IWMS is Dead

I find IWMS systems problematic for the following reasons.
First and foremost, IWMS systems typically start as a monolithic application, with expertise in one area.

For example, a software company that built a CMMS system, then decides to add a capital planning module (CPMS) or a space planning module (CAFM), or a project delivery module.

Without appropriate domain expertise the result is a system that does a lot of things in a mediocre manner, vs. an integration of “best in class” solutions.
With the advent of cloud computing,  Owners can easily select “best in class” solutions and simply treat them as “plug-ins” to their private cloud.  Traditional software programs as we have known them are dying, and being replace by applets…think of your smart phone.

The real key is for Owners to develop life-cycle management capabilities.  Owners focus must be upon assuring robust ontology and the adoption of transparent, proven business processes.   Strategic portfolio management, collaborative project delivery (IPD – integrated project delivery, JOC – job order contracting), optimized portfolio operations management, and maximization of available resources must be the mantra for Owners.

Technology is no longer an issue, it’s Owner expertise.   Technology should never dictate process, its role is to support low cost, consistent deployment of organization best practices, and to improve transparency, collaboration, information reuse, and decision support.


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Time to Restart, Reinvent BIM … BLM… Built-environment Life-cycle Managment?

If one had to name the single most important aspect of BIM, I would select the project delivery method.   Collaborative methods are a requirement.  They set the tone, establish responsibilities, and determine if/how information is shared (as well as when and the format)… and ultimately determine the success or failure.  The good news is they are not new and they are proven.  The bad is that the market has cultural objection to change and to sharing.   Examples of collaborative methods are Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, Job Order Contracting, JOC, Public Private Partnerships, PPP, etc.

Equally important is a life-cycle view vs. first cost mentality.  This provides true value for everyone and removes the disadvantages associated with low bid.

I have been blessed to be able to work with the largest Owners across all market sectors as well as contractors, subs, and AEs of all sizes.  My focus is upon both the strategic aspects of life-cycle management and tactical implementation supported by technology and robust data architectures. 

As we all know, there’s a lot of dysfunction in the AECOO market,   Folks continue to attempt to reinvent the wheel despite proven business best practices, vendors (especially software) mislead by saying the “do everything”…especially the IWMS folks.  Also the BIM focus has largely focused upon 3D visualization and many don’t even understand life-cycle management, requirements, and/or metrics.

The 3D visualization aspect BIM has little true value at the moment other that pretty pictures, crash detection, and prefabrication (specific material vendors).

BIM is really BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) and therefore must support a as framework of collaborative project delivery.   Many/most current methods and models only support linear and/or serial processes vs. parallel co-existent cycles.



A BIM / BLM primary issue that has been largely avoided to date is the lack of a robust BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) ONOTLOGY.     BLM/BIM will continue to be impossible without one.   For starters what is a life-cycle…what are the primary phases…competencies…technologies… metrics…? 
There is a reason BLM/BIM has stagnated… and this is it. 

Is there a BIM/BLM clear mission statement, clear value. proposition,  robust ontology….documented proven business best practices, quantitative metrics… all of these must precede technology. 
Tech is just an enabler for cost-efficient deployment, etc.

BIM Life-cycle Data is CRITICAL to Facility Management Economics

  • BIM is not “rocket science”, but simply the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  Putting the 3D visualization distraction aside, savvy Owners have been practicing BIM for decades.  These Owners actually monitor the physical and functional conditions of their structures and match them against their organization needs and resources.  That is BIM.
  • What is needed is consistent, standardized terms, metrics, and cost information and life-cycle management business processes as well as collaborative construction delivery methods.
  • Owners, Contractors, AEs must all have matching agendas and compatible business processes. 
  • Roles, responsibilities, and deliverables must be spelled out.
  • Identify each project participant wants and needs.  This spans facility end users, facility management staff, contractors, AE’s … and assure requirements are practical, fair, and reasonable.
  • BIM is a process more than anything.  No one know everything and No software technology does everything… let alone everything well.  Don’t fall into the IWMS or EAS trap.  Get the right tools for each knowledge domain and the right experts who are willing to share information.  There is no silver bullet!!!   Strength, efficiency, and knowledge come from collaboration.   
  • Collaborative construction delivery methods such as Job  Order Contracting, JOC, and Integrated Project Delivery, IPD will do more for improving your FM and new construction project than any other time investment you can make.



Has anyone else just about “had it” with IWMS vendors and proponents?  IWMS is little more than the facility management version of an ERP system, and many/most of us know how well ERP turned out.

There isn’t a single IWMS vendor that handles each knowledge domain of facility life-cycle management well.  The reason is obvious, no single IWMS vendor can possibly have true expertise, at a granular level, as well as demonstrated robust business process acumen/capability across all competencies associated with life-cycle management of the built environment.

Now comes the basic question… do I … as a facility Owner… decide to perform a mediocre job in certain “critical areas” of facility management and thus select and IWMS system… or do I attempt to integrate “best-in-class” technology solutions from each knowledge domain?

Luckily the decision is being made for us… though some of us may not be aware of this fact.   BIM is the “life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology”.  Forget the current pervasive and silly focus upon 3D visualization for a second, but instead concentrate on BIM as collaborative, transparent, standard-based integration of best business practices, information, and decision support.

Cloud computing is transforming the very fabric of how we all conduct business on a daily basis.  Current  “monolithic” and or “patchwork” systems are disappearing, and being replaced by granular “plug-ins”, linked via standard cloud computing rules that perform functions exactly as the Owner and associated Stakeholders desire…and further more can be continuously improved without major delay or investment.

IWMS vs. BIM?   There wasn’t even a skirmish.  IWMS never even made it to the battlefield.

Focus today is, as it should be, upon collaborative efficient construction delivery methods supported by technology.  Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Job Order Contracting (JOC), and Public Private Partnership (PPP) are examples of these “project delivery methods of the future”, being practice today by savvy Owners, Contractors, Sub-contractors, AE’s, and oversight groups as we speak.

BIM - Life-cycle Management Perspective (2)facility-life-cycle-technology-and-process-roadmap1-300x172

IPD - Integrated Project Delivery and JOC - Job Order Contracting
IPD – Integrated Project Delivery and JOC – Job Order Contracting

IWMS and EAM are buzzwords!

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology…. EAM and IWMS are “buzzwords”.


To achieve efficient the life-cycle management involved a list of competencies, processes, technolgies…  please add to the list!

  1. Collaborative construction delivery methods
  2. Transparency
  3. Common glossary of terms
  4. Common information exchange formats
  5. Management  “buy in”
  6. A focus upon “life-cycle costs” and/or “total cost of ownership” vs. “first costs”
  7. Metrics, Benchmarks, standardized and detail cost information – “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

Achievement of efficient life-cycle management of the built environment requires a fundamental shift in how the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, Owner) sector conduct business.  BIM and Cloud Computing are disruptive technologies that will assist in this “transformation”…which as already begun.. while economic and environmental market drivers will assure the transformation.

Adoption of collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and Job Order Contracting (JOC) … both decades old… has accelerated, and also are important BIMF - Building Information Management Framework

BIM Technology and Process Road Map
BIM Technology and Process Road Map

change agents.

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