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Which Is Better? | Facility Management (FM) Software vs. IWMS Solutions

June 14, 2021

When it comes to choosing facility management solutions, most leaders explore a variety of platform options such as:

The right solution for your organization will ultimately depend on your specific needs. In this blog post, we explore some of the differences between IWMS solutions and FM software—and which is better for you.

IWMS Solutions vs. FM Software

IWMS Solutions

An IWMS is a management system that helps maximize workplace resources and acts as a single repository for management information. This includes some components of facility operations management as well as real estate portfolio and space management. IWMS solutions typically have a foundation in space and workplace management, with some supporting maintenance and other facility management functions.

IWMS solutions act as a database that helps optimize the use of workplace resources.

FM Software

FM software supports facility operations managers and their teams to manage, monitor, and maintain their facilities. Basic software can handle maintenance and asset management, while more advanced software solutions can support capital planning, facility compliance, and location-based asset mapping. FM software serves as a platform to enable IoT, big data, and AI predictive models that support even more proactive workflows.

FM software centralizes all built environment data for streamlined management and automated analysis.

Which Is Better?

IWMS solutions and FM software have some comparable features:

  • Work order management
  • Preventive maintenance schedules
  • Asset management
  • Service request portals
  • Inspection programs

The main differences between the two solutions lie in the types of data facility managers can gather and, most importantly, what their core focus is. IWMS solutions act more like a database repository, managing your workplace resources, while FM software focuses on the built environment and tasks related to your buildings themselves.

If you are looking for software that can streamline your facilities’ tasks, then a modern FM solution is the best option for you. Accurate facility analysis provides the prioritization data leaders need to communicate with stakeholders and set the foundation to revolutionize and optimize facility operations.

Remember, not all facility management is created equal.

As an FM software provider, we’ll admit a slight bias, but we believe that FM software meets more of the needs of facility managers than many IWMS solutions. We also believe that not all FM software is created equal. Whether or not a particular solution meets your organization’s needs will depend on your unique facility characteristics and the capabilities of the platform you select.

Before we dive into all the reasons why FM software is essential to modernizing your operations, it’s important to first size up traditional facility management and examine its shortcomings.

Traditional Facility Management

Facility management leaders have traditionally made strategic decisions based on data collected from a mix of disjointed sources: siloed digital databases, old metal filing cabinets, and piles of sticky notes. Using these disparate data gathering methods means essential asset information is continuously falling through the cracks. With so much critical data going to waste, getting a complete picture of your buildings and portfolio is impossible. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Modern solutions provide a consolidated, streamlined platform to organize and analyze your troves of scattered data points.

Current Challenges

To say that facility leaders have a lot on their plates is a gross understatement. Executives weigh countless risk factors vying for attention, and budget goals are seldom stationary targets. Directors’ days are no less hectic, and they end up spending most of their time putting out fires and trying to keep up with baseline maintenance.

As a result, communication with upper management and strategic planning are often not as effective as they could and should be. To gain traction and establish control, leaders must re-examine their facility operations from a high level and find ways to combat being chronically short-staffed and underfunded.

Traditional solutions make it nearly impossible to accurately communicate facility needs.

The Core of the Problem: Bad Data

Many organizations make the critical mistake of tackling staffing and budgeting challenges separately. However, most of these challenges can be traced back to one common issue: bad data. Failing to address the processes that produce outdated, incorrect, or inaccessible data results in a never-ending reactive cycle.

IWMS facility management - IWMS solutions - cycle

The only way to break this cycle is to modernize facility management. By revamping operations with a modern facility management platform, you optimize data gathering to support preventive maintenance and bridge communications from facilities directors to upper management. Facility management software analyzes critical facility data to produce actionable insights, unlike IWMS solutions that primarily act as a database repository.

Improve Operations with Modern Facility Management

Facility management operations have been run the same way for decades. These outdated processes are hindering facility leaders from effectively communicating their needs. It’s time to revamp with solutions that:

  • Improve data collection: Effective facility management tools modernize your operations by first digitizing your traditional process. Then, silos between departments can be eliminated for a more comprehensive view of what’s going on in your facilities. Having immediate access to accurate data improves critical and strategic decision-making from maintenance managers up to the C-suite.
  • Shift operations from reactive to preventive: FM solutions give technicians the tools they need to work more efficiently. This increased efficiency means routine maintenance is handled regularly, significantly reducing emergency maintenance firefighting. This transition moves facility managers toward preventive maintenance practices, with prioritization determined by a real-time flow of accurate facility data.
  • Bridge generational gaps: It can be challenging to balance generational, communication, and skill differences across a facility team. However, FM solutions can take advantage of each generation’s strengths to improve communication, streamline workflows, and capture institutional knowledge.

FM solutions support your team with accurate data that improves communication and empowers strategic decision-making.

Take a Comprehensive Approach with Facility Management

Take a more comprehensive facility management approach by incorporating innovative, efficiency-boosting concepts into your strategy. A robust platform, like AkitaBox, will provide you with the tools you need to modernize your operations:

Capture crucial data through location-based asset management. With a 360° real-time view of facility operations, teams complete tasks quickly and correctly.

Manage maintenance activities through a single portal that centralizes work orders, service requests, and maintenance actions. This level of transparency maximizes efficiency and moves your facility operations from reactive to preventive.

Master budgetary strategy with capital management tools that use that same accurate facility data to communicate budgetary needs to key stakeholders, leading to more informed strategic decisions.

Breeze through inspections with easy-to-use tools that transform burdensome compliance requirements into manageable tasks.

IWMS facility management - IWMS solutions - ipad

Facility Management of the Future

The future of facility management is data-driven. Bridging the gap between generations as well as between management and key stakeholders is a must. If your facility management solution is lagging, AkitaBox can pull you into the 21st century with powerful integrated tools that support the ongoing modernization of your facilities:

AkitaBox is the foundational facility management solution leaders need to modernize operations and support automated predictive maintenance with IoT, big data, and AI. Transform your facility management with connected, modern tools that unlock operational excellence.



If you have any questions about how our solutions can support your facility goals

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Betsy Francoeur

Betsy is AkitaBox's Content Manager. She loves to write blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, emails, and magazine articles about all things facilities management. She also enjoys traveling, running 5ks, and cuddling with her dog.

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