Real Estate Portfolio Management Software: Five Critical Functions

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

Managing a commercial real estate portfolio is more difficult than ever. Work-from-home, flex work, and agile workplaces have all made it more difficult to benchmark and optimize workplaces—and to understand their efficiency. Thankfully, there’s real estate portfolio management software. As the workplace becomes more dynamic, specialized software helps portfolio managers better-understand the various physical cost centers a company operates.

To be effective in managing a portfolio of buildings and workplaces, managers need to understand them. What’s the cost to operate them? How do they assist in revenue generation? What kind of maintenance and upkeep goes along with them? What’s the demand for each workplace? Answering and acting on these questions is the primary role of a portfolio manager. To do it effectively, they’re increasingly relying on real estate portfolio management software to give them the lay of the land.

What is real estate portfolio management software?

Portfolio management software offers top-down insight about the governing metrics of properties operated by a company. It can show top-level information such as the location, occupancy, and lease costs of a facility. It can also narrow down to more specific metrics such as utilization, total cost of ownership, or even real-time data about how employees use it. The purpose of this software is to gauge property as an asset. How does it contribute to the success of the company?

The purpose of using real estate portfolio management software is to get insights and make decisions about how to maximize the productivity and cost efficiency of each workplace. It boils down to return on investment. Is a facility helping to generate more revenue and profit than it costs to operate and maintain? If not, what opportunities are there to right-size it on the balance sheet? The answers come from portfolio management software; specifically, the tools it offers.

Here’s a look at five must-have functions that make portfolio management software an asset to decision-makers charged with maintaining a healthy real estate portfolio.

1. Lease administration

Cost is everything in maintaining a real estate portfolio. To understand its weight on the balance sheet, portfolio managers need lease information pertinent to each location. What are the monthly and annual lease costs? What is the cost per square footage? If it’s a triple net lease, what fees or additional expenses factor into the building’s operation? These variables demand attention as part of the real estate evaluation process.

2. Accounting tools

It’s important to have an accounting standard that benchmarks all properties in a real estate portfolio relative to one another. What percentage of budget is allocated where for each location? What are the ROI metrics for each location against a clear standard? Accounting is an important function of real estate portfolio management software because it provides clear and unbiased insights about the cost of ownership for portfolio properties.

3. Budgeting and forecasting

Alongside accounting tools come budgeting and forecasting capabilities. These critical functions give portfolio managers context for understanding assets from a forward-looking perspective. The ability to look at past years’ expenses and projected costs allows for a more complete understanding of the cost of ownership of properties now and into the future. This fuels better decision-making about how to allocate spend and whether to expand, reduce, or sustain leased square footage or even entire locations.

4. Strategic planning

With cost and operations data in-hand, strategic planning is possible. Portfolio managers can liaise with individual facility managers and executive leadership to determine if the current portfolio meets the needs of the company. Strategic planning also happens at the facility level, such as the decision to undertake a capital project based on the likelihood of occupying that space for the foreseeable future. Real estate portfolio management software brings these insights together with context.

5. Space utilization oversight

Second to justifying the cost of properties within a portfolio, real estate managers need to ensure they’re utilized to the best of their abilities. While this utilization occurs at the facility level, portfolio managers can use high-level data to make decisions about how to optimize each location. The portfolio manager may reduce leased square footage at Location A by 10% and charge the facility manager at that location to optimize space—all this, while saving significant cost to the company.

How do I manage my real estate portfolio?

Property portfolio management software is an essential ingredient in the future of business cost management at a macro level. Facility overhead is the largest tangible expense on a company’s balance sheet (outside of salaries). It’s vital to have software that can drill down into each workplace to identify those expenses and, more importantly, how they’re offset by revenue generation. In doing so, portfolio managers can make better decisions about how to invest in real estate—or identify when it might be time to divest.

Portfolio management software needs to provide decision-makers with clear and valuable insights about each physical location, from a cost-center perspective. That means relying on tools for lease admin, accounting, budgeting and forecasting, strategic planning, and utilization metrics. Given these features, real estate portfolio management software becomes a valuable instrument in making smarter decisions about physical workplaces as a whole.

Keep reading: What Can You Do with Real Estate Analytics?


What is Occupancy and Utilization?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

Occupancy and utilization are two terms every facility manager needs to get familiar with. Not only are the terms themselves important to distinguish, the implications they have portend a significant amount of workplace decision-making. What is occupancy and utilization in the context of the workplace? Individually, they’re two crucial metrics for workplace governance. Together, they’re ingredients in the formula for workplace efficiency.

Here’s a look at occupancy and utilization in the context of the workplace, and the roles they play in engineering productivity, agility, and efficiency.

What is space occupancy?

Space occupancy is the measure of total employees in a workplace at a given time. It’s usually represented against the total capacity, to show occupancy rate. You can also measure space occupancy within the context of square footage, which is most common when facility managers seek to understand utilization.

Generally, space occupancy is a measure of people. It’s one side of the relationship between workspaces and how they’re used.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization is the other side of the workplace equation and represents a measure of usage. It’s represented as the rate at which employees use a particular space. Utilization can be a static measure, as well as a dynamic one. For example, you can measure the utilization of a space right now or over a period of months, weeks, days, or even hours.

Utilization provides insight into efficiency—how well a company is able to capitalize on the cost of the space it’s paying for.

How do you calculate occupancy and utilization?

Both occupancy and utilization have their own formula. It’s important to understand and calculate them both, to benchmark both sides of the workplace equation. Here’s how to calculate them:

  • The formula for space occupancy is occupied square footage divided by unoccupied square footage. If you occupy 20,000 square feet of space out of an available 22,000 square feet, your space occupancy rate is 90%.
  • The formula for space utilization is occupancy divided by capacity. If there are 34 people in a building that supports 50, the space utilization rate is 68%. This also applies at the workspace level, and can become a fluctuating measure in agile offices.

These figures serve important purposes in everything from KPI tracking to data-driven decision-making about the workplace. Each metric applies to different aspects of space management, but more often than not, facility managers will use them in conjunction with one another for a more holistic measure of space efficiency.

How do occupancy and utilization work together?

Occupancy and utilization go hand-in-hand. Occupancy represents the people within a workplace; utilization represents their interaction with those surroundings. Together, it paints a clear picture of a workplace in motion.

Say, for example, your occupancy rate for a particular floor of a building is at 85%. Now, imagine that space utilization on that floor is only 39%. What does that tell you? For starters, it likely signs that people assigned to that floor aren’t working on it. Or, it could signal that there are too many workspaces—or not enough of the type those employees need. On the surface, it’s clear there’s a problem, and further investigation is likely to yield insights.

Now, consider a more complex example. You’ve adopted a flex work arrangement. Occupancy is down to 40% and you’re thinking of downsizing the office. Space utilization rates show 80% for individual workstations, 20% for conference rooms, and 50% for breakout spaces. Using this data, you decide to consolidate facilities to eliminate half of the conference rooms, reduce the number of breakout spaces, and increase the number of hotel workstations in a smaller workspace. Occupancy rises to 60% and utilization balances out among the different workspaces.

There are endless examples of how occupancy and space utilization inform each other. As facility managers delve deeper into these figures, they’ll learn more about how to manipulate them in the context of tangible improvements to the workplace.

How to incorporate these variables into space management

The importance of occupancy and utilization in space management is unparalleled. These two metrics serve as the foundation for setting the parameters of available physical space. Moreover, they inform workplace managers of their options for how to make the most of space in regards to demand for certain types of spaces. In some cases, it’s as simple as realizing the need for more space. In other situations, it means having the ability to make desking decisions based on utilization rates.

Occupancy and utilization are important metrics in their own right, as well as together. They’re easy to track and monitor, and extremely insightful. Facility managers should abide by the trends and patterns they produce, and shape the workplace according to the data. The result is a workplace that’s efficient, accommodating, and comfortable for everyone in it.

Keep reading: Space Management and Planning Software Buyers Guide


How to Maximize Space Utilization

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

Space utilization is one of many metrics facility managers use to gauge the efficiency of the workplace. High utilization is typically associated with efficiency; low utilization indicates inefficiency. There’s a constant push and pull in dynamic workspaces to achieve optimal utilization. Facility managers are always asking themselves how to maximize space utilization.

Thankfully, there’s an abundance of software out there designed to help facilitate maximum space utilization. Some platforms, like a CAFM platform, set the stage of understanding utilization rates based on space and occupancy. Others, like IWMS and digital twins, provide the context for how employees use the workspace. Together, they paint a picture of utilization and opportunities to maximize it.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization meaning stems from interactions with the physical workplace. Specifically, it’s the measure of how well you’re using the workplace for the means of productive operations. A workspace that’s always occupied by a diligent worker has high utilization. A desk that sits unused most days has a poor utilization rate. It comes down to a question: how often do employees use the space in a productive capacity?

How to calculate utilization

Behind its surface definition there’s actually a fair amount of math in understanding space utilization. On a macro scale, utilization is the building’s occupancy divided by its capacity—the result is a broad measure of utilization at the building level. For example, if your building accommodates 500 and you staff 420, your utilization rate is 84%. It’s a measure useful for something like stack planning.

Digging deeper, utilization metrics distill all the way down to the workspace or seat level. Especially in flex environments and agile offices without assigned seating, it’s particularly important to gauge utilization at this level. Here again, the math is simple: you divide the number of hours the space is occupied by the total number of hours it’s available. If Workstation 201 is available 12 hours per day and it’s occupied six hours a day, the utilization rate is 50%.

It’s also important to note that utilization can be a moving target. Workstation 201 might sit occupied for six hours today, 10 hours tomorrow, and 10 hours the day after. Its aggregate average is just over eight and a half hours, for an average utilization rate of about 72%.

No matter how you measure it, utilization rate comes down to a measure of usage against total availability. As such, it’s a great metric for understanding if the costs associated with your workplace are worth it.

How to maximize space utilization

Maximizing space utilization comes down to understanding utilization rates and the drivers behind them. If employees only use a space at a rate of 20%, what factors prevent or dissuade them from using it more? Why does Room A have a much higher utilization rate than Room B, despite their proximity and relativity to each other? Utilization trends tell the story of space usage—it’s up to facility managers to interpret and address discrepancies.

  • Understand the utilization rates associated with a space
  • Benchmark them against other metrics to qualify utilization
  • Investigate low utilization rates to understand them better
  • Make targeted changes to increase the appeal or utility of space
  • Track changes in utilization to gauge employee responsiveness
  • Continue to track utilization and make changes based on demand

Maximizing space utilization is a continuous and iterative process. It comes down to providing employees with the types of spaces they need, and making it easy to access and use those areas.

To make changes, you need data

By now, you’ve realized that utilization metrics rely heavily on workplace data. If you don’t know anything about occupancy rates, you can’t calculate utilization. This is where the IoT and space utilization software come into play.

Sensor data from an office IoT can provide real-time occupancy data to generate important insights. From seat sensors to floor sensors and beyond, streaming data provides real-time, valuable insights into when and how people interact with the space around them. Fed into a digital twin of the workplace, this data paints a contextual picture of utilization.

Space utilization software supports integrations that provide context for occupancy and workplace goings-on. For example, a room booking system tied into the software can provide relevant data about conference room reservations: which rooms, when, how long, and other important metrics that enable utilization insights at macro and specific levels.

Efforts to maximize workplace utilization need data behind them. Without understanding and contextualizing space, any changes or improvements to it aren’t quantifiable or qualifiable—they’re just a shot in the dark.

Utilization is a priority for businesses

Maximizing space utilization is a clear and present priority for businesses because it means one thing: justifying the cost of the workplace. Facilities and their affiliated costs represent the bulk of a business’ overhead (outside of salaries). It’s vital to make sure those costs are offset by productivity and that the workplace more than pays for itself.

Establishing high utilization rates within the building and at the workspace level represents a diligent approach to operations management. It equates to giving workers the space they need and enabling them to be productive within it. High utilization shows continued demand for specific workspace types, which means better efficiency from employees on the balance sheet and from the workplace itself.

Keep reading: How to Choose Space Management Software


Digital Twin for Space Optimization

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

There’s no shortage of software out there to support facility managers as they seek to maximize the potential of the workplace. IWMS and CAFM platforms come to mind first, because they offer the broadest level of support. But even these systems aren’t a silver bullet for optimizing workspaces and floor plans—they merely aid in putting ideas into motion. Today, the most powerful insights come from a digital twin for space optimization.

Digital twins offer an abundance of context for workplace data. Rather than coordinating a floor plan based solely on space or occupancy, digital twins provide facility managers with dynamic data about the space. Sure, the room capacity is 40 people, but did you know that seat sensor data shows the average occupancy rate at just 25 people? It’s these kinds of insights that make digital twin technology instrumental in optimizing workspace design, layout, and function.

Here’s a look at why digital twins are becoming an integral part of workplace planning and how they optimize the efforts of facility managers.

Digital twins add contextual data

Digital twins are as dynamic as the physical spaces and assets they represent. This opens up a whole new segment of contextual information for facility managers. For example, floor sensors in conference rooms can add context to room reservation metrics provided by your booking system:

Booking data shows Conference Room 402 at a utilization rate of 60%, with an average room reservation time of one hour. While this is great information, it’s static. Floor sensor data aggregated by the digital twin might show that, despite an average one-hour booking time, employees typically only remain in the room for 45 minutes. There’s a period of roughly 15 minutes of dead space, when the room shows occupied but there’s no one in it. The real utilization rate is closer to 45%.

In this example, context from the digital twin can help the facility manager optimize the room booking process. Instead of 30-minute booking increments, employees can now book in 15-minute increments. The expectation is that utilization will rise.

How to turn IoT data into action

There’s an abundance of smart sensors in workplaces today. Many of them are always-on, constantly streaming data. A digital twin is instrumental in harnessing and aggregating this data, to make it actionable. This is especially important as the network of devices grows and becomes more robust. Consider the impact of IoT automation through a digital twin:

Conference Room 402 has A/V capabilities, which make it the de-facto space for presentations. Employees often complain about not being able to reserve the room because it’s in such high demand. Floor sensor data puts occupancy at roughly 80% each day. However, the light sensor only registers 50%, which means only half of occupants turn off the lights to present. The facility manager adds a question to the room reservation system: “Do you need to present anything?” If the answer is no, the booking system excludes Conference Room 402, to leave it more accessible to those who need A/V capabilities.

In this example, IoT data comes together to paint an even broader picture of space utilization. It allows facility managers to intervene in a tactful way, instead of jumping to conclusions—such as investing in additional expensive A/V equipment.

Space optimization with digital twin technology

Space optimization is the key to getting more out of leased space. With digital twins to provide context for data points, it becomes possible to optimize in strategic ways, with the goal of enabling better interaction with space. Based on digital twin data, FMs might choose to:

  • Expand or consolidate the total amount of office space
  • Adopt a new desking arrangement or booking system
  • Grant or restrict access to certain spaces by certain groups
  • Change the floor plan for a particular space

It all comes down to what the data shows and the context a digital twin provides. In many cases, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to improving space utilization. The benefit of a digital twin is that facility managers can sandbox their ideas to see what works, what doesn’t, and what the best outcome is for optimizing space.

Digital twins can support IWMS, CAFM

At this point, every facility manager needs to use cloud-based space planning software to orchestrate their workplace—the benefits are too great not to. But we’re moving into a new digital age where digital twins can provide even more context and support to these systems when it comes to space optimization. Where IWMS and CAFM provide tools for spatial management, digital twins provide the context for how employees use that space.

Space management software, a growing IoT, and a well-managed digital twin are the trifecta of technologies for space optimization. Bringing them together unlocks powerful opportunities for any business when it comes to managing and making the most of space.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software


Digital Twin for Operations Management Improvements

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Digital twins have become a prevalent part of many companies’ digital architecture. Often, they’re a natural tie-in to IoT networks and business clouds, alongside any number of other applications depending on the industry. And while many businesses are still figuring out how to use them, digital twin for operations management are rising in popularity. There’s plentiful opportunity in using them to enhance operations from a data-driven standpoint.

Because digital twin technology is relatively plug-and-play for many businesses, there’s no limit to the efficiency improvements possible. They’ve become a playground for facility managers, asset managers, and everyone else charged with keeping buildings productive, efficient, and operational.

Digital twins and the expanding IoT

Much of the opportunity for operational improvements digital twins present is possible due to the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital twin IoT configurations bridge the gap between the physical workplace and the digital one, and create data for tangible improvements. As the number of sensors and beacons in any given workplace rises, so do the number of data streams—and thus, so does the potential for insight.

All this data comes together in the digital twin to provide workplace managers with increasingly robust insights, such as:

  • Macro trends, like the number of hotel desks reserved month-over-month
  • Micro trends, like the length of time Camille reserved Desk 008 for on Wednesday
  • Automations and triggers, such as submitting a cleaning ticket between room reservations
  • Inefficiencies, such as viewing which desks suffer poor utilization and why
  • Asset information, such as the number of cycles the copier ran last month

The office IoT network aggregates these insights into the digital twin, where they become presentable information management can review. The result is actionable change to the physical workplace, using digital insights.

Continuous operational efficiency

Data is the key to better decision-making. IoT data about the physical workplace becomes a catalyst for understanding why and how people interact with their surroundings the way they do. With this understanding comes an opportunity to make meaningful, informed changes.

A digital twin operations management example worth considering involves space utilization. Seat sensor data at a workstation might show a paltry 22% utilization rate for the month. By comparison, similar desks show a 74% average utilization rate. Facility managers can take this data point and delve into the digital twin of their workplace to better understand it.

  • Where is this desk located in comparison to others like it?
  • What times of the day was it occupied most often? Which days?
  • How long per session was the desk occupied?
  • What amenities or features does the desk offer?
  • What is its maintenance record and are there service tickets logged?

Digital twins enable what manufacturers might call a “root cause analysis.” Facility managers can probe all potential catalysts behind an anomaly to understand what’s causing it. Then, using data, they form a thesis and take corrective action. This is the foundation for continuous workplace improvements and continuous operational efficiency.

In this example, the FM might discover any number of issues. The desk is too close to a disruptive thoroughfare. Or, it could be too small to work at comfortably. Maybe it’s damaged and needs service? Whatever the root cause, there’s an opportunity to fix it.

Data as the defining factor for workplaces

Digital twins represent an abundance of data, made accessible. As buildings grow smarter and more technologies generate digital insights about the physical workplace, facility managers have more opportunities to understand it. The more they understand it, the better they can govern it. The effects compound into everything from better workplace efficiency, to improved productivity, to cost control, and even improved company culture. At the center of it all is the digital twin, guiding data-backed decision-making as a source of truth.

Digital twins lay the foundation for operational improvements

While software like IWMS and CAFM have enabled facility managers to make amazing improvements to workplaces, true efficiency comes from understanding how people interact with their surroundings. That’s where digital twins come in. IoT data synced up to digital twins paints a robust picture of the effects of physical workplace changes. It’s not enough to switch up the desking concept or rearrange a space—you need to know how it affects the people within it.

Digital twins for operations management adds a whole new layer to data-driven facilities management. In the same way digital twins bridge the gap between the physical workplace and the digital one, they also bridge the gap between facilities and operations. With this key piece of the puzzle, companies can relentlessly pursue efficiency improvements, one data point or trend at a time.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software


What is Space Utilization Principle?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Most facility managers track space utilization—often, through a variety of metrics. They rely on space utilization software to provide insight into how well they’re capitalizing on the square footage available to them. This, in turn, informs a broad range of critical decisions—everything from desking policies to lease administration. In short, space utilization is at the core of many policies and decisions that impact how a workplace looks and runs.

While it’s important to track and monitor space utilization, even more essential is familiarity with the space utilization principal. The goal isn’t to fill every square foot of space and maximize utilization every second of every day. Rather, it’s to create a balance between the cost of the space and its revenue potential based on an optimal level of utilization. Here’s what facility managers need to know about the space utilization principle.

What is space utilization principle?

The space utilization principle isn’t a law or rule—rather, it’s a guideline that’s flexible and adaptable to every workspace. The space utilization principle “encourages effective utilization of all the space available.” The operative word in that definition is effective. In simpler terms, the space utilization principle encourages facility managers to figure out the best way to purpose space, to attract frequent use by employees.

The space utilization principle has roots in materials handling, where it’s one of many principles for effective space governance alongside the likes of the layout principle and the system flow principle. The objective is to ensure the safe, efficient, effective flow of materials within a value stream. Commercial facility managers can rely on many of the same principles to govern the way employees interact with the workplace and assets within it.

What is space utilization vs. other metrics?

Space utilization metrics are some of the most prevalent and important KPIs to track in a workplace. They lend insight into how efficient a space is and to what degree employees use it. Alone, it’s a powerful benchmark; however, it’s best used in tandem with other metrics, including occupancy, adoption, and more targeted figures like peak rates.

Space utilization is the measure of how efficient a space is, based on how frequently employees use it. To better-contextualize this, it’s also important to have data for:

  • Occupancy, or the total number of people within a workplace
  • Availability, or the total number of workspaces within a workplace
  • Target ratio, or the ideal ratio of people to workspaces (occupancy to availability)
  • Actual ratio, or the current ratio of people to workspaces
  • Cost per square foot, or the value per square foot of space based on total lease cost
  • Peak rates, or the maximum rate of workspace utilization within a given window

There are dozens of other metrics to track, and each yield breadcrumbs of information against a backdrop of utilization. The more pieces of the puzzle facility managers have about their workplace, the clearer the picture of that utilization becomes. Each metric acts as a stepping stone toward the space utilization principle: using space more effectively.

How to measure space utilization

There are several ways to measure space utilization itself, depending on the context. The broadest measure is at the macro level: number of employees divided by total workplace capacity. For example, 125 employees in a space meant for 150 puts you at an 83% utilization rate.

Often, a more valuable measure of utilization focuses on a particular workspace or group of spaces. For example, you might measure the rate at which employees reserve standing desks and calculate utilization by occupied time divided by total available time. For example, if you have 10 standing desks available for 10 hours each day five days a week, that’s 500 hours. If collective occupancy over the course of the week is 420 hours, the utilization rate of standing desks is 84%.

It’s also important to consider peaks. If a hotel desk is occupied an average of four hours each day, but spikes to 10 hours on Thursdays, that’s the peak utilization rate during the week. Put time on a sliding scale and it’s possible to measure peak utilization by the month, week, day, or even hour. Each data point is important within the context of pushing toward more efficient space utilization.

Utilization needs to create harmony

The purpose of the space utilization principle is to create harmony in the workplace. It’s not about finding a way to reach 100% utilization—if you do, there’s no room for flexibility. Facility managers need to find the right coefficient for efficiency and utilization, to justify the cost of the workplace and enable the workforce within it.

Good space utilization will create flexibility and harmony in even the most active workplace. And while it’s important to collect and track utilization metrics in all their various forms, it’s most important to match them up against the space utilization principle to make sure you’re using that data in a proactive, positive way.

Keep reading: What is Space Utilization and How Can You Measure it?


How to Use Relocation Management Software

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Planning on moving to new facilities? Need to coordinate better mobility between departments? Relocation management software is the answer. But it’s not enough to have the software. Facility managers and move stakeholders need to understand how to use it effectively. Software can guide you through all phases of a move, and it needs to offer cohesion from start to finish—whether it takes a few minutes or a few weeks to complete. Supportive software makes moves easier, and it is enabled by stakeholders who know how to use it.

Start with formalized training

The best relocation management software will come with training opportunities from the developer. This is vital to understanding the software, its features, and the capabilities it offers during different relocation scenarios. There’s no better opportunity than learning from the organization that designed the software.

Start with tutorials and modules. These are often designed to cover specific features and scenarios, and serve as a fundamental tour of the software. Then, move into more advanced training, if offered. This might take the form of a YouTube series, live training exercises, webinars, and more. These more immersive sessions are ideal for drilling down into more complex uses and capabilities.

If offered, these training opportunities need to be the first course of action. Facility managers and anyone else using the software to facilitate relocation should prioritize formalized training.

Familiarize yourself (and stakeholders) with features

Beyond formal training, it’s smart for FMs to poke around and get to know the software—it’s interface, features, menus, integrations, and more. Familiarity beyond the formalities breeds a deeper understanding of how to use the software effectively for specific purposes.

Stakeholders should also get familiar with the software—especially if they’re involved in the relocation. This is much less intimidating in software that offers user permissions groups and usership tiers. For example, distant stakeholders might have access to read-only floor plans and checklists, which are easy to explore and get familiar with. Other groups, like department heads, may need to get accustomed to using different features to execute a move.

Set usership tiers and permissions, and encourage anyone using the software to get comfortable with the UI. This will make using it second-nature and less intimidating.

Optimize the potential of integrations

Integrations are the foundation for optimization. Move management software that connects to other common workplace technologies makes it more useful and accessible in an everyday setting.

For instance, the ability to send employee desk assignments through Slack saves the hassle of orchestrating an email chain. Likewise, directory integration makes it easy for employees to find each other, even after a major workplace shakeup. The simplicity of many integrations is what makes them powerful. The workplace touches every facet of work; move software needs to integrate with as many of those facets as possible.

Identify uses-cases and scenarios

Why did you invest in relocation software? Chances are, it’s because your workplace is either getting ready to move, is constantly in flux, or recently went through a move that caused major disruption. In any case, it’s important to identify opportunities to use it in the future.

This means looking at how specific software features link up with certain situations. For example, you might create pre-made checklists for departmental moves. These checklists ensure every move follows due processes, so as to not forget anything that might creep up later. It might also mean establishing rules for employee relocations. Every time an employee moves, X, Y, and Z triggers ensure a smooth transition. Break it down into as many scenarios as possible. Examples include:

  • Employee-specific moves
  • Group moves
  • Departmental moves
  • Temporary moves
  • Location-based moves

The more applicable move scenarios you identify and plan for, the better-equipped you’ll be when the time arises. Then, it’s easy to pick up relocation software and oversee the process.

Create processes and automate

The final way to capitalize on relocation software is to automate—which blends into identifying use-case scenarios. When you understand the challenges of a specific move, you can automate efforts to avoid them.

Consider something like a workplace mobility program. As employees hop from desk to desk, facility managers need a way to keep tabs on them—and automate the process. These types of simple moves benefit from rules-based governance. Employees from Group A can only book desks in Zones 1-4. Slack room requests validate against the hoteling schedule before returning an “occupied” or “vacant” status. Simple rules like these and dozens of others put bumpers on relocations, to make them seamless.

FMs and software operators should explore process standardization and automation wherever possible. This becomes even more important as you explore integrations.

Relocation software makes moving easier

Whether it’s a departmental shuffle or the relocation of the entire company to new facilities, moving is disruptive. Inherently so. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it quicker, easier, and more organized. Controlling these variables limits the disruption and any aftershocks that come from relocation. The best way to minimize the negatives of a move is to maximize control over it.

Relocation management software is the answer. But like all software, it needs a qualified, competent operator at the helm. Facility managers who take the time to learn and get familiar with move management software will find themselves with more control over the variables that dictate relocation—and the power to make it smoother.

Keep reading: How to Implement Move Management Software


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


Geospatial Digital Twin Explained

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Geographic Information System (GIS) data is becoming more and more a pillar of building architecture and life cycle maintenance. Unsurprisingly, it’s led to the rise of geospatial digital twins as part of building governance. These systems represent the pinnacle of a data-driven approach to building oversight and bring broad context to virtually any quantifiable physical attribute someone might want to know.

From the numbers of floors to the year it was built, geospatial twins take a bevy of contextual data about a building and combine it all into one comprehensive representation. And, because that representation is digital, the possibilities for integration are infinite. Maintenance teams can review deep insights about the building itself, while portfolio managers can evaluate the building as part of a portfolio—each for the purpose of making data-driven decisions about building management.

While extremely insightful, geospatial digital twins and the GIS data that populates them are equally as complex. Here’s a quick primer on what they are, how they work, and why they’re growing in importance.

What is geospatial digital twin?

A geospatial digital twin is a digital model of a building extrapolated from many different data fields—specifically, GIS data. Where a digital twin is a virtual mirror of a building and its systems, adding GIS brings quantifiable elements into the fold. For example, you’re not just looking at a floor plan; you’re looking at a floor plan in context with the measurements of the space and the position of its unique elements in space.

GIS data goes beyond the building itself. A geospatial twin represents the building within the context of its surroundings. How many meters from the road is the front door? How tall is the building compared to the closest nearby structure? How far above sea level is the building located? The sheer abundance of GIS data informs a geospatial model that bring far-ranging context to the digital twin.

What does geospatial digital twin do?

There are endless possibilities for what geospatial twins are capable of. But what are they practical for? According to Esri, the global leader in geographic information system software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications:

Geospatial technology interconnects information, systems, models, and behaviors with spatial context, creating holistic digital representations of environments, assets, networks, and cities.

In simpler terms: geospatial twins harness GIS data into usable information. Why does it matter how far above sea level the building is? Well, it could inform how an HVAC tech services your building’s heating system—or the type of system best-suited to replace an aging one. Who cares about the building’s distance from the road? You might, if it impedes your plans to expand the atrium outwards. GIS data offers practical insights; the geospatial twin brings this data into context.

How geospatial digital twin can help a company

From a practical standpoint, there are an abundance of opportunities for using geospatial twins to harness broad data. Many vital business plans and operational aspects are predicated on GIS data in some way, shape, or form.

  • Emergency planning. The fastest and safest escape plan comes from understanding the layout of a building from a fundamental standpoint. Likewise, GIS can inform interoffice emergency planning in the event a threat is external—like inclement weather.
  • Risk management. GIS data allows for incident modeling and risk management. If you understand the variables of your building and its surroundings, it becomes easier to plan for avoidable situations or for unwanted eventualities.
  • Utility optimization. Are solar panels a conducive investment for your building? How much is inclement weather affecting your power systems, i.e. outages? GIS information can correlate variables to show a clearer picture of utilities and how to optimize them.
  • Health and wellness. Environmental factors have a huge effect on people’s health. Employers can use GIS data to create new workplace initiatives that improve health—everything from workplace design to amenities offered. On-site gym, anyone?
  • Digital transformation. A geospatial twin builds out the bedrock for an expanding IoT network within your building and beyond. The more devices incorporated, the more information available and the broader the insights about a building and its surroundings.

Above all, GIS data and geospatial digital twins unlock better decision-making opportunities. Building managers with access to these data systems and the broad insights they offer stand poised to make better, more informed decisions about everything from the building itself to the operations within it.

GIS data unlocks smart building potential

As buildings become smarter, the systems that govern them need to get smarter. GIS data and the digital twins they inform represent a trend in the right direction. While the IoT and other networked systems pave the way for office operational insights, GIS and geospatial twins provide a backdrop for these insights within the context of a digitally proportionate building. Together, stakeholders have a clear representation of facilities and everything within them.

With so much data and the broad context that follows it, companies can unlock amazing potential for improvements—to both buildings and the operations within them. It’s all part of the continuum of smart building technology.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software