The more your organization grows, the more unwieldy it becomes. Large enterprises have to manage resources for hundreds of thousands of employees across tens of thousands of locations. And every one of those locations has unique lease agreements to navigate, spaces to utilize, employee populations to satisfy, and construction projects to coordinate.
There’s a lot to keep track of. And while these business components heavily affect one another, they’re often managed in disparate systems, making it difficult to see the big picture and allocate resources efficiently. Cost savings opportunities fall through the cracks, and companies wind up paying expenses they weren’t responsible for or creating issues they could’ve avoided.
Businesses that want to use their infrastructure wisely need tools to organize location-specific information in meaningful ways. For that, companies turn to Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) software. These solutions may be individual products patchworked together or a single platform that addresses all facility-related needs, including solutions for business processes like:
- Space management
- Facility maintenance
- Lease administration and accounting
- Capital project management
- Real estate transactions
- Site planning and selection
- Deck booking/Hoteling
- Asset monitoring
In the past, IWMS software has been a complicated solution to these intimidating business problems. But modern IWMS solutions like Tango organize this information in intuitive, intelligent ways, empowering your organization to maximize the utility of your resources, optimize your locations, and manage your workplaces.
To help you understand the value and capabilities of IWMS software, this guide will explore:
- What IWMS software includes
- Who needs IWMS software
- The benefits of IWMS software
- How to compare IWMS software solutions
Let’s begin by taking a deeper dive into this vital enterprise solution.
An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is a suite of tools business leaders use to analyze and optimize their corporate offices or physical locations. Whether it’s a single platform or an amalgamation of separate software programs, IWMS software has traditionally been used for managing real estate acquisition and disposition, construction project management, lease administration & accounting, space management and facilities maintenance.
Some software companies specialize in a single aspect of IWMS software and develop solutions that integrate with other modules, while other companies, like Tango, produce comprehensive platforms that meet a wider range of real estate and facility-related needs. This can make exploring IWMS software a little confusing, as various solutions classify themselves as IWMS software even if they only solve a specific problem.
At Tango, we believe that the old definition of IWMS is outdated, and today’s organizations need greater visibility into and control over their locations.
IWMS is evolving with the modern workplace, encompassing a larger umbrella of tools related to facility management. A “workplace” isn’t simply an office, a warehouse, or store. It’s also a population of employees with specific needs and usage patterns. And to make the best use of your wealth of workplace data, you need artificial intelligence and machine learning to catch and predict the problems and opportunities human eyes miss. By adding geospatial and geographic information systems to the mix, you can gain much deeper insights into the market value of a location and how it could bolster your real estate portfolio.
With so many different components, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that several distinct roles utilize IWMS software. Real estate executives, facility managers, maintenance directors, lease administrators, lease accountants, controllers, design and construction executives, and their teams all need access to IWMS solutions.
These distinct use cases are one of the main reasons why many organizations have relied on modular solutions: if the director of lease administration is the only one advocating for IWMS solutions, it seems easier to simply select a lease management and accounting software.
A lease administrator wants to reduce time spent on compliance requirements, managing invoices, and monitoring renewal dates. A store developer wants better market planning insights to compare and evaluate possible locations. A workplace director wants better space optimization and utilization. And a maintenance director wants to manage assets, ensuring they are running properly, and prioritize work efficiently.
But while these roles may all use IWMS software for different purposes, they all benefit from having access to data from these other business areas. Real estate is one of your organization’s top five expenses, but it’s also a blind spot because this information isn’t elevated in other places, where non-lease- and real-estate-related roles have access to it.
If you don’t connect these disparate but related systems, business leaders and their teams wind up making decisions in a bubble without all of the relevant information, or they have to manually track down the person who has access to the information they need. One of the most cumbersome aspects of lease accounting , for example, is simply determining what qualifies as a lease. For instance, with software that tracks the lease renewal information, maintenance teams can make informed repair or replace decisions.
The more locations your business has or the more space you have to manage, the more critical IWMS software becomes.
By centralizing your real estate and facilities information, IWMS software brings many benefits to your business. When you equip your organization to make better use of your resources, it ensures that:
- Spaces get used more efficiently
- Employees are happier with their workplace
- You can lower occupancy-related costs
- Streamline facilities processes
Real estate is a huge operating expense. Unfortunately, it’s also an area where most businesses have significant waste—they frequently have unused space. Organizations are getting better about tracking space utilization metrics, but it takes IWMS software to organize this data in ways you can actually use.
While you may have designed your workplace with an intentional space management strategy in mind, if you want to maximize space utilization—balancing occupancy and vacancy rates and ensuring your supply of space always meets the demand for space—part of space management has to be reactive. You need to adjust to the evolving needs of your workforce and your organization’s goals.
This is especially important in hybrid workplaces, where demand for space fluctuates more often, and employees expect greater flexibility. As employees alternate between working from home and coming to campus, workplaces may need to increase or decrease hoteling space throughout the week.
Unused space is a wasted resource with a massive price tag. It’s also a signal that there’s likely a more useful way to allocate these rooms or workstations. And as occupancy rates increase, you may need to acquire more space (or modify your work-from-home policy to continue growing. IWMS gives you visibility into space utilization and the tools you need to make adjustments.
When demand for certain types of spaces and equipment exceeds the supply, it’s harder for employees to be productive. They may have to wait to use the resources they need to meet a deadline, launch a promotion, or collaborate with team members. This adds undue stress to daily operations at your workplace and can create anxiety and frustration as employees look for alternative ways to meet their needs or simply fall behind.
If you use Internet of Things devices like Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) strips, blurred vision cameras, and other sensors, IWMS can also recognize when a space is becoming too crowded. This helps you spot problem areas before employees complain (and in some cases, they might never tell you about the issue), so you can deploy better wayfinding or modify your existing space to reduce congestion.
By incorporating survey tools with your IWMS, you can regularly collect employee feedback about your workplaces. This data is often separate from facility management decisions, but you should always be cognizant of how choices about space affect your workforce. Their responses can also help you gauge whether your space configurations are meeting your current goals and your employees’ ideal working conditions.
You want your employees to be productive. And the more you can remove barriers to productivity in the workplace and meet their daily needs, the happier your employees will be about where and how they work. Efficiently managing your space and considering the impact on employees can significantly reduce employee turnover and make your employees harder for other companies to poach.
Sometimes unused space doesn’t need to be reallocated. If you already have all the space you need, and you have enough left over, that could represent an opportunity to downsize your real estate portfolio. As long as you have the room you need to grow—or you don’t plan on growing—why pay for space your business isn’t going to use? IWMS gives you a high level view of each location’s space utilization, so you can tell when there are rooms and spaces you simply don’t need.
When you have easy access to occupancy, vacancy, and utilization rates, you may also find that you don’t have to pay for additional space as your business grows or you need new types of spaces. Maybe there’s a conference room that rarely gets used, which could easily be converted to office space. Or perhaps your employees aren’t using as much hoteling space as you thought they’d need, so you can reconfigure this space for a new amenity everyone has been requesting.
In each area IWMS software encompasses, it equips you to reduce costs and avoid unnecessary expenses. By streamlining lease administration and accounting, your lease department can save hundreds or even thousands of hours a year on tedious tasks that don’t demand your employees’ expertise and skills.
When a piece of equipment fails or a roof needs repairs, convenient access to the location’s lease information lets the maintenance director see if the business is responsible for these repairs or if the lease is even being renewed. Why spend $100,000 on a new roof when you’re not going to stay in the building to benefit from it?
With deeper visibility into space utilization and lease information, IWMS software can significantly reduce your organization’s CAPEX and OPEX. By catching a single savings opportunity you would’ve missed, this tool can truly pay for itself.
Selecting an IWMS software solution isn’t easy. There are hundreds of vendors offering point-solutions and individual modules you can piecemeal together. And there are numerous “complete” IWMS solutions that define IWMS based on what they can and can’t offer your business. Ultimately, you need to select a solution that supports your organization’s specific needs and goals.
Here are a few of the best ways to evaluate your options.
The first consideration represents one of the biggest differences you’ll find between vendors: are they offering you a point solution that needs to integrate with other modules to do everything you need, or a single end-to-end solution? It might be tempting to simply select a module at a time, gradually building an IWMS that does it all.
But this Frankenstein’s monster of software will have you working with multiple companies for support and learning to navigate multiple user interfaces. Each comes with its own legal contracts and goals. Rather than a single vendor working to meet each of your needs, you have multiple vendors competing for a larger share of your budget and time.
It’s also worth noting: comprehensive solutions like Tango still allow you to select the individual modules that are most relevant to your business. The difference is that it all lives on a single platform, and you only manage a relationship with a single vendor.
IWMS software is already a large, complex tool. Piecing together different programs from different vendors can make it a lot harder to maximize the value of your investment.
With traditional IWMS software, you continually have to upgrade to new versions on a regular basis, and since these infrequent updates are much more cumbersome, you often have to wait for major feature releases and updates, rather than simply receiving them as they become ready.
Tango is fully multi-tenant cloud-based IWMS software. Our cloud-native solution lowers the total cost of ownership by eliminating the need to continually purchase upgrades, and it enables you to utilize new features as they become available much more frequently.
ASC 842 has completely changed corporate lease accounting. In addition to altering how you classify leases and complete accounting documentation, ASC 842 requires businesses to achieve accounting compliance under the new rules—which can consume many hours of your lease department’s time.
Modern IWMS solutions can drastically reduce time spent on compliance by collecting and correctly formatting relevant information, and by automatically performing key calculations for your team. Tango Lease is fully compliant with ASC 842, but not all lease accounting software is.
Most IWMS vendors consider predictive analytics a separate technology, but artificial intelligence and machine learning have major applications across the entire real estate and facilities lifecycle. AI can recognize patterns in your data and organize it in meaningful ways, enabling you to discover new insights and identify the best course of action sooner.
You can use predictive analytics to forecast future location performance, let AI automatically reconfigure your space according to your parameters and goals, and create data-driven models for understanding your business and market. All this and more is possible with Tango AI and Tango Predictive Analytics—two core components of our IWMS solution.
Tango is a purpose-built IWMS solution serving the world’s leading enterprises. Whether you have dozens of locations or tens of thousands, we’ll give you the tools to manage your real estate portfolio more effectively. From store development to space management, lease administration and accounting, facilities maintenance, office booking, and more, Tango has your business covered.
There’s no need to string together separate modules from different vendors, juggling multiple contracts and relationships. This single platform has everything you need.
Want to see it for yourself?