What Is IWMS ― and Why Is It Important?

Companies often use dozens of point solutions to run their day-to-day business, addressing only a single functional activity at a time. 

To get insight into the bigger picture for more efficiencies and better decision-making, companies attempt to transfer data between these systems ― a manual task that can be virtually impossible to accomplish consistently. This integration effort either strains existing resources or leads to new staff being hired, negatively impacting the bottom line. To overcome these challenges, leading companies are choosing centralized software solutions to address the full range of integrated workplace management system (IWMS) functionality. 

Integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) software solutions integrate multiple platforms and help organizations drive operational improvements through the centralization of real estate and facilities data. This integrated approach allows organizations to contain costs and offers a holistic approach to space planning and space management.

  Definition call-out box: IWMS, or integrated workplace management systems, are the software platforms facilities teams and building occupants use to drive operational improvements through the centralization of real estate and facilities data.

What Functional Areas Does IWMS Cover?

An integrated workplace management system generally includes the following key components:

  • Space scheduling and workplace management: Workplace management capabilities help users simplify their space scheduling by providing one tool from which users can visualize and manage their desks, rooms, services, and other resources. When deployed correctly, the right tool can help students, employees, and administrators navigate spaces, improve space utilization, manage room reservations, and more.
  • Space planning, space management, and facilities management: Space planning and facility management software tools allow you to track and update physical space information at multiple levels in the location hierarchy, providing visibility into the use of space across your organization. By tracking categorical information, allocations for cost chargeback, assets located in a space, and maintenance occurring within a space, you gain a hub of spatial data for enterprise resource planning.
  • Maintenance management: With a robust computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), users can manage work orders, extend the life of assets, maximize uptime, prioritize preventive maintenance, and stay on top of plant safety.
  • Real estate lease management and lease accounting: Lease management/lease administration and lease accounting tools help users manage their real estate portfolio, lower real estate costs, and maintain compliance with changing GASB, IASB, and FASB lease accounting standards. In addition, real estate transaction management software manages the real estate transaction lifecycle.
  • Real estate market planning: Marketing planning and site selection software leverages real-time analytics and compresses site selection cycle times. 
  • Capital project management: Capital project management software (CPMS) centralizes key data ― including building blueprints, costs, schedules, and more — that helps users stay on top of real estate costs and plan for future real estate needs or capital investments.
  • Sustainability and energy management: Today, good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is more important than ever. The right tool can help users improve their energy management by helping track consumption and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint.

How Does an IWMS Work?

While IMWS solutions encompass a broad range of functions and capabilities, organizations typically begin by implementing a few modules at a time so they can better meet their priorities and resources. For example, an organization might start off with facilities management or real estate management components, then add space scheduling components for a more holistic approach to managing their workplace. These integrated modules offer a single source of truth with features such as comprehensive dashboards that users can drill into for deeper insights.

Why Do I Need an IWMS?

IWMS solutions offer a variety of benefits:


Increased efficiency

An IWMS powered by powerful space management software can help you gain insight into your space utilization, occupancy, time spent in rooms, and other key metrics. Use this information to identify inefficiencies, improve processes, organize budgets, and increase the effectiveness of your rooms and spaces.


Support for flexible work

Desk, room, and space scheduling systems help hybrid workers find the spaces they need to get work done when they’re in the office. An IWMS with a space scheduling component gives employees peace of mind they will have a comfortable and efficient work environment while also making for better in-person collaboration.


Lowered costs

An IWMS can lead to proven cost savings in areas such as better space management, streamlined lease administration, increased data transparency, optimized portfolio sizing, and overall process improvements.


Streamlined compliance

By centralizing processes, documentation, and reporting, an IWMS system can simplify compliance with standards and regulations, including GASB, IFRS, and FASB lease accounting standards.


Data-driven decision-making

Big decisions must be backed by data. Thanks to comprehensive reporting, dashboards, KPI tracking, and more, the right IWMS can help businesses access important information and make informed, accurate business decisions.


Increased Transparency

An IWMS can increase transparency into things like:

  • Portfolio size and value
  • Space occupancy and usage
  • Lease contracts
  • Planned maintenance activity

This can help you maintain control over your operations, decease inefficiencies, identify areas of growth, and more.


Improved space utilization

Use real-time data in your IWMS software to:

  • Understand your utilization
  • Identify opportunities
  • Decrease your real estate footprint
  • Increase the flexibility of your workspaces
  • Maximize employee efficiency

Who Is Responsible for IWMS?

Typically, no one person is “in charge” of their organization’s IWMS because it touches many different aspects of the business. But some of the roles of those responsible for various facets of an IWMS include:

  • Facility Manager/Property Manager/Real Estate Manager 
  • Operations/Administrative Coordinator 
  • Director of Facilities  
  • Facilities Management Engineer 
  • Warehouse Manager  
  • Space Manager/Coordinator  
  • Director of Construction/Projects/Real Estate  
  • Real Estate Manager
  • CFO/Controller  
  • Lease Administrator/Lease Accountant 
  • Director of Conference Center/Events 
  • Director of Campus Life 
  • Director of IT/IT Project Manager  
  • Service Manager 
  • Registrar/Associate Registrar/Assistant Registrar 
  • Workplace Strategist
  • Head of Sustainability 
  • Head of Operations

What Is IWMS Software?

IWMS software is the set of tools and applications behind your organization’s integrated workplace management systems. In many ways, the term “IWMS software” is redundant, because IWMS implies systems that are integrated into a software platform. The best IWMS software seamlessly connects systems and helps an organization run their facilities more effectively.

How Is IWMS Changing?

We are in a time of evolution in the IWMS world. About 20 or so years ago, organizations with IWMS often were dealing with less-than-smooth interfaces and manual tasks like document uploads. As IWMS vendors increased their offerings, IWMS systems integrated with an increasing number of other systems, such as sensors and smart building IoT. The IWMS space is constantly evolving, with one top analyst predicting IWMS will give way to “connected portfolio intelligence platforms (CPIP).”

What Else Should I Know? An FAQ

Is CAFM the same as IWMS?

No. In some cases, organizations use the terms “computer-aided facility management” and “integrated workplace management system” interchangeably, but they are not the same. CAFM focuses on maintenance, occupancy, and supporting facility management. Some of the key components of CAFM software are facilities data analysis, evaluating systems for preventive maintenance, providing multiple ways to visualize complex facilities data, and other tools for enhanced planning of maintenance decisions and work orders.

What about CMMS Software?

Computerized maintenance management software, or CMMS, is a computer software program designed to manage facilities maintenance more effectively. CMMS software is often part of an organization’s IWMS, but an IWMS system includes broader functionality.

What is IWMS facility management software?

IWMS facility management software is a subset of IWMS that covers maintaining an organization’s buildings, equipment, and assets, but it does not include additional areas such as space scheduling or real estate lease management.

Learn More

Want to find out how an IWMS can help your organization? Learn more about our IWMS solutions.