4 Facility Management Software Acronyms… What They Actually Mean

Todd Moore| March 22, 2018

Ever set out to buy facility management software only to end up lost in a sea of vague acronyms? If so, this post is for you. We’ll review (in order) the following types of facility management software and systems:

EAM: Enterprise asset management

IWMS: Integrated workplace management system

CAFM: Computer-aided facility management

BMS: Building management system

Part of what makes understanding the options available in the facility management software space so difficult is the overlap among the various solutions. To shed some light on that—in addition to defining these terms—we’ll also discuss the relationships between the systems.

Enterprise Asset Management Software

EAM software is primarily designed to help organizations manage physical assets such as equipment, facilities, and vehicles. It’s most often used in industries that rely on expensive physical assets. Think utility, oil and gas, or shipbuilding companies. However, enterprise asset management may also cover supporting business functions like payroll, human resources and finance.

EAM software’s broad scope means that most other facility management software could be considered a subset of EAM software. For example, a maintenance management solution may exist on its own, but it could also exist as just one feature of an EAM software solution.

According to Gartner, a research and advisory company that provides insights on information technology, considers the EAM software market “very mature.” Their analysts say that EAM software is differentiated by its usability, scalability and industry-specific support.

Integrated Workplace Management System

If EAM software manages the organization’s entire “asset galaxy,” then an IWMS helps manage the “real estate solar system.” IWMS software integrates the following five core areas (think of them as “planets”) of corporate real estate management:

  1. Capital Project Management: This includes actions focused on capital improvements that range from reconfiguration of existing facilities to expansion to new locations.
  2. Real Estate Portfolio and Lease Management: Similar to capital project management, this area addresses the regular financial management of a real estate portfolio. Specific functions include lease administration, tax management, and analytics.
  3. Facilities Management: This core area broadly covers the functions related to workplace management, security, health and safety, and site services.
  4. Maintenance Management: If you’ve used a CMMS, you’re familiar with this core area. This function is made up of activities like preventive/reactive maintenance; vendor, inventory, and warranty management; and compliance.
  5. Environmental Sustainability: A core area that’s rapidly growing, sustainability is related to the optimization of energy management and reporting practices.

Why is it so important that these core areas (or “planets”) are integrated? Consider this real-life scenario: maintenance is scheduled for a certain room, but there’s an important client meeting happening in the office above that room. If there’s an IWMS in place, workplace and maintenance management is integrated, so the facility manager would have immediate visibility into this kind of conflict. He or she could schedule the maintenance for another time and let the meeting proceed in peace.

From day-to-day facility administration to real estate asset management, an IWMS allows organizations to function more effectively.

Computer-aided Facility Management Software

Sticking with the space analogy, CAFM’s function is directly related to Planet #3 and Planet #4 in the “real estate solar system” that IWMS software manages.

CAFM software can serve a wide variety of functions, from workplace utilization to maintenance management. A point solution, like a computerized maintenance management system, would fall into the larger category of Computer-aided Facility Management. Similarly, mobile facilities dashboards, which centralize critical facility information, could also be considered a subset of CAFM.

The fundamental difference between CAFM and IWMS is that CAFM centralizes information about the facility, while IWMS centralizes information about the entire real estate portfolio.

Building Management System

Building management systems are made up of building management software and hardware that controls and monitors HVAC, power, fire, and security systems. The core benefit of this system is that it enables facility managers to operate the building more cost-effectively while ensuring optimum occupant comfort.

Features of building management software will vary, but most will enable facility managers to centralize control of lighting, air conditioning, and/or safety systems. Another common solution, building automation software (BAS), is a subset of building management software. BAS, in its simplest form, is software that automates control of the systems that are connected to a building management system.

Last Word on Facility Management Software

The most significant downfall with these systems is that they require a large commitment of resources to implement successfully—regardless of the type of software. Moreover, these systems often require heavy customization to meet the facility manager’s needs, which vary by industry.

Neither of these challenges with traditional facility management software is an issue with ARC Facilities. Facility managers rely on our army of construction document and digital information experts to provide their teams with a ready-to-use, intuitive interface of facility information.

And because we’ve been helping engineers, architects, and contractors design and build for decades, we know what information you need to operate a better building. Check out how it works in the video below.

About the author

Todd Moore National Director – Facilities Solutions, ARC

Todd Moore has presented at numerous industry-related events with a focus on helping organizations better manage their facility information. Todd shares Facility best practices in Healthcare, Municipalities, K-12 School Districts, Universities, Federal Agencies, Manufacturing, Retail and Private Owner Groups while providing key takeaways that can be put into practice in your industry vertical.

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