What is CAFM?
Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) is a software platform that streamlines facilities management and maintenance. CAFM software spans space management, real estate planning, project management, building operations, preventive maintenance, and more. These systems leverage facilities data into performance metrics and planning tools to optimize the process of managing facilities — but they offer much less workflow and capability than an IWMS platform.
A key component to CAFM solutions is that they are very visual, combining CAD images (like floorplans) with data and data analysis to provide a user-friendly, top-down view of assets. This used to mostly mean simple 2D CAD drawings, but IWMS systems take this a step further with GIS satellite maps, and 3D BIM models.
ARCHIBUS launched the very first CAFM system in 1985, becoming the first system to integrate CAD drawings with facilities management. While a CAFM system covers a broad range of management activities, different organizations will focus on various key areas depending on their needs.
KEY AREAS INCLUDE
IWMS v. CAFM, What’s the Difference?
CAFM and IWMS solutions are really the same thing at different stages in the evolution of facilities management, with IWMS being the more advanced technology that has replaced CAFM in the workplace today. Think of IWMS as enhanced CAFM.
While CAFM solutions were the first solution to incorporate CAD drawings in a facilities management database, IWMS took things a step further by integrating with more data, systems, technologies, and a deeper workflow framework that makes IWMS a more useful communication platform for all stakeholders, from the Chief Financial Officer to maintenance staff using a tablet in the field.
Whereas CAFM focused on optimizing maintenance, operations, and space planning, IWMS software expanded from simply reducing costs to also enhancing productivity by optimizing facilities around the missions that they support. IWMS solutions accomplish this in threeprimary ways.
1. Deeper Integration
Integration with ERP systems, IoT sensors, and other systems means deeper and more detailed data on everything. Integration with more advanced technologies like 3D BIM and GIS means a more sophisticated visual interface.
2. Top-Down Planning
IWMS tools funnel all data into performance metrics, so that managers can easily generate reports, track trends, investigate workflow, measure results of initiatives, and simulate different scenarios.
3. Agile, Role-Based Workflow
An agile workflow framework allows organizations to define user roles for every level of their organization, controlling security access while connecting even contractor’s in the field with mobile apps and cloud systems.
In spite of these distinctions, however, some still use the term CAFM in reference to IWMS solutions, often interchangeably.
How Facility Management was Transformed by CAFM
Before CAFM, Facility Management as a field was hardly developed. CAFM was the first to platform to empower decision-makers to tap into the savings potential of their facilities using data. The integration with AutoCAD was key to enabling this, using imagery to make data management a user-friendly experience.
As functionality expanded, so did analysis, reporting, depth of data, and workflow, until CAFM became the advanced IWMS systems today. Now, facility management has gone far beyond finding savings in real estate, space, and maintenance. Todays IWMS systems transform the workplace with digital workflow frameworks and smart buildings. Where you work and how you have now become inseparable.
Asset Maintenance and Management
Among the primary goals of CAFM systems is to manage and maintain assets, but what are those assets exactly? Well in short, they comprise of everything in your organizations built environment.
What Kinds of Assets Does a CAFM or IWMS Manage?
What Asset Data Does a CAFM/IWMS Track?
The kinds of asset data tracked on CAFM solutions have expanded over time. Today, modern IWMS systems compile all kinds of data to incorporate operational and financial perspectives. Different staff roles are interested in different types of asset data. A workman may want to know about previous maintenance work on an asset, a staff member may want to know who was the last person responsible for an asset, whereas a CFO may be curious about how much it costs to replace an asset, or the total cost of ownership (TCO).
IWMS solutions will allow users to drill into the following kinds of data: