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 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.
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:
Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)
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).
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 is space management important for organizations?
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!