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Facility Management (FM) Glossary and Abbreviation Meanings

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Space Management and Facility Management (FM) Glossary and Abbreviation Meanings

Facility Management is a complex field and, as such, it requires the use of complex terminology. That means you’ll see some acronyms crop up as you’re working through the logistics of managing and moving your new office space real estate. Information is the key to successful facility management, and you don’t want to be left scratching your head at an alphabet soup of acronyms.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common Space and Facility Management terms and review what they mean so you can be sure to stay ahead of the curve as you plan moves, manage employees, carry out a successful space inventory and space utilization of the additional space and facilities in your office. You may also see some of these terms as you work with SpaceIQ’s workplace management platform, so let’s dive in and explore this vocabulary as your first step toward facility management success.

Building Automation System (BAS)

A building automation system (BAS) combines everything from HVAC and lighting to security alarms and AV features into a single system that operates within an office or building. This centralized system uses computer-controlled automation to manage the operation of all of the various components included in the BAS. When combined with sensors and other automation technology, a BAS can eliminate the need for human control over various systems. This means that an office can program their BAS to turn lights on and off at specific times of the day or in response to input from a motion sensor. Because a BAS uses computer network technology to control all of its various elements, security can be a major concern to prevent outside interference with the BAS’s integrated systems and settings.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Building information modeling (BIM) is a helpful resource for Facility Management, Workplace Management, and Space Management activities. Organizations that make use of BIM get to see computerized renderings using management software of a building, office space or room’s physical features and interactive characteristics. These are typically two-dimensional diagrams that provide a simple visual reference for the space in question. Essentially, these are small maps of a specific interior or exterior space. At their most useful, BIM diagrams are interactive and allow users to make changes in layout and employee seat assignments with a few mouse clicks rather than requiring time-consuming procedures such as polylining.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Computer-aided design (CAD) is a process by which designers draw up specific plans using a computer. With CAD, a designer can create a realistic 3D model of anything from a small toy to a complete office building. In the context of an IWMS program, CAD is useful for providing precise floorplan diagrams and other realistic elements that represent the physical space in the office and allow users to gain a high-level view of the space they’re working with. CAD diagrams can be created to perfect scale and dimension in order to reflect the exact shape, size and features of a room, which allows for effective space planning without the use of paper blueprints.

Computer-Assisted Facility Management (CAFM)

Computer-Assisted Facility Management is a revolution in the way FM tasks are carried out. Rather than tracking assets and employees on paper, organizations can now use digitized CAFM programs to easily track, manage, visualize and conceptualize all of the physical elements of an office. CAFM programs make pen-and-paper management and even computerized spreadsheets a thing of the past. CAFM programs focus on space planning and optimization and asset management, and are particularly useful while executing facility moves.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) allow an organization to use a single digitized reporting and recording system for anything relating to maintenance needs in the office. These systems make the process of reporting and addressing physical maintenance problems easier for the employees or managers reporting the problems they observe or experience, which can theoretically lead to more frequent and prompt reporting than a traditional in-person or paper reporting system. CCMS tools also allow maintenance staff to quickly see what needs to be fixed to facilitate better planning and make the acquisition of necessary supplies easier as well.

Facility Management (FM)

The Facility Management process is a broad discipline that takes a high-level view of an organization’s assets, business resources and employees. From the office building itself to the furniture occupying the rooms therein, the computers on the desks and the people using those computers, FM concerns itself with the administration, use and care of an organization’s physical assets and property. This management discipline is primarily concerned with physical logistics, though some technological concerns are becoming increasingly relevant as digital functions become more prominent in the modern workplace.

Facility Coordinators

Facility coordinators are junior-level professionals who are responsible for lower-level FM tasks in the business world. Such tasks may include restocking supplies, helping to place orders for new furniture, calling for repairs and assisting higher-level office management staff with budgeting. In some cases, “facility coordinator” can be an alternative to the “office manager” job title. Most people in this career path tend to move on to a higher-level job after gaining some experience, often to a higher-level office management role.

Facility Managers 

Facility managers are professionals whose job functions focus on the execution of FM tasks and best practices. These professionals may be responsible for an entire building, including the interior or exterior, or may simply be in charge of FM concerns for a single floor. Organizations that hire dedicated facility managers tend to be larger in scale and have multiple different facilities that need to be properly maintained. Facilities managers may be required to respond to calls and perform maintenance tasks themselves.

Hot Desking

Hot Desking is an agile office practice that allows for the creation of a dedicated workstation or seating area that can be assigned to employees on an as-needed basis. A hot desk is never assigned to a single employee but rather used interchangeably based on when employees are in the office and need a solo workstation. This is an ideal solution in workplaces that have a employees who mostly work from home but occasionally come into the office. Hot desking can also be useful in workplaces where the entire team works from the office but tends to spend time in meeting rooms or on site visits. In this case, employees would check out a hot desk when they needed it, which could potentially save a lot of space where individual desks would otherwise sit empty on a regular basis.

Hotel Desking (Hoteling)

Hotel desking, also known as hoteling, is a practice that allows a desk to be temporarily assigned to a single worker for an extended period of time. Temporary workers or employees who are visiting an out-of-town office location for a specific project are often placed at hotel desks. This allows workplaces to designate dedicated workstations for short-term seating rather than changing up seating charts or placing temporary workers in conference rooms. In some organizations, the terms “hoteling” and “hot desking” are used interchangeably as their general meaning, a desk space that’s not permanently assigned to a single user, is similar.

Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)

Integrated Workplace Management Systems are applications that allow for Lease Management, Move Management, Stack Planning, Project Management, Space Management and Maintenance Management tasks to be carried out within a single program. With a carefully designed IWMS, an organization’s FM team can make quick work of space allocation, resource tracking, facility optimization and more. This makes it easier overall to address budgetary and practical concerns in the workplace without requiring a significant time investment from management personnel.

International Facility Management Association (IFMA)

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is an international professional association for facility management specialists. The IFMA boasts more than 20,000 members from more than 100 countries and is comprised of several regional chapters and industrial subgroups. Even if you do not choose to become a member of IFMA, this organization is an excellent source of information on FM. In addition to self-educational tools on the IFMA website, this organization also offers FM classes for professionals of all skill levels. An office professional who is finding him or herself dealing more and more with FM-related concerns may want to join the association or take some classes as a non-member.

Magic Quadrant

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a four-part graph that provides a visual representation of the most prominent competitors in a specific technology sector. Gartner, an IT research and analysis firm, produces the Magic Quadrant graph to give industry insiders and consumers alike a high-level, easy-to-understand view of the competitive landscape by grouping industry competitors into one of four quadrants on a square-shaped chart. Displayed in a clockwise arrangement, the quadrants respectively represent leaders (established companies with a product that is likely to continue seeing success in the future), visionaries (companies with a product that is conceived well, but with relatively poor execution), niche players (bottom-tier companies that are not outperforming peers or are focused on too small a segment of the given industry to be considered truly competitive with others), and challengers (companies with a product that currently works well but that does not reflect anticipated changes in the industry). Gartner has released a Magic Quadrant for the IWMS industry.

Move Management

Move Management allows organizations to plan and execute well-coordinated, efficient facility transfers from an old office space to a new one. There is a host of concerns to oversee during any moving process, but moving an entire office building from one space to another can be a major logistical undertaking. With proper Move Management, an FM team can easily coordinate details between different departments, track the current and future locations of specific physical objects and design a new Space Planning arrangement in the new building. Conceptual and abstract planning concerns are made much easier with efficient Move Management.  Move Management also encompasses smaller moves executed to optimize space, and improve proximity between collaborating employees and departments.

Real Estate Dashboard

In the SpaceIQ system, the real estate dashboard is the user interface that allows access to the real estate-focused parts of the program. In tech terms, a “dashboard” is a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows a user to navigate around the various features and tools in a program, ideally providing a system so straightforward and intuitive that minimal education is required for use.

Real Estate Forecasting

Real estate forecasting is the practice of gathering data and generating projections relating to facilities. This can include an estimated projection of when an organization might need to move into a larger facility. While legacy IWMS solutions struggled to provide real-time data, modern IWMS platforms can easily automate real estate forecasting to minimize the need for hands-on data collection. Factors such as total organizational headcount, the total number of workstations in a given space, and the availability of underutilized space can factor into real estate forecasting.

Space Management

Space Management is another granular subset of the broader FM concept. Rather than managing the big-picture of the workplace as a whole, Space Management has to do with specific details such as which desks are occupied and by whom, what parts of your building are under or over utilized, how many open conference rooms there are at a given time and even details like the total number of rolling desk chairs in the office space. Proper Space Management can keep you on top of the changing space needs in your office that come with personnel changes and expansions. Whether it’s an additional desk or an entirely new office facility, Space Management allows you to track and anticipate shifts in your allocation and inventory needs.

Space Planning

Space Planning deals with the coordination and allocation of available office space as defined by your available floor plan. An incredibly broad subject, Space Planning handles everything from real estate needs, including size, type and purpose, down to office layout and seating assignments.  it can cover the scope of an entire multi-story building or a single room with a dozen desks. The process of Space Planning allows for the optimization of departmental placement. For example, the decision to seat a web design team directly next to the copywriting department can be an efficient choice for intra-departmental collaboration and consultation. These concerns are at the core of space planning and they can evolve over the course of an organization’s growth and development.

System of Record (SOR)

A System of Record, overall, is the source of current and historical data within an organization.  A source where not only current data can be found, extracted and shared, but historical data can be stored as well. in Facility Management, a CAFM program requires a lot of data collection and analysis, and now static spreadsheets or pen pen and paper are no longer being used to track your FM usage and planning activities, you need somewhere to store and organize all that data. That’s what a System of Record (SOR) is. If your company uses Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or practice management software, you’re using a different kind of SOR. Modern businesses use SOR programs for a range of different applications. These programs make it much easier to deal with a high volume of data inputs and provide the synthesizing power you need to really track and analyze your activities.

In a Facility Management context, SOR programs can help you keep tabs on which parts of your facilities are being used and when. SpaceIQ has the added benefit of giving you employee tracking and profile storage so you can incorporate HR needs into your SOR. As SpaceIQ shows, a SOR program can be much more than just a digital filing cabinet where you store information. It can be a multifaceted program that you use to plan, track, manage and analyze not only data but the functions connected to that data at a higher level. The SOR function of a program like SpaceIQ is just one of the essential features that makes this CAFM software so useful and vital in a successful and well-managed work environment.

System for Cross-Domain Identity Management (SCIM)

System for Cross-Domain Identity Management (SCIM) is an Information Technology (IT) standard that relates to user management for an organization’s tech systems. SCIM makes the process of on-boarding incoming employees and off-boarding outgoing employees much smoother. With today’s connected offices, hiring and firing or saying goodbye to employees who leave voluntarily is no longer a simple matter of updating some files. New employees need to gain access to internal systems so they can use all the tech tools their coworkers use. Departing employees need to have those access permissions revoked or downgraded so the company’s information stays private and accessible only to those who are currently members of your team.

SpaceIQ includes SCIM functionality to make the on-boarding process a lot easier. On the first day, you can create a new employee profile in the program so everyone in the office stays plugged into functions like workspace checkouts and employee location tracking. Having the ability to use these services, to find a supervisor or learn the ropes of how shared workspaces are allotted, can be an essential part of making a new employee feel comfortable on his or her first day in a new office. When an employee leaves, it’s simple to remove their profile from active status so you don’t end up bogged down in old information for people who are no longer active members of your team.

Workplace Management

Workplace Management falls under the FM umbrella, but it is its own entity with special considerations and processes. As part of FM, Workplace Management zeros in on efficiency and productivity in the office, and its scope of work can extend beyond mere space allocation and focus instead on everything from health and safety protocol to the financial analysis of workplace utilization. Logistics such as security, custodial services, optimal space utilization, and new employee workstation assignments can fall under the purview of workplace management.

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