Markets and Trends

Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) for the Post-Pandemic Reality

Understand major trends influencing integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) in the new IDC MarketScape report with Juliana Beauvais.
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Following the initial scramble to deploy short-term “return to work” solutions, organizations are stepping back to reassess their overall workplace strategies as they move from crisis to recovery and resiliency. Over the next year, two-thirds of companies will invest in automation related to their facilities. How well does your integrated workplace management system (IWMS) support automation in your post-pandemic reality? One in five companies worldwide will add new task applications, or TaskApps, to address needs uncovered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you in need of new workplace management applications?

Companies tell IDC that they are taking time to reevaluate space design and assess their real estate portfolios across offices, campuses, branches, retail outlets, healthcare facilities, warehouses, and industrial sites. Organizations realize they now need a digital transformation strategy for facility management, supported by a robust set of workplace management tools to give them flexibility and resiliency.

IDC recently published the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Integrated Workplace Management System 2020–2021 Vendor Assessment. This IDC MarketScape helps functional and IT teams with their software vendor evaluation process. The intent behind an IWMS is to bring together disparate functions across facility management, workplace services, real estate, space planning, and operations, onto one system. Using a single enterprisewide application enables teams to standardize workflows, reduce duplication, share information, and ultimately make decisions collaboratively.

Charting New Workplace Management Priorities

By its nature, an IWMS has a broad remit with competing demands. One of the biggest internal challenge is pleasing a diverse set of constituents across all the functional areas covered by an IWMS. Based on conversations with workplace management software end users and application vendors, IDC observes three overarching workplaces trends, which will drive new workplace management priorities:

  • Comply with changing health and safety requirements: The global COVID-19 pandemic elevated the awareness and importance of worker health in all sectors. Employees are more conscious about the ramifications of air circulation, sanitization, and shared physical objects. In addition, government regulators may require compliance with new health and safety practices. The workplace of the future will better monitor environmental factors, increase transparency in cleaning practices, and help occupants navigate efficiently throughout the space, and enforce company policy around building entry.
  • Better support remote/hybrid workers, regardless of location: Organizations are rethinking the services and technologies provided to employees, regardless of their location. When the pandemic hit, many employees took items from the company facility home, bought work equipment with their own money, or used company stipends for home office purchases. Now, companies are considering options such as satellite hubs or vendor machines to disburse equipment. To handle more fluid circumstances, organizations need to update their old facility and asset management policies and systems, which were based on most people being in the same physical workplaces.
  • Reconfigure workplaces and technology to promote collaboration: IDC clearly sees a move to the workplace as a gathering place to socialize and work closely with colleagues. As a result, offices might increase meeting and reservable spaces and reduce the number of assigned desks, while still providing adequate spaces for those primarily working onsite. Employees, contractors, and visitors coming into the office intermittently will need convenient, reliable ways to ensure they have the spaces available for the day’s work and awareness of who else is onsite.

The Future of IWMS is Cloud, Automated, and Mobile

Where are IWMS applications headed? Modern SaaS and cloud-based IWMS applications can help orchestrate faster data-driven decision making, automate business processes, and deliver on mobile requirements. Several key factors to consider when evaluating IWMS applications include:

  • Hybrid work accelerates SaaS and cloud adoption: More hybrid workers mean people need access to critical systems any time and any place. Organizations are increasing cloud enterprise application investments for ease of deployment, configurability, and scalability. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted businesses, real estate and facility management teams already deploying cloud applications could quickly adapt to changing conditions, access critical business information, and immediately deploy new tools released by software vendors.
  • COVID-19 drives more automated and contactless workflows: The pandemic was a wakeup call for digital laggards. Too many workplace and facility management teams still rely on manual or semi-automated processes. Increase automation by looking for areas where users are performing data entry or leaving the IWMS to complete a task, such as updating seating charts or work order tracking. To further improve occupant health and safety, organizations must decide if, when, and how to upgrade assets, systems, and workflows to touchless and contactless alternatives.
  • End users expect human-centric mobile solutions: After a year of sitting at home and using mobile apps and smart home technology, people are questioning why technology at work is so different from their personal lives. IDC predicts that by 2022, 75% of organizations will use mobile solutions to improve unstructured data collection at the point of activity, better support remote/hybrid workers, and optimize resource productivity. Organizations will seek ways to satisfy workers’ demands for more consumer-like experiences such as virtual assistants and voice interfaces.

Explore More IWMS Trends in IDC’s MarketScape Report

The IDC MarketScape report uses a comprehensive framework to assess these vendors relative to a set of criteria that explain both short-term and long-term success in the IWMS market. The research methodology applies a rigorous scoring methodology based on quantitative measures, qualitative vendor briefings, and customer references. The nine integrated workplace management system vendors evaluated in this MarketScape report are:  Accruent, Archibus, FM:Systems, IBM, Nuvolo, Planon, SpaceIQ, Tango, and Trimble.

Organizations typically make a multiyear commitment to their IWMS applications because the costs to migrate the data, configure and customize workflows, integrate with adjacent systems, and train a broad user base is too high. Thus it is vital to evaluate the software vendor’s strategy, road map, and responsiveness to customer feedback in addition to the vendor’s present features and functionality.

Read the entire IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Integrated Workplace Management System 2020–2021 Vendor Assessment here:

Research Manager, Enterprise Applications