Facilities Management Software in Australia: Must-Have Features

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

CRE costs in Australia face turbulence from the fallout of COVID-19. Nevertheless, they remain relatively high, which means tenants and occupants need to stretch their investment over every square inch carefully. The best way to do this is through facilities management software in Australia. That means using software that’s feature-rich, rife with the capabilities Australian businesses need to operate with efficiency.

There’s a strong market for facility management software for Australian companies. That said, not all software is equal, and not every program offers the same level of opportunity when it comes to features. Here’s what to look for when choosing facility management software to govern your business’ facilities and operations.

Floor planning and stack plans

At its core, a successful facilities management program needs space visualization features. The two most-used and most important are floor plan and stack plan features. In the quest to maximize space as an investment, these tools are essential. They enable facility managers to coordinate, plan, and optimize space in any setting, no matter the variables involved.

The best software will not only offer space visualization tools, it will support these tools with value-add features. For example, a stack plan might come with the ability to see cost center data alongside space allocations. Or, a floor plan might feature programmable parameters to ensure new floor plan designs don’t violate building codes. The more features within floor plan and stack plan capabilities, the more useful they are.

Move management tools

Now is a period of flux for many Australian businesses. They’re reconsidering space and using this opportunity to relocate to new facilities that better-support operations. To do this efficiently takes a robust suite of move management tools.

Look for facilities management software that simplifies relocations of all types and complexities. This includes everything from checklists and task delegations, to messaging integrations and asset management features. While moves may not be a routine part of your operations, many of these features lend themselves to agile workplaces. It’s important for companies to evaluate these tools and understand how they apply to any shuffling or relocation opportunities ahead.

Asset management resources

Facility management software in Australia needs to include asset management resources. As they strive to maximize their space, Aussie companies need to also consider the assets within that space. From copy machines and break room appliances to capital systems and high-value equipment, mindful asset management improves both top- and bottom-line prospects.

The biggest opportunity for companies to optimize facilities is through preventive and proactive maintenance. This also necessitates a CMMS component, which many broader facilities management platforms offer or integrate with. Digital twins are also an important factor here, since they’re digital representations of assets, from the building itself to the systems within it. Software that offers these features enables Australian companies to maximize their management of high-value assets and their contribution to the business.

Wayfinding and directories

For companies occupying larger facilities or broad campuses, wayfinding is vital. It’s important that employees and guests are able to navigate to specific areas quickly. But wayfinding and directories offer so many more opportunities beyond navigability. They’re also instrumental in visitor experience, safety, convenience, and collaboration.

Look for software with a strong emphasis on wayfinding and directory capabilities. It’s not enough to have a lookup system that helps people find each other. Wayfinding also needs to bridge into space booking, access control, and everyday operations. Implemented correctly, wayfinding helps employees and visitors alike make the most of the space available to them—a factor that can improve space utilization and ROI.

Room booking and space reservations

More and more Australian businesses have embraced agile workplaces. To govern them accordingly takes hoteling software and room booking systems. You’ll find both in the top facilities management software. This includes features that make it easy to search and book workspaces, whether on-site or off-site. Moreover, these systems are also instrumental in providing statistical data about space efficiency. This enables further optimization and cost-efficiency.

Whether your business has shifted to flex work or wants to promote a more dynamic workplace, room booking and reservation software is essential. It’s quickly making the “must-have” list of demands for Australian companies embracing space flexibility.

Look for features that support your business

The best Australian facilities management software is the one with the features and capabilities to match your operations. Even if you don’t need a specific feature, it’s nice to have it available as your business grows and your needs evolve.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that workplaces will continue to adapt as the workforce does. The Australian commercial real estate market is proof of this right now. With new expectations from employees and shifts in workplace regulations, facility managers need plentiful tools to adapt facilities in a way that meets these new expectations. Facilities management software is the key to not only weathering change, but continuing to adapt to it.

Keep reading: Selecting the Right Facility Management Software


Five Smart Workplace Examples With Huge ROI Benefits

By Dave Clifton
Content Marketing Strategist

Most offices today have smart elements. There are smart workplace examples all around us—from simple motion sensor lighting to the access control system you use to badge in at work. And while most people don’t think twice about them, these systems offer incredible benefits for everyone who interacts with them. For businesses, there’s untold ROI that comes from investing in a smart workplace.

What is a smart workplace? It’s one that’s supported by an infrastructure of sensors, beacons, and software that augment the physical workplace. Floor sensors that show a digital meeting room as “occupied,” A beacon that recognizes your laptop and provides employee-only Wi-Fi access. A digital twin that congregates the entire office infrastructure into a powerful, visual dashboard. All these and more are elements of a smart workplace.

But what makes a workplace smart is the wherewithal of facility managers to apply these technologies in meaningful ways. Here are five pieces of tech and how, applied correctly, they can yield big returns for companies.

1. Workplace sensors

Workplace sensors are the bedrock of smart technology. There’s an abundance of sensor types and functions—everything from motion sensors to forced air temperature sensors. What makes them all so important within the smart building ecosystem is their programmability.

Most sensors are I/O sensors, which means they send a simple on/off trigger to the systems they’re paired with. That trigger, alongside other data, makes it possible to automate and improve virtually any part of the workplace.

  • Motion sensor lights reduce energy cost by staying on only when they’re needed
  • Occupancy sensors prevent overbooking in rooms, to avoid disruption
  • Temperature sensors ensure HVAC functions efficiently, to keep people comfortable

These improvements all have ROI attached to them, be it energy costs, man hours saved, or improved workplace comfort and morale.

2. Room booking software

Room booking software is a cornerstone of smart workplace management. Facility managers need a way to oversee and coordinate space utilization, to keep the workplace fluid, dynamic, and frictionless. Booking software creates this framework and makes it easy for employees to operate within it.

The ROI from room booking is scalable. For large companies, it might take the form of saved man hours by not wandering aimlessly to find a space. For smaller companies, it could manifest as bottom-line savings by controlling occupancy rates and costs. This software creates efficiency, which naturally results in ROI for businesses of all sizes.

3. Live-mode software

It’s important to test and analyze changes before making them in the workplace. Sudden changes could jar employees or create inefficiencies instead of solving them. It’s why facility managers turn to live-mode analysis for orchestrating workplace improvements. Not only does this perpetuate a data-driven response to workplace improvements, it allows for modeling and testing in a controlled environment.

The ROI of live-mode testing manifests in both top- and bottom-line efficiency. At the top line, there’s opportunity to create new productivity through more efficient workplace configurations. For the bottom line, eliminating inefficiencies generates saved costs. Live-mode planning is a smart workplace approach to making changes.

4. AutoCAD and BIM

Building modeling is becoming more and more important as facilities become more complex. To capitalize on GIS data, companies need a spatial representation of the building to match it against. Modeling through AutoCAD and BIM contextualizes the workplace for everything from digital twins to room booking software.

These software investments are the definition of enabling a smart workplace. They’re instrumental in mirroring the physical workplace in a digital space, to promote everything from better oversight to smarter innovation. The ROI benefits are limitless—or at least as diverse as the applications you’re able to integrate into CAD- and BIM-rendered versions of the building.

5. Access control

Access control is a defensive investment in smart workplace tech—and one many companies have already made. Paired with a digital twin and a beacon system, there’s even more untapped potential for access control that companies can leverage into ROI.

The biggest cost saving opportunity is avoiding a worst-case scenario—keep someone with malintent out of sensitives areas. Stolen IP or an attack on employees will end with huge liability costs. Access control offers ROI simply by avoiding these situations. In a more active contribution to ROI, it’s also important to consider the data generated by badging and access stats. It becomes easy to see and remedy accessibility problems by looking at smart badging data in the context of a digital twin or smart floor plan.

A smart step toward building intelligence

Used correctly, smart technologies lead to building intelligence. By themselves, these technologies can offer automation and insights, but it takes a commitment to innovation to realize their biggest benefits. As buildings become smarter, companies that look for ways to push the envelope using smart tech will find themselves operating workplaces that are efficient, productive, and adaptable.

Keep reading: How Can Smart Space Planning Software Improve Workplaces?


What Are Smart Workplace Solutions?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

The concept of a smart workplace is easy enough to understand. It’s one that uses technology to make the lives of employees simpler and to improve the productivity and efficiency of the business. But what are smart workplace solutions, really? Solutions imply outcomes from the technology, which means looking closer at how it specifically benefits those using it. Think about it from a benefit vs. feature standpoint. How does the smart office yield improvements?

Understanding smart workplace solutions is the easiest way to close the gap between an investment in smart technologies and the ROI that justifies them. Here’s a look at some of the workplace solutions smart technologies enable.

Wayfinding, room booking, and reservations

On campuses or in large office buildings, it can be difficult to navigate. Whether it’s your first time there or you’re looking for a particular space, you need to know the best way to get to where you’re going. In a smart workplace, the solution is wayfinding software—as well as room booking and reservation software. These smart workplace solutions bridge the gap between need and solution, to make the workplace more accessible.

Malik needs a six-person workspace in Building F. He books a room using the company’s reservation system, then taps the wayfinding icon for quick directions. For added convenience, he can also calendar the reservation and directions straight to the meeting invitees. It’s an efficient solution that saves time and frustration.

This simple convenience makes the workplace more accessible and gives employees the confidence to navigate it fluidly.

Floor plan design and optimization

As workplaces continue to evolve, smart workplace management will play a bigger role in shaping the space employees need. Understanding the types of workspaces that support your employees best comes from breaking down the data provided by smart workplace tech to derive meaningful conclusions.

Leanne compiles desk booking information from the last six months. She realizes that collaborative spaces that accommodate four people are the most popular, while spaces meant for eight people see almost no use. She uses this data to reconfigure the workplace to include more four-person spaces and fewer eight-person spaces. Workspace utilization increases, according to data three months later.

Here, a data-driven approach to floor plan design and optimization ensures everyone has the right space to work.

Asset maintenance and management

Smart technologies are hugely beneficial for asset monitoring and maintenance. The ability to manage assets via a digital twin software or glean quantifiable insights from an integrated smart sensor provides facility professionals with a wide range of opportunities for improvement. Often, it’s these opportunities that transform the workplace from a smart one to an intelligent one.

Lorenzo is head of the maintenance department. He needs to provide an annual budget to the CFO, complete with any capital expenses the business should anticipate. He looks through digital twin data and finds that the rate of service calls on the roof stack heating system have gone up year over year. He also sees that the unit is eight years past its anticipated service life. He contacts a vendor for a replacement estimate, to budget accordingly.

From capital systems to smaller investments, access to data from the smart office provides a foundation for understanding the lifespan, ROI, cost of ownership, and service record of assets.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

At a time when the Triple Bottom Line is becoming more important to businesses, sustainability initiatives are on the rise. Digital workplace solutions provide the backdrop for investment in these initiatives.

XYZ Company installs rooftop solar panels. Smart sensors calculate how many kilowatts the panels generate on average each day. That data helps offset carbon energy costs, which the company can include in its annual shareholder report. It also qualifies the company for green energy tax deductions, based on the amount of power generated.

In this situation, a smart workplace solution (the shift to green energy) results in multiple benefits for the company, shareholders, and the environment. They’re justifiable and quantifiable by the smart systems that power them.

Smart systems pave the way for smart solutions

Smart workplace solutions bridge the gap between technologies and outcomes. Companies need to find ways to use the data generated by smart workplace tech to improve processes and create better outcomes. This could be as simple as using motion sensors to show room occupancy. Or, it might be as complex as observing GIS data to understand the true cost per square foot of a workplace—and if it’s justified.

There’s a whole world of smart building tech out there, but it’s useless unless applied correctly. Facility managers need to focus on solutions-driven investments as they enhance the workplace. Results beget more confidence about smart buildings, which leads to further investments and future innovation.

Keep reading: The Top Challenges for Creating Smart Buildings


Factors That Affect Meeting Room Booking System ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

The need for conference room reservations existed long before the rise in flex work. Many companies already have some system for reserving group spaces. Now, as they need to expand the capabilities of existing booking and reservation processes, they’re turning to more robust software. As with all software investments, meeting room booking system ROI is top of mind. Is the cost of new software justified by the value it provides?

Consider the capabilities modern booking solutions offer. Not only do they coordinate in-office space reservations, they also make it easy for off-site employees to find and book space. With workspace sanitization still prevalent, new booking software can also help automate cleaning schedules. Let’s not forget about the insights booking software offers. These features come together in numerous benefits, and it’s up to companies to determine their value.

Here’s a look at some of the factors that affect meeting room booking system ROI and the role they play in justifying its cost.

Integrations and usability

The ability of employees to book rooms is the biggest factor impacting meeting room software ROI. If the software isn’t accessible or easy to use, employees won’t use it. If they don’t use it, ROI potential falls significantly.

Look for software with broad integration capabilities. Beyond a web portal, employees need the ability to find and book spaces in a variety of settings, including on-the-go, through an app. Some key integrations include through a messaging app like Slack or via calendaring software like Outlook or Google Calendar. The more integrations there are, the more accessible and useable booking software is. As it becomes a mainstay in workplace operations, companies will see the ROI they expect from it.

Number of rooms available

ROI for booking software depends on the scale of the rollout. If you’ve got 20 shared spaces that need a centralized booking system, you’ll quickly see ROI from an efficient system. Conversely, if you only have two conference rooms, you might not need a robust booking system, and ROI could take longer to manifest.

The true ROI of a meeting room booking system comes from its ability to turn chaos into order. This tends to happen at-scale. Coordinating dozens of spaces among hundreds of employees comes with instant benefits. It’s easy to gauge the man hours saved by addressing wasted time caused by conference room uncertainties. The more variables at play, the higher the ROI potential for the system that brings order to these variables.

Booking fluidity and ecosystem

The intelligence of room scheduling software has an impact on its ability to generate ROI. For example, does the software simply show an occupied space—or does it recommend a different space? Simple features like this can improve workspace utilization, instead of dead-ending it. Software that provides solutions (options) will generate a higher ROI than software that’s only smart enough to return a static answer.

There’s also the software ecosystem to consider from the back end. Is the system smart enough to recognize booking dynamics, or does it only read-write data? For example, if someone wants to book a room at 3:30pm and there are no available rooms, will it show opportunities for space at 3:45pm when several meetings end? While much of this is programmable, companies need to invest in software that’s smart enough to create ROI.

Broader IoT capabilities

Beyond the room booking software itself, do you have the peripheral components that enable its full ROI potential? For example, are your meeting rooms equipped with occupancy sensors that govern the availability of that room? Are reservations augmented by a CMMS ticketing system, to ensure the space gets sanitized between uses? While not direct features of a meeting room booking system, these adjacent investments drive the ROI of the system.

There are plenty of opportunities to augment room booking software—but not all of them lead to better ROI. Companies need to look at peripheral tech that improves the usability and automation capabilities of booking software. How can you make booking and hosting meetings simpler, and what opportunities are there to streamline the process in cost-efficient ways?

Make the most of smarter booking

Booking system costs can seem high at the outset, but the potential for ROI is great. Facility managers need to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of finding and booking shared spaces to fully realize returns. To do that, it’s important to look at the factors that could drive (or limit) the efficiency of booking software. Consider the integrations and usability of software, as well as the parameters of your office when establishing ROI benchmarks.

Keep reading: How Does Conference Room Scheduling Software Work?