The FM Professional

IWMS Magic Quadrant: Uses and benefits for FMs

Darin Herle
December 14th, 2021

The IWMS Magic Quadrant is a critical tool that can help facility managers (FMs) select the best possible software for managing their organization. 

Like all tools, it will only help when it is used correctly. FMs need to understand what the Magic Quadrant can tell them—and what it can’t.

In the following article, we explore the IWMS Magic Quadrant. We also look at tips on how FMs can use it and other tools to find space management software to grow with their company.   

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What is an IWMS?

First, what does IWMS stand for? An Integrated Workplace Management System. 

An IWMS is the software platform that brings together all aspects of managing a facility and/or workspace into one easy-to-manage platform. It allows for the optimization of virtually all aspects of facilities management, including project management, asset management, lease management, service management, space planning, space management, and even energy management.

Workers can use IWMS functionality to book rooms and desks, find their way around the office, and better connect with colleagues. 

FMs can then collect and analyze data on how workers are actually using the office day-to-day. They can use this data to set benchmarking goals and make better-informed decisions. 

By streamlining diverse, crossdepartmenal tasks into one simple user interface, an IWMS can make life easier for both FMs and employees alike. 

Selecting the right IWMS

Facility managers have many choices to manage their workspaces: CAFM, IWMS, EAM, CMMS—it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless alphabet soup of software solutions.  

The decision-making process often comes down to IWMS vs CMMS, or Computerized Maintenance Management System. 

A CMMS is typically designed for organizations with heavy equipment and/or those that own their own corporate real estate, because it keeps track of maintenance tasks and data. 

However, unless you have specific maintenance needs, a CMMS is typically too specialized and not helpful for most office settings. 

As we’ll explore further below, IWMS benefits are typically the most numerous of all existing options. This is why integrated workplace management systems are quickly becoming the most popular workplace solution. 

Of course, organizations will only reap these benefits when they select the right IWMS platform for their needs. As the Magic Quadrant for Integrated Workplace Management Systems is designed to help them do.  

iwms software

What is the IWMS Magic Quadrant?

The IWMS Magic Quadrant is a research methodology from Gartner. It measures the effectiveness of current options from mainstream IWMS vendors. It acts like a market guide for Integrated Workplace Management Systems. 

Gartner, Inc. is a highly regarded US-based technology research firm. They use well-vetted experts and proprietary methodologies to offer insights and analysis in a wide variety of IT markets. Gartner research helps companies both big and small make more well informed decisions. They use what they call “a wide-angle view of the relative positions of the market’s competitors.”

When it comes to workspace software solutions, their Magic Quadrant for IWMS assesses companies on two broad categories:

Completeness of vision: how well a company innovates, and how well its products work and meet existing demands, while anticipating future ones

Ability to execute: long-term viability and whether a company has financing and is equipped on business issues

From there, the IWMS Magic Quadrant drills down into IWMS offerings on several key issues. FMs, organizations, and real estate teams can use this analysis to cut through the noise of the IWMS market. They can use it to find facilities management software that is right for their situation. 

What are the four quadrants of the IWMS magic quadrant?

While each market will have different concerns, IWMS Magic Quadrants are all structured the same. They have the following four quadrants: Challengers, Leaders, Niche Players, and Visionaries. 

Where a company falls within these four quadrants will depend on how well Gartner experts have ranked it on a variety of criteria. 

As you might guess, Magic Quadrant Leaders are those with the highest ability to execute and the most completeness of vision. 

Meanwhile, Visionaries have a strong vision for the future, but may be struggling somewhere in execution. 

Challengers tend to do better on the financial side of the spectrum than on vision and innovation. 

And Niche Players are on the lower end for both completeness of vision and ability to execute. This is often because they focus on a small segment of the market. 

Understanding these four quadrants can help FMs better understand the short term benefits and long term viability of any IWMS they are considering. 

How to use the IWMS Magic Quadrant

FMs looking to use the IWMS Magic Quadrant to pick their integrated workforce management software need to understand that it is simply one tool at their disposal. 

Just because an IWMS may be a ‘leader,’  for example, doesn’t mean it will be the best fit for your organization. 

And lower ranking Niche Players may provide a service that is practically tailor made for your needs. 

That’s why before making any decision on IWMS software, FMs should collaborate with their counterparts in HR and IT. That way, they can get a better picture of their current and potential future demands across departments. 

At the same time, they should speak with employees to see what tools would make their lives easier. 

And they should also make a deal-breaker list of required features that their IWMS solution must have. 

Once FMs have collected this data, they can then use tools like the IWMS Magic Quadrant as an extra resource to better assess their options. 

magic quadrant benefits

Benefits and features of using an IWMS

IWMS solutions can and should make all aspects of portfolio management and using the office easier.

Specifically, by improving space utilization, good integrated workplace management systems can help companies maximize their physical workspace, which can lead to cost savings as well as a reduced carbon footprint and improved building sustainability. 

By offering flexible tools to both FMs and employees, it can better enable the hybrid workforce, as well as improve the employee experience in general. 

Because it pools data from all aspects of facilities management, it can improve collaboration in the workplace across IT, HR, and FM teams. 

And this pooling of data can also help all departments to make better informed, holistic decisions to the benefit of everyone. 

That said, companies can only realize these benefits by using an IWMS that is truly ‘integrated’ and equipped to handle all aspects of managing and maintaining a facility.  

In other words, FMs should look for the following eleven features of IWMS:

1. Interactive floor plans

An overarching goal of an IWMS is to make facilities easier to use and navigate by everyone. First-and-foremost, interactive floor plans are therefore necessary.

A Visual Directory that lets everyone see where people and resources actually are in real time will be invaluable to all team members. Ideally, an IWMS will also allow for better wayfinding and integration with digital signage in the office. 

2. Move management capabilities

Another overarching goal of IWMS is to give FMs better tools to perform regular tasks like move management. 

Sometimes one or two employees need to switch desks, and sometimes, one or two whole departments need a large-scale relocation. 

In either case, a good IWMS will use tools like stack planning and interactive floor maps to make moves easier. 

For example, according to Sean Germano, Project Manager Design & Construction at Dropbox, “(a)t Dropbox, we use Move Manager to handle quick, one-off moves that happen almost daily—smaller reshuffles, seating new hires, terminations—and to orchestrate large-scale moves that involve in-depth planning and a variety of stakeholders.”

3. Health and safety features

One of Gartner’s criteria for the Magic Quadrant is how well a company sees where the future is heading and then innovates to get there faster. By this measure, IWMS that are preparing for a post-pandemic future are on the cutting edge. And nowhere is this more apparent than on health and safety offerings.  

We know from employee surveys that health and safety is now a primary concern for the majority of workers. 

We also know that vaccine mandates for companies of 100 or more employees, coming in January 2022, will create further strains for companies that are already struggling to meet regulations. 

And even as we return to the office in greater numbers, we can expect regulations to remain firmly in place for the foreseeable future. 

That’s why a new but critical necessity for an IWMS is adequate health and safety features. This includes simple ways to maintain social distancing

Companies can also benefit from a tool like Safeguard, which creates customizable COVID-19 wellness checks. 

For example, Syneos Health is using Safeguard to manage multiple locations across multiple jurisdictions. 

“With Safeguard, you can comply with local law in each jurisdiction much faster,” says Patrick Hoffman, SVP of Corporate Real Estate and Services at Syneos Health. “Otherwise, we would have had to manually check with anyone entering the facility. Safeguard provided a system to confirm and track compliance, and keep everyone safe.”

4. Desk booking

Desk booking is at the heart of IWMS, and an IWMS should be able to handle any flexible seating arrangement an organization can throw at it, be that agile working, activity-based working, free addressing, hoteling, reverse hoteling, hot desking, or anything else designed to maximize hybrid work.    

At the end of the day, an office only matters because it’s where employees gather to do work—it’s where the desks and workstations are . That’s why FMs should only consider an IWMS that has incredibly robust desk booking features that allow for flexible working and tailored setups. Employees should be able to check into and out of any number of desks, any number of times a day, all in real time.

5. Room booking

Of course, employees don’t just sit at desks all day. They will also need this unlimited flexibility when it comes to room booking.

Whether they need a conference or meeting room, a telephone booth for private calls, or a quiet space for the day, FMs need to select an IWMS that makes booking it simple. 

6. Request management

No one wants complicated work orders. This is why FMs should choose an IWMS that includes features to simplify request management. 

When request management capabilities are integrated with existing workspace software, it can be easier to submit and deal with requests in real time. According to Scott Moitoza, Senior Director of Real-Estate and Facilities at Procore, integrated request management has been helpful because “(b)eing able to submit and track facility requests quickly—just by typing /request into Slack—has been a game-changer for everyone in our company.”

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7. Real estate management

Modern FMs really have to ‘do it all,’ which today includes real estate portfolio management.

For this reason, they should choose an IWMS that allows for both real estate asset management and allocation and space optimization.   

8 Workplace sensor technology

This is another key feature of IWSM that falls under the ‘completeness of vision’ category of the IWMS Magic Quadrant. IoT sensors are becoming increasingly popular and integral to integrated facilities management. Facilities management teams should therefore look for platforms that can not only integrate with IoT sensors, but also maximize their usefulness. 

Even if an organization is not currently using workplace sensor technology, ensuring their IWMS can handle it is a smart way to future-proof their office. 

9. Third party integrations

The ultimate goal of any facilities management software is to help employees stay connected and productive. To accomplish this, integrated workplace management systems need to play nicely with any other critical tools and software a team is already using. 

This typically means an IWMS will ideally integrate with Slack and Microsoft Teams. It should also have an API and webhooks that make it easy to build custom integrations as necessary. 

Again, just like with IoT sensors, no one can predict what the future will bring for any organization. They may require new integrations in 6 months that aren’t on the radar now. That’s why FMs need to select an IWMS that can easily flow with any unexpected changes.  

10. Reports and analytics

The best IWMS platforms don’t just manage the office today. They help FMs better plan to manage the office tomorrow. That’s why FMs should only choose an IWMS that provides in-depth reporting and analytics that they can use to make better decisions going forward. 

11. Easily accessible

Finally, all members of a team will need access to certain features of integrated workforce management. That’s why the IWMS should be easily accessible by anyone, anywhere, any time. 

Remember that the workforce is becoming increasingly hybrid. It’s no longer a given that all workers will be in one space every day. That means that an IWMS can’t just be on one desktop in the office anymore.

One of the most important features of IWMS; therefore, is that it be cloud-based and accessible on a user-friendly mobile app

iwms evaluation

What criteria are used to evaluate the completeness of an IWMS?

The IWMS Magic Quadrant is a very helpful tool to evaluate the completeness of an IWMS. But FMs will also need to look at their own unique needs to assess the features of an IWMS accordingly. Each facility is unique and as such, has unique requirements.

IWMS deployment will work best when FMs select the right platform with the right features for their particular requirements. 

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Photos: Jason Goodman, Christin Hume, UX Indonesia, Amy Hirschi