Trends in Facility Management Software: Updates from the 2008 ARCHIBUS Conference

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” 
Bill Pollard, The ServiceMaster Company

With the constant change in the facility management industry, Mr. Pollard’s comments about learning and innovation ring true. Being well equipped with tools and knowledge to respond to industry trends is a critical component of protecting an organization’s physical environment.

Members of the in4mation division of GBBN recently attended the ARCHIBUS conference on facility management software in Washington DC to gain exposure to industry trends and new products. The annual conference is attended by a community of international facility professionals interested in attending training, sharing accomplishments, learning about new products and trends in the facility management software industry, and reconnecting with associates.

 “Of particular interest at this year’s conference were the influences of BIM technology, sustainability trends, and GIS interactivity with traditional CAFM technologies,” said Brent Reiner of the in4mation division. He added, “We have known for years that one of the primary strengths of ARCHIBUS is its flexibility. The annual conference provides an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas and the showcasing of unique achievements.” 

At this year’s conference, ARCHIBUS unveiled the Overlay for Revit product, which is designed to interface between BIM (Building Information Modeling) and the ARCHIBUS database. While BIM has strong support in the design and construction industry, its applicability to the facility management realm is still being explored. The Overlay for Revit helps organizations transition information from BIM models into ARCHIBUS, which is a more widely accepted solution for the management of daily operations such as work orders, equipment, and projects. Although the debate continues, we maintain the position that solutions such as ARCHIBUS are necessary to the ongoing operations of a facility. BIM models have incredible levels of detail, however ARCHIBUS is better poised to provide CMMS functionality to organizations with multiple buildings and locations and a distributed work force using web and remote handheld technologies. 

The topic of sustainability was woven throughout several sessions at the conference. The ARCHIBUS TEAMS product offers capabilities for environmental monitoring, LEED project scoring and comments, abatement project support, and waste management. Energy management was also a theme discussed in several sessions. ARCHIBUS is actively being used at several organizations to track energy usage for trending and management across entire portfolios of buildings. 

Finally, the conference highlighted the closer relationship between CAFM and GIS.  Traditionally, CAFM systems have owned the market for tracking and managing space inside of a building, and GIS has owned the market for managing exterior asset and site information. The introduction of GIS extensions for ARCHIBUS makes integration between ARCHIBUS and ESRI’s GIS solutions significantly easier.  

“Overall the conference provided great information and gave us an opportunity not only to learn what’s new, but what the future possibly holds regarding advancing technology,” said Reiner. He added, “We invite anyone interested to please contact a member of the in4mation team to learn more about these recent developments, or to explore how ARCHIBUS can help make facility and property management at your organization more efficient."