- Computer-aided facility management
Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) is the support of facility management by information technology. The supply of information about the facilities is the center of attention. The tools of the CAFM are called CAFM software, CAFM applications or CAFM systems.
Enterprise Strategy: The Evolution of CAFM
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as the practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of the organization. As such, facility management has been practiced, whether specifically identified as its own discipline or not, since the inception of the business organization. It has evolved over the years through the development and codification of processes into a clearly defined field of expertise.
The establishment of IFMA, the professional association for facility managers, in 1980 was a significant step in this evolution. IFMA classifies facility management responsibilities into several major functional areas:
- Long-range and annual facility planning
- Facility financial forecasting
- Real estate acquisition and/or disposal
- Work specifications, installation and space management
- Architectural and engineering planning and design
- New construction and/or renovation
- Maintenance and operations management
- Telecommunications integration, security and general administrative services
CAFM evolved in the late 1980s leveraging the PC to automate the collection and maintenance of facilities management information. CAFM systems provided the facility manager with the tools to track and report on facilities information. Typically, CAFM systems track and maintain:
- Floor plans
- Building and property information
- Space characteristics and usage
- Employee and occupancy data
- Workplace assets (furniture and equipment)
- Business continuity and safety information
- LAN and telecom information
- Site assets and characteristics
While CAFM systems have delivered real benefits and their use has grown, their value has been limited by their ability to distribute information to those beyond facility management. As a result, many CAFM solutions are relegated to personal productivity or at best, a departmental tool.
CAFM System Evolution
A number of large and small companies provide CAFM products. Historically, such products have been designed to be installed on client-managed servers, while today some have evolved into cloud-based operations. Cloud services allow facility managers outsource the provision of CAFM software and data services without needing separate contracts or expertise to host and maintain physical servers.
Software products vary both on the types of activities they will manage and in the level of technical expertise they require with drawing tools such as AutoCAD.
The following list includes some of the providers in this space:
- Reflexion eFacilities Management Solution (by Lattice Computer Consultancy)
- Aperture (by Emerson Network Power)
- CAFM Explorer
- Compass Software Technology
- Discover CAFPM
- FAME Asset Management Solutions
- FM Systems
- FSI (FM Solutions) - Concept Evolution
- Manhattan Centerstone
- MicroMain Corporation - MicroMain Facilities Management
- Real Property Management Systems (RPMS)
- Service Works
- Saphire Computers - Integrated Business Management System (IBMS)
- Integrated Workplace Management System
- Building Information Modeling
- Facility management
- Computerized Maintenance Management System
- Property management system
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