The scope and popularity of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), as well as its ability to transform real estate, workplace and business practice is laid out in a 2014 report published by technology consultancy and researchers Gartner. But the Gartner Magic Quadrant report also acknowledges that there are functions of IWMS that deserve specific focus in their own right, not least resource scheduling.
This is a particular issue for organisations who may be expanding or moving into new markets and geographies. It’s also a general problem, especially for those organisations based in areas where the demand for office space and other resources is outstripping its supply. London offers a prime example of this phenomenon. As a recent report from BNP Paribas Real Estate shows, the take up of leased office space in London is outstripping supply to such an extent that there are now record low vacancy rates in key business districts as well as sustained upward pressure on rents. It is also driving upward pressure on new commercial property developments themselves as new skyscrapers proliferate across the capital’s skyline.
Do more with what already exists
This is in many ways a logical response to concerns about a lack of real estate and resources, as developers and occupiers seek new ways to add to the resources available to them in the most cost effective way. But it only tells half of the story, because an alternative option is to make more effective use of those resources that already exist.
The debate on this subject echoes a similar one that took place in 18th and 19th centuries following the publication of treatise by Thomas Malthus which suggested that the exponential growth in the human population was unsustainable when resources – especially food – could only be increased at an arithmetical rate, for example by allocating more land to them. What we should have learned in the two centuries since Malthus first popularised this idea is that there are complex factors that can influence the resources we need; not least in terms of greater efficiency in the way we use them.
We don’t always need to add more resources, when there is scope to do more with the ones we have.
The major complicating factor for organisations in terms of their real estate is how to square off a relatively fixed resource like a building with the demands of its occupants, which can change from day to day. Add in the need to keep costs down and you are left with the conditions for a perfect storm that compels organisations to get more out of their resources.
The rise of agile workers
Even this hides another layer of complexity because the amount of physical space needed by a firm is no longer based solely on the number of people who work nine to five in a fixed place, but on a new idea of the office as a base to work from for an increasingly agile workforce.
The concept of resource scheduling is achieving such prominence and becoming a key business driver in its own right, and not just as a component of other workplace management systems. The Gartner IWMS report makes this explicit by detailing how resource scheduling is already a high growth segment of the market in its own right and is set to take off even more, as more and more parts of each organisation realise what they have to gain and become more aware of the tools available to them to achieve it.