What’s CAFM or IWMS and why do you need it?
You might know the old name Computer Assisted Facility Management (CAFM). The newer name is Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). Both the IWMS and the CAFM systems are a combination of different technologies and databases; Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Models (BIM) and Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS). Many of today’s software systems are web based, allowing a combination of technology and databases for easier remote access.
This supports the work of Facility Management. The software might be used to book a room. It could be to maintain critical equipment. They are at once complex and streamlined. If implemented well, these systems can support the work of real estate management, project management, facilities and space management, maintenance management, and environmental sustainability. But no matter what system is implemented, it’s as good as the information that goes into it and the people who use it.
CAD or no CAD?
Traditionally, CAFM or IWMS systems have been combined with computer aided design (CAD) and a relational database specific to the discipline of facilities management. But more and more systems have moved away from a graphical interface using CAD, instead opting for a more database driven system.
There are pros and cons with both routes. The latter enables more ‘non CAD’ specialists to be able to access and utilise the software more readily, which leaves the specialised work of graphical space management and design to other specialists. But as graphical software develops, the accessibility to much simpler systems have taken over, and now there is no real disadvantage with respect to have a CAFM or IWMS system that does not have a CAD interface.
What’s in a CAFM / IWMS system?
CAFM systems consist of a variety of technologies and information sources that may include object oriented database systems, CAD systems, Building Information Models (BIM), and interfaces to other systems such as a Computerised Maintenance Management System. Today, most CAFM systems are web based and provide a host of features including facilities related to scheduling and analysis capabilities. Data may be collected from a variety of sources through technology interfaces or human transfer processes. Data may be stored, retrieved, and analysed from a single data store.
Being able to easily source and manage your data has an enormous impact on your day-to-day operation as well as your business planning.
This technology aides with reporting systems for compliance, scenario building and space optimisation. It enables your FM team to be better placed to judge how much a project will cost with less room for error. Most FM systems should communicate with Enterprise Resource Platforms (ERPs) such as SAP, Oracle Finance, as well as exchanging information with systems such as Building Management Systems (e.g., BMS systems). Solutions available in the marketplace can be server or cloud based, but in most cases require customisation despite what the marketing material may state.
Our approach is always based around the needs of our client’s business with solutions driven by the activity and functional requirements of the facility in CAFM IWMS. If you’re looking for practical support, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss the various options available for you.