, maintenance, leases and property. FM:Interact has helped organizations reduce operating costs, improve employee productivity and improve facility processes that impact the entire organization. FM:Systems works with a variety of industries including corporate, technology, government, higher education, healthcare and energy and does business throughout the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Now that I’ve given you a little background on what FM:Systems does, I’ll get to the topic of this post–our Best Practices for Space Management guide.

Introduction of the Best Practices for Space Management Guide

Understanding space is a critical component of effective facility management practice. It is the foundation for occupancy management as well as move management, strategic planning, room reservations, facility maintenance, real estate management and more. The purpose of this guide is to share with you the best practices that have been developed in the facility management profession over the past several decades, explain key decisions that organizations must make and discuss current trends in the use of workspace.

The Making of the Best Practices Series

The Best Practice task group is comprised of our Chairman and Founder, Michael Schley, VP of Professional Services, Robert Davis, along with Scott Richardson, Matt Smyrl and Terri Hart who are a part of Robert’s team, our Manager of Product Management, Paul Wright, VP of Support, Bert Dreifuss, and our Applications Engineer team, Rob Norin, Audrey Hum and Hanna Graziano. The layout and graphic design was done by Alana Craichy, our Product Communications Specialist.

Over a three month period, these individuals got together and had “brain dump” sessions to put their expertise on paper and into this best practices document. Michael Schley authored this guide, which is the first of our best practices series.

Benefits of Space Management

Space is at the heart of facility management and effective space management is key to professional facility management. Understanding the types of spaces within a real estate portfolio and knowing how they are used is essential in a well-managed facility operation.

A good space management system will provide three major benefits:

  • Efficiency: Reduce real estate expenses by understanding how your space is being used.
  • Effectiveness: Use your space better by getting a better fit between workstations and jobs or locating departments better.
  • Foundation: Space is the foundation for many other things you want to do in facility management such as move management, maintenance management, scenario planning, real estate and leasing and list goes on–but it all starts with space, without it, you can’t do any of these other things.

Top 10 things every facility manager should know about space

A good space management system will provide a facility manager with essential space information for benchmarking against other organizations, planning for future growth and evaluating a building’s efficiency. Below is a list of the 10 key measures of space that every facility manager should know–to get the full detail, you can download our guide below!

  • Total Area
  • Capacity
  • Occupant Count
  • Occupancy Rate
  • Vacancy Rate
  • Planned Density
  • Space Assignment by Occupant
  • Vacant Seats
  • Space Assignment by Department
  • Open Plan/Close Office Percent

This list will help you understand what you should know in space management. In order to be successful at your job, it is critical you know the basics and that you have the vocabulary that people understand.

What’s next?

This is the first blog of our, “Best Practices for Space Management” series. Stay tuned to learn about space inventory data, graphic sources for space inventory, occupant data, how to keep your space data accurate, reporting and metrics, emerging trends in space management and more!

Get Access to the Full Guide Today

Why you should attend the 2018 User Conference

The Future of Space Utilization

Our annual User Conference is just a few short months away and I am already so excited to have another great year of cutting-edge presentations by industry leaders as well as seeing returning clients and meeting new ones. Year after year our conference continues to grow and it wouldn’t be made possible without our clients and business partners who set aside time out of their busy schedules to attend. Everyone has one common interest—FM:Interact. The whole week is filled with two days of optional training courses, client success story presentations and networking opportunities that will enable you to learn about new solutions, technologies and functionality of FM:Interact that will allow you to become more productive.

Our theme for this year’s conference is, “The Future of Utilization” and our agenda will be comprised of presentations that will focus on new IoT sensor technology that can help you understand how your space is being used, new product functionality that has been released in FM:Interact, best practices and innovations that can help you maximize the use of your facilities space, client success story presentations and more!

Our User Conference is the best place to learn about current FM trends and innovations, hear best practices from industry leaders and see the latest FM:Interact functionality that can help you better manage your workplace. Whether you are a long time user of FM:Interact or are in the process of implementing you will always learn something new at the FM:Systems User Conference, no matter what. I could list hundreds of reasons why you should attend the FM:Systems User Conference, but I am just going to focus on a few today:

4 reasons you should attend the User Conference

After attending the FM:Systems User Conference you will:

Become More Productive

After attending the conference, you will gain tremendous knowledge of FM:Interact, learn about new solutions, technologies and capabilities that can benefit you and your organization, improve your problem-solving skills, help your company reduce occupancy costs and optimize the effectiveness of your facilities.

Get Connected

You will build relationships and get connected to the leading industry professionals in the world. Just one tip or a new approach for solving a problem or addressing an area where you can more effectively manage your facilities will make the trip to the User Conference worthwhile.

Gain the Inside Track

Hear firsthand what FM:Systems’ executives have to say about where the industry and company are going and how this vision and strategy will help keep your organization on the leading edge.

Glimpse the Future

Stay on top of industry trends and learn entirely new ways to take advantage of the power of FM:Interact. You will be able to see the latest technologies and capabilities that we have developed to help you maximize efficiency in the way you manage your facility and space data.

Better Leverage the Power of FM:Interact

We have two full days of classroom training prior to the conference. These training classes are optional, hands-on training classes that will teach you how to better utilize FM:Interact, which can help you reduce costs and optimize the use of your facilities. In addition to the customer and FM:Systems’ presentations, we also offer the opportunity to troubleshoot your unique business situation via complimentary one-on-one sessions with FM:Systems consultants. This would be an opportunity to directly raise some of your key issues or any general questions you may have about FM:Interact.

The FM:Systems User Conference is the perfect place to pick up new ideas to drive more productivity from your implementation, meet with industry experts and peers as well as FM:Systems staff and partners, all in one consolidated place.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2018 FM:Systems User Conference at the Marriott City Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina April 18-20!

Questions? Contact me at ljackson@fmsystems.com or (919) 582-9720.

The Power of the Mobile Employee at World Workplace

World Workplace 2017 FM:Systems has been attending IFMA’s World Workplace conference and expo for the past 31 years and I am honored to have just attended my 6th.

World Workplace is one of the biggest shows we attend each year and is the best place to network with facility and real estate professionals, learn how they are managing their facility space and get insight into new trends and innovations in the facility management industry.

FM Academic Awards and Foundation Celebration Fundraiser

On Tuesday night we attended the FM Academic Awards which recognizes scholarship recipients who are presented with their awards and also highlights new Accredited Degree Programs. I manage the FM:Systems Educational Grant Program—a 6 hour offering for colleges and universities that is designed to give students an overview of the capabilities of facility management software—and enjoy seeing the professors I’ve worked with over the years at this event. The entire evening consists of networking, a silent auction and games that benefit making FM a career of choice.

Announcing the launch of FM:Interact bookME

FM:Interact bookMEWe recently launched bookME, interactive digital signage that is placed outside of meeting rooms that gives employees the ability to reserve conference room space on the fly. bookME extends the functionality of FM:Interact’s industry leading Space Management solution to the entire organization by enabling employees to view room availability and reserve spaces with a user-friendly mobile interface. It was great to see the interest around bookME throughout the show first hand.

Flexible Workspace for the Mobile Employee

Almost every conversation I had tied back into how mobile today’s employees are and how organizations are in need of a solution that will support today’s new approaches to working, including the requirements for flexible workspace, the ability to quickly support cross-functional teams and more collaborative areas that break away from the traditional practice of one employee assigned to one workstation.

FM:Systems Space Reservation module supports these new ways of working and allows organizations to provide their employees with the flexibility of reserving as-needed space when they need it—whether it be reserving a workstation for the day, a meeting space with specific amenities or walking up and reserving a conference room on the fly for an ad-hoc meeting.
The configurability of our product allows organizations to meet these rapidly changing demands and help them realize new business value—all while providing their employees with a flexible workplace.

Presenting on “The Future of Utilization”

Brian Haines, our Vice President of Marketing, had a Solutions Arena presentation on, “The Future of Utilization– Do you know how your employees are interacting with your space?” This presentation explored emerging new technologies such as the FM:Systems FMx remote sensing platform, employee facing kiosks and mobile devices that are enabling organizations to better understand how their employees are interacting with their space. He also discussed the benefits and limitations of different occupancy utilization tracking methods, tools and workflows which can help you better understand the concept of real-time utilization and how your space is really being used.

Release of FM:Interact 2017 – Five New Features!

We are very excited to announce the release of FM:Interact 2017, as well as the new functionality that comes with it.

With this release, FM:Systems has enhanced a number of previous functions to improve user experience, as well as created brand new functions in order for organizations to get the most effective utilization of their space.

So let’s get to it. What are the new functions?

Scenario Planning

The Scenario Planning module provides you with the ability to create, visualize and “try on” potential space situations, such as build-outs, expansions, reorganizations, consolidations or re-configurations—so you’ll be prepared no matter what happens.

The Scenario Planning module helps organizations see into the future in order to pick the best route that will save them the most time and money. An example of this might be an organization seeing what it would look like to move the departments on the 4th floor to the 3rd floor in order to rent out the 5th floor for additional revenue. Or perhaps renting out an additional building if they are expecting a significant amount of growth within the next five years.

(Read “What is Scenario Planning?” blog.)


(Create a variety of floor plans with different seating assignments to see what makes the most sense and, more importantly, saves you the most money!)

FMx5 Markup & Measure

Markup and Measure provides users with the ability to draw and create spaces directly on the FMx5 floor plan viewer. After saving your work, you can see those changes reflected in AutoCAD in real-time. (This new feature is my personal favorite.)

This is a REALLY BIG DEAL. Instead of leaving the browser, uploading the drawings in AutoCAD, editing a few lines, saving and exporting, and reloading it back to FM:Interact, you make the changes directly in the software from your browser. This feature also takes away the need for additional AutoCAD licences or third party services, which can save your facilities department a significant portion of their budget. This is really exciting stuff, folks.


(Save time by drawing and measuring directly on the floor plan with our enhanced FMx5 Viewer!)

Data Change Request

To maintain the integrity of your space data, the ability to make changes are usually limited to power users and space planners. With the release of FM:Interact 2017, general users are now able to request changes to space while allowing planners and administrators the ability to review, accept or reject those changes before they ever hit production.

This speeds up work flow, and decreases the amount of hoops you need to jump through to get an approval for changes.

(Simply click on the area you want to make a change to, and fill out the Change Request Form.)

Data Auditing

You now have the ability to track everything that happens to your FM:Interact data by having visibility into all data actions performed by system users. This gives you insight on why a record has been modified, who modified it, and when.

The historical view saves users valuable time that they could be spending on other aspects of company growth. Instead of going around and asking, “has this record been changed? Who changed that? Bob, did you change this record?” you can simply view the historical data and see a list of all historical actions. Now that’s handy!

(View the historical data on any record you choose.)

FMx Sensors

Get real-time space utilization analysis on your facility data with our latest integration with seat utilization sensing technology and 3D Stereoscopic cameras. This gives organizations an unprecedented level of insight on how their facilities are really being used. Just because a conference room is booked at 2-3 pm doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being used. FMx Sensors also allows companies to study the effectiveness of their meeting spaces. How many 10-person conference rooms are being booked by only a group of three?

The management of your facilities is only as good as your facilities’ data. And with this new functionality, your data has never been this accurate.


(3D Stereoscopic cameras updates your occupancy levels in real-time.)

We hope you all are just as excited as we are with the launch of FM:Interact 2017! We can’t wait to hear about the innovative ways our customers will use these new features.

What are you guys most excited about?  We’d love to know!

Mastering the What-if

Recap of our 2017 FM:Systems User Conference

We recently had our annual User Conference, where our customers and business partners all come together to discuss one thing we all have in common—FM:Systems. I can honestly say this is my favorite event I get to attend for work each year because I get to meet new customers, catch up with familiar faces and most importantly get the opportunity to see first-hand how our product, FM:Interact, has truly benefited our end users and see the enthusiasm everyone has around it.

This year we moved the conference to sunny San Diego at the Omni San Diego Hotel in the Gaslamp District—I honestly could not have asked for a better destination to have our conference. The location was elegant and located in the heart of downtown San Diego where you could get to one of the best restaurants by walking distance within a matter of minutes. The hotel connected to the Padres stadium, which was a perk for a few of us who came in early and were able to enjoy going to a game prior to the start of our busy week!

We hit a new record with our conference attendance which we have continued to do year after year—we had more attendees, business partners and training registrants than ever before. Our registrants came from 10 different countries and were all able to take advantage of gathering in one place to network and learn more about how our workplace management system can help them more effectively run their facilities and make their day-to-day jobs more productive.

Our week kicked off with two full days of hands-on training led by our consulting and technical sales team. With 16 classes to choose from, our attendees have the chance to come a few days early to learn more about specific modules and product functionality that will allow them to do their daily tasks more efficiently.

IMG_3756The full conference kicked off with our Welcome Reception out on the beautiful outdoor Palm Terrace at the Omni Hotel. This night allows all our attendees to network over hors d’oeuvres and drinks while meeting and speaking with our sponsors—AMS CAD + CAFM Solutions, Autodesk, CADD Microsystems, CoWorkr, Dell, JLL, Little and RSP i_SPACE. Everyone has the chance to win door prizes and get to know other attendees prior to the start of the conference.

IMG_4538The following morning we began the day with a keynote by our Chairman and Founder, Michael Schley. This year’s theme was, “Mastering the What-if” and we had 17 presentations that all discussed how FM:Interact can allow organizations to plan for and manage change in today’s highly dynamic and rapidly evolving workforce. We had both a customer success and a FM:Systems product features track with presentations on FM:Interact tips and tricks, new features being released in Scenario Planning, maximizing your preventive maintenance program, utilizing your FM data, a higher education track and more!

Throughout the conference we have several things our attendees can take part in—providing us with a customer testimonial video, the chance to meet with our product management team, one-on-one time with our consultants and networking breakfasts for the higher education and healthcare industries.

20170420_FMS_User_Conference_048Being in San Diego we thought it would be appropriate to go on a private dinner cruise for our Thursday night dinner—we cruised out into the bay and saw the sunset while having a cocktail hour on the top of the Admiral Hornblower. We then had a fabulous plated dinner while having a stunning view of the city.

Prior to our closing session we gave away several prizes—some lucky winners won some FM:Systems swag, two individuals who did video testimonials won Apple Watch’s and we gave away a couple Amazon Echos.

We will be having our 2018 FM:Systems User Conference back in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina at the Marriott City Center, April 18-20! I hope to see as many customers and business partners there that can possibly attend!