Written by: Dan Lorenz, President of AMS CAD+CAFM Solutions
An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) can deliver an accurate picture of your facilities data enterprise-wide. This enables you to utilize reports and dashboards with embedded key performance indicators to help you quickly identify areas within your facilities where you might be experiencing inefficiencies and provides you the ability to spotlight areas of concern as they are happening.
What makes FM:Systems unique in its Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) solution is that it comes out-of-the-box as a solid base template for its modules (Space Management, Move Management, etc.) but includes low-code/no-code administrative tools to tailor the application to meet your needs. Low-Code/No-Code (LC/NC) platforms are growing in popularity with some of the biggest companies such as Microsoft and Google offering platforms (PowerApps & AppSheet) for what in computer science is called RAD (Rapid Application Development). RAD allows more powerful and functional requirements to be met quickly rather than “settling” for a solution that falls short of expectations.
An IWMS to Fit Your Organization
FM:Systems was ahead of its time in understanding that while Facilities Departments at different companies share several common needs, they also differ greatly as well in workflow and execution. The highly configurable nature of their tools, especially the IWMS FMS:Workplace, allows companies to get a tailored solution to allow the software to fit the way they work and not the other way around.
The biggest advantage FMS:Workplace has is in its ability to configure the forms and views. We have all spent time filling out web forms throughout our life and we get frustrated when fields aren’t clearly understood, required or not, or even relevant. Having to use a view list or form that isn’t clear makes for a better User Experience (UX). FMS:Workplace has a built-in form and view editor that makes quick work of modifying existing forms/view or creating your own.
Another big area of configurability is the data elements. These elements are properties, or database fields, that can be tracked about a space, employee, asset, etc. While many software applications offer classic User Defined Fields (UDFs) that are alphanumeric fields with no data validation, FMS:Workplace allows you to add your own data fields or even create your own table of data as a separate list to manage. This is accomplished through the administrative tools and therefore is fully supported when it comes time to upgrade the software!
Finally, the configurable nature of the software offers you the ability to tailor much of the other areas of the application. You can design your own email events, thematic floor plan graphic views, and home page dashboards to name a few. If you are not doing these configurations today, then you are denying your software of reaching its potential.
While the configuration capabilities are extensive, sometimes there is a need to go even further for certain advanced requirements. FM:Systems smartly deployed their software so that while it was highly configurable, it was not open source. They allow you to “add on” database automation and even your own custom .NET applications that sit on top of the software. This way any customization you create can easily be removed so as not to affect the core capabilities of the software. This makes troubleshooting easy and does not compromise the integrity of the software.
Customizable Dashboards in FMS:Workplace
It takes a large portfolio of software applications to run a business. FM:Systems, while having multiple facilities-related software modules, does not try to be the gold source for other types of important company applications such as Human Resources (HR). Instead, FM:Systems has secure file transfers for bringing in this data or even exporting important gold source information about space or personnel assignments to workstations. In addition, they offer Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities through web services to exchange data safely and securely. These tools allow you to easily exchange information with other applications so that you can leverage other sources of data to allow FMS:Workplace to operate more effectively.
Imagine What’s Possible
So, you have a great toolkit with multiple ways to tailor it to the way you want it to work, now what are the possibilities? For almost 20 years AMS helped customers realize the vision they have for their FM:Systems software in all three areas of leveraging the platform.
The possibilities are endless with the toolkit available. Many customers start with simply making a form or workflow more streamlined and easiest to use. They also create better email events and reports for their existing modules.
Because of the out-of-the-box ability to create your own tables and views, customers have also brought manual forms & email requests that typically are managed with spreadsheets into FMS:Workplace. These include areas such as Furniture Requests, Mail Room Services, and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) forms and reports.
Even FM:Mobile’s home page and its views can be configured to allow for in-the-field request processing and data collection. This allows employees or facilities personnel to create, edit, and update content such as service requests and assets while away from their desks. It even includes the ability to include a photo taken from the mobile device!
For advanced features that the out-of-the-box toolkit cannot support, customization can work directly with FMS:Workplace while not changing the core software itself. At AMS, we thrive on helping companies achieve advanced capabilities in the software. These solutions can bring amazing features into FMS:Workplace.
One of our solutions that uses customization involves allowing users to create and manage more robust content for their FMS:Workplace home pages. The AMS solution Dynamix brings multiple “widgets” of content that allow FMS:Workplace administrators to layout their home pages without the need to create code for them. This keeps the theme of LC/NC going in FMS:Workplace and allows visually rich and functional content to be created quickly and maintained easily.
Another customization example is using a mobile app to add barcoding functionality to FM:Mobile. By creating an app from Android or iOS, AMS has essentially created a “wrapper” mobile app to host the FM:Mobile environment and bring additional features for barcode scanning to it. This allows field personnel to add, edit, and create work orders for assets by simply scanning their barcode!
To reduce data entry redundancies and inconsistencies, multiple hubs of source data can be exchanged with FMS:Workplace. Common examples of this include HR Systems such as PeopleSoft and Workday. However, for a better understanding of who is coming to the workplace, security badge data (e.g., S2 Security, C-CURE) can be imported or integrated-with in real-time, and reports can be created for it. This allows customers to better understand what types of workers and how departments are utilizing the space that is assigned to them.
A very popular integration nowadays is with Help Desk Ticketing Systems such as ServiceNow and Remedy. A simple formatted email to Remedy is an easy solution using the configurable email engine of FMS:Workplace. For even tighter integration, AMS has created bidirectional syncing with ServiceNow to push or pull data between systems. For example, you can have a move request in FMS:Workplace automatically create a ServiceNow ticket for IT or Telecom services to follow-up on. You can also field a service request in ServiceNow and have it automatically generate a maintenance work order in FMS:Workplace. Just about any workflow between the two applications can be created!
Finally, mobile workplace communication tools such as Slack and Modo Labs can be used to generate activities in FMS:Workplace. These mobile apps allow a common platform for employees to get information and make requests. For example, you can quickly type “facilities: light out” to get a work order created for a light bulb out using Slack. Using emerging popular workplace apps such as Modo Labs, you can create one-touch buttons or use forms to create service requests in the FMS:Workplace Maintenance Module. By integrating with these mobile tools you can allow employees to connect with facilities more easily and take care of issues more quickly.
Leveraging the Platform
You have made an investment in FM:Systems software and have a tool that is the most configurable IWMS on the market. Whether using configuration, customization, or integration, you can truly add additional value to your software and can leverage it to do more. After all, it has space, personnel, department, and floor plan data that can be used to support so many areas of the business. The question is “What more do you want your FM:Systems software to be doing?”.
About AMS CAD + CAFM Solutions
AMS CAD + CAFM Solutions (AMS) is a leading Premier Certified Business Partner with FM:Systems of 18 years that specializes in consulting, design, and implementation of facilities management software and technology solutions. AMS is a full-service, goals-oriented CAFM/IWMS implementer that partners with customers to bring them best-in-class FM applications. Our innovative solutions combined with our industry experience have helped many of FM:Systems’ largest and most successful customers including corporate facilities, pharmaceutical/research companies, higher education campuses, and health care institutions.
For more information visit http://www.amscad.com