Managing Your Facilities in a Modern World

I love my smart phone.  I have friends who still use flip phones.  When I ask them about it, I’m always a little careful.  People who use flip phones can be a little touchy.  If I ask why they don’t use a smart phone, they invariably tell me that the flip phone does everything they need; that they’re used to it; that they don’t need the complexity, bells, and whistles of a smart phone.  If I’m riding with them and use my phone to navigate, or use it to divide the tab at a restaurant, they’re very quiet.

I love Integrated Workplace Management Systems, ARCHIBUS specifically.  I know people who still use spreadsheets and a loose collection of other applications to manage their facilities.  They’re a little like my friends who use flip phones.  They say that spreadsheets do everything they need.  They’re familiar with spreadsheets.  They say they don’t need the bells and whistles that IWMS offers.  Fair enough.

A few months ago, I was visiting with a potential client to talk about implementing a comprehensive Personnel and Occupancy system.  We had a committee of people in the room.  Most were in favor of moving to ARCHIBUS.  A smaller group didn’t see the need.  That smaller group was comfortable with the current system of shared spreadsheets they had in place.

Each building on their large campus had an administrator who was responsible for maintaining the personnel locator spreadsheet and keeping it up to date.  They communicated by email or phone calls to coordinate their efforts, to be sure everyone had an appropriate work space and that there was no duplication.  We gathered the spreadsheets from a small sample of their buildings to do a pilot project, to show them how ARCHIBUS might help them.  When we loaded the data from the spreadsheets into ARCHIBUS, we got some interesting and surprising results.

Some enterprising staff members had taken advantage of the multiple sources of truth for employee locations.  Some had more than one desk or office in a building.  Some had offices in multiple buildings.
Without a single source of truth — an integrated Personnel and Occupancy system — it was impossible to stop people from assigning themselves the luxury of multiple offices.

Now, the Integrated Workplace Management System is fully implemented.  Some of those people still have more than one work space.  They have the political clout or the actual need for that flexibility.  But the space is managed and allocated to meet the goals and purposes of the organization, with consideration for the needs of individuals, of course.  The organization’s investments in real-estate, maintenance, and energy are being managed more effectively.  It’s easier to find people, to make connections, and collaborate.

My impression is that, in some ways, Integrated Workplace Management Systems and smart phones have a lot in common.  They help us manage our resources thoughtfully and purposefully in the face of complexity, change, and limited resources.  It’s possible to get along without IWMS or without a smart phone.  But why would anybody do that?

This week’s article was brought to you by one of our Executive Staff, Tawn.  Tawn is an incredibly valuable member of RSC.  He has 30+ years of experience in Architecture and provides useful insight.  His ability to communicate thoughtfully and thoroughly is one of his best assets


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