There is considerable confusion around the numerous acronyms used to describe facilities management software, according to a survey conducted by Service Works.
The poll, conducted in both the UK and Australia, highlighted the fact that facilities managers use a variety of different terms to describe FM software, from CAFM and CMMS to IWMS, MMS and others, but many believe that they all offer broadly similar functionality.
It revealed that 40 per cent of FMs use the term computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) to describe the technology they use to support the FM function; 19 per cent prefer the simplicity of FM software; 14 per cent cite Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS); 12 per cent use Computerised Maintenance Management Software (CMMS); 5 per cent Facilities Management Information System (FMIS); 2 per cent use Maintenance Management Software (MMS); and 8 per cent use other acronyms entirely.
But more than 40 per cent of respondents believe that, despite the plethora of different terminology, they all refer to the same type of product which offers similar functionality. Almost a quarter felt they were different tools, while another quarter were unsure, possibly confused, by the number of acronyms in this area.
“The FM sector is full of acronyms, especially in the field of technology; many of which have been created by software vendors in an attempt to differentiate themselves in the market. However the wide range of acronyms and the lack of terminology definition are causing confusion about the varying functionality offered by these systems,” says Gary Watkins, CEO of Service Works. “Our own experience shows that facilities managers are using their FM software, CAFM, MMS, CMMS, IWMS, not just for reactive and planned maintenance, but for a variety of tasks including resource management, capital projects and space management, all of which are essential facets of the current expectations of what FM should be delivering. The landscape of facilities management software is changing, to a more widely-integrated one; in which the FM department shares data with other areas of the organisation, as part of a broader enterprise-wide solution, in which a constant flow of information is distributed, analysed and actioned to deliver company-wide benefits and efficiency.”