Why an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)?

The work that led to the decision to replace the University’s existing facilities software system (FAMIS) began several years ago. The primary users and sponsors of the system recognized that continuing to utilize a 15-year old enterprise technology platform would pose many challenges in the near- and long-term future for the University to manage its physical “assets” in a strategic and dynamic way. As related technologies and applications were evolving, it was clear that our current system (technically known as a CMMS or Computerized Maintenance Management System) either needed an upgrade or a full-out replacement with a more robust solution (technically known as IWMS or Integrated Workplace Management Solution). The latter option was chosen.

How did we get here?

A Request for Information (RFI) was issued in Spring 2019 in order for us to discover what the latest and greatest IWMS software systems were out there in the marketplace. Many conversations and discussions took place to ensure that all current campus users of FAMIS were aware of the process and that all potential campus users of a new system were aware of future possibilities to collaborate and integrate data from other disparate software systems used on campus.

The critical importance of the IWMS project was not thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic; in fact the pandemic highlighted the need for having a robust tool for all facilities-related data and information to be fully integrated and readily accessible in a user-friendly format. We were glad IWMS remained a University priority despite the disruptive events of 2020. In the Fall of 2020, a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued outlining for vendors what specific functionality and capability the University sought in a new software.

In January 2021, over 60 campus stakeholders were invited to participate in the selection process and attend full-day product demonstrations by four separate vendors. With the recommendation and support of senior leaders (including the VP of Finance and the Chief Information Officer), the UVM Board of Trustees on April 12, 2021 approved the project to move forward and to negotiate and enter a contract with the selected vendor, Planon Software. (Learn more about Planon).

How will we get there?

Typically a software deployment of this nature might take years, however we and the vendor are pressed into an ambitious implementation timeline as our desired “sunset” date on FAMIS (the Fall of 2022) is rapidly approaching and as existing campus technology is no longer able to support the current system.

Getting there— to fully design, develop, test and successfully launch an entirely new IWMS platform — will require the focus of a Core Implementation Team comprised of existing UVM staff members since no new staffing nor FTE’s have been assigned to carry out this major initiative. The Core Implementation Team formed in September 2021 includes long-serving staff members (some of whom were involved with deploying FAMIS back in 2006) along with other and newer staff to represent the major stakeholder groups who will utilize the new system.

The Core Team brings together institutional knowledge and in-depth experience using the current system. Additionally, dozens of other staff are serving as Subject Matter Experts (or SME’s) on various functional work teams. This project is essentially an “all hands on deck” moment as many existing staff from several campus units are being asked to make IWMS Project a high priority task.

When we get there, what might it look like?

The use of a single database and common platform will result in greater efficiencies of operation, consistent representation of data across functional areas, support simplified/unified reporting both within the IWMS application and as accessed from external Business Intelligence (BI) tools, and facilitate better communication within departments and across the organization.

For example, the new portal will feature:

  • an on-demand web-based Service Request forms
  • a tool for campus users to request maintenance, custodial and related services
  • a database for managing assets from building systems to moveable equipment
  • a database and information repository about all campus space usage
  • a reports server providing information for analyzing efficiency, utilities, facilities data and metrics for stakeholders

Stay tuned for more updates! We will use this blog each week to highlight a specific module or functionality of the IWMS so that campus users have a better sense of its features.

-The IWMS Core Team

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