When evaluating space management software, don’t overlook these five hidden costs.
Real estate and facilities teams are under considerable pressure within their organization. The demand for cost effective workplace space that meets the requirements of the organization is a prime issue in today’s economy. This often spurs the need for space and occupancy management software.
Sometimes solutions are chosen based on a list of features by someone without related experience to the core problem that the software should be solving. The software is then assigned to someone else who attempts to fit operational processes into it, rather than the reverse.
After years of helping clients navigate their space management challenges, we’ve identified five critical areas that are typically overlooked during the initial software evaluation processes. Often, the result is significant hidden costs and tedious, time consuming tasks. Without consideration of these five factors, space management software can become increasingly expensive or will simply not function to deliver quality data for reliable decision making down the road:
- Implementation and Timeline
- Service and Support
- Floor Plan Updates
- Usership and Licenses
- Technical Resources
We’ve identified five critical areas that are typically overlooked during the initial space management software evaluation processes – often resulting in significant hidden costs and tedious, time consuming tasks.
1. Implementation and Timeline
After you invest in a new space management system, how do you get it up-and-running?
Implementation services vary widely across solutions. Now is the time to investigate the cost and time that is involved in configuring various systems. We’ve seen companies struggle to implement their own CAFM and IWMS systems, often hiring third parties or taking years to complete. The expertise required to configure and implement an intelligent space management system is seldom available within an organization. Most internal IT departments are busy focusing on core business issues, leaving little time for implementing a new software system.
Hiring a third party to implement a solution can be just as costly and time consuming as tackling it in-house. We’ve heard from organizations who, two years into an implementation, still cannot access basic reporting features. If the solutions you are evaluating will need a third party to implement, now is the time to start getting bids. Be sure to ask about the tenure and experience of the team who will be assigned to your project.
Implementation shouldn’t be treated as a DIY exercise or considered only after a solution is chosen. Consider the following aspects of implementation and who will take ownership of them—prior to choosing a solution:
Drawing standardization and polylining:
- Standardizing layers
- Applying a consistent drawing methodology
- Labeling, identifying spaces, and applying room numbering
- Setting up system integrations, data imports and exports
- Configuring user permissions
- Consulting and process development (i.e. Move, add, change workflow)
Training and rollout:
- User role and responsibility identification and strategy
- Virtual and/or in-person trainings
- Piloting sites
- Change management strategies for successful adoption
With Wisp, full implementation is a standard part of our deliverable so that you can remain focused on your role and responsibilities.
2. Service and Support
What level of ongoing support and services will be available after you purchase a solution?
Not all service is created equal. Support may be included in the package or not be available at all—requiring a third party or internal team to take on the role. Make sure you understand what level of support you will receive and the duration. Technical support varies greatly from strategic and advisory support. Having a reliable support team in place who knows your portfolio can be invaluable as team members shift within your organization. Be sure to evaluate the following service and support components:
- Platform advising
- Knowledge continuity
- Technical Support
- Advanced strategies and analytics
- Ongoing trainings
Wisp goes beyond SaaS to provide the critical roles that strengthen data integrity, strategy and optimization of the software. As an ongoing service partner, we take a vested interest in your success. Our advisory services team brings specialized experience with the diverse understanding that comes from working with companies around the world. We uncover data and bring new ideas and a competitive edge to our clients. We know space management and are not afraid to caution our clients about what is worth doing and what is not.
“Service is everything. We partner with companies that are of the same mindset. It’s important for us to know that we have business partners that are almost like family who we can reach out to when we need them.”
– Workplace Strategy Manager, Toyota
3. Floor Plan Updates
Information is only as good as the data behind it. How will you ensure that you are working with current and consistent floor plans?
In any system, floor plans need to reflect reality to achieve accurate reporting metrics — especially when financial values are applied to square footage. When CAD floor plans become outdated within a system, space management reporting is no longer accurate. Simple changes to a floor plan, such as converting an office into a conference room or reconfiguring cubicle layouts, should always be reflected in your digital floor plans as soon as possible.
The expertise required to maintain a CAD based data platform is often not available as a core competency of most organizations. Floor plan drawing maintenance can be achieved by expanding an in-house team, working with a third party, or finding a solution that includes this service. With Wisp, ongoing drawing updates are included in our service for the following reasons:
- Quality control: Our adherence to a consistent drawing standard means that you can rely on your square footage information for space reporting.
- Speed: Drawing updates are a priority for our specially trained team and should not be pushed to the back burner due to an inhouse team’s bandwidth or budget constraints.
- Data integrity: Our space reporting features pull data directly from the floor plans, so you’ll know you’re interacting with accurate numbers to fairly and equitably allocate square footage.
All Wisp clients benefit from unlimited, all inclusive floor plan updates. When your layouts change, the Wisp CAD team will update your drawing backgrounds and polylines to a consistent drawing methodology. From converting a conference room into offices, to reconfiguring an entire floor — simply let our team know when there’s a change and we’ll update it in Wisp.
“Data is stale in a week, that’s how it goes in space planning. It needs to be immediate.”
— Vice President of Corporate Real Estate, Banking and Financial Services Firm
4. Usership and Licenses
Successful data collection relies on easy access by as many contributors as necessary. Most platforms penalize broad access by charging per user or per seat through licensing. Everyone in an organization can benefit from space management software. From wayfinding for all employees to move, add, change access for department admins—a system should be easily configurable to allow access to those who need it.
Unfortunately, licensing hundreds or thousands of employees can quickly add up, however this shouldn’t be an area to cut costs. It is easier to maintain data when more people have access to the system. The more eyes on the floor plans and seat assignments, the easier it is to uncover data discrepancies or inaccuracies.
With Wisp, we include unlimited user licenses. For one client, this means having over 40,000 users in the system. All employees can access Wisp through their intranet to easily locate colleagues and conference rooms or utilize life safety and evacuation plans. With unlimited role configurations, many hands can make light work. We will work with your team to define roles, responsibilities and user permission levels and access to features in Wisp such as move requests, reporting, space planning, and more.
For large portfolios, unlimited user licenses empower office locations to manage their workplace seating and floor plans, while providing the corporate real estate team with insight into metrics and data at a portfolio level.
5. Technical Resources
Do you have the technical resources available to evolve your software to meet new demands or security requirements?
Today, integrated workplace management is less about a single software system and more about streamlining relevant tools and datasets at the right time to support a holistic life cycle of data-informed workplace strategies. Consider how you will handle these three aspects of technical resourcing for successfully maintaining a space management solution:
- Integrations and configurations: As your needs evolve and new add-ons and integrations become necessary, consider if you have the internal resources to configure these changes. Most successful configurations are based on a multi-tier architecture of best in class applications that feed to an aggregation layer of consolidated data. Managing one-off projects to configure new integrations can be time consuming and expensive. Consider how you will handle this going forward.
- Security considerations: With ever-increasing sophisticated data theft taking place, what measures will you take to protect your employee and spatial data? Space management software should be treated as securely as an HR or finance system. This can involve new hardware and services, a data security team, and regular maintenance of the system. If these resources are not available to you, a SaaS model might be the way to go.
- Technical expertise: We regularly hear about the complexities of running CAFM and IWMS solutions—often resulting in an in-house resident expert who has first hand experience with SQL and database management. This user has often learned how to rig the system over the years to make it work for customized needs. When this employee departs the organization, there is no residual ability to continue the system maintenance. Consider a solution that includes ongoing technical resource support for advanced changes and inquire into the ongoing costs associated.
Wisp has been excellent! Great technical and customer support an intuitive suite of built in reports and the ability to request customization. You can “right size” the module subscription to fit your need.
— Phillip, Facility Manager
With Wisp—we build it, we implement it, we host it, and we enhance it based on client needs.
We see clients struggle with these five hidden costs of space management software before switching to Wisp. That’s why our service model goes beyond SaaS to include implementation, integration, service and support, CAD maintenance, and security. We are there on day one and every day thereafter as a partner to do the heavy lifting of technical support and floor plan updates. Our team of Wisp Advisors, CAD Technicians, and Technical Support is standing by to help as much or as little as you need—from initial team trainings to running a last minute report for an executive meeting.