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Episode 87

Introducing iXMS: The Next Generation of IWMS - Preparing You for the Continual Next

with Susan Clarke of Verdantix and Chad Smith of iOFFICE

Susan Clarke is Principal Analyst at Verdantix and Chad Smith is Vice President of Product Strategy at iOFFICE and they both have an interest in helping clients use smart building technologies to enhance the workplace experience. In November 2019, Mike Petrusky hosted a live webinar broadcast called “Introducing the Next Generation of IWMS: Preparing You for the Continual Next” where Chad introduced his vision for iXMS. During this webinar, Susan shared the latest research on wellbeing in smart buildings and how facility management and real estate professionals are prioritizing employee engagement as a key business outcome for today’s workplace. Chad and Susan deliver valuable insights as we head into 2020 and they will inspire you be a workplace innovator in your organization!

The Next Generation of IWMS: iXMS

Download a FREE “Workplace & Space Management Software” report from Verdantix: https://www.iofficecorp.com/verdantix-report-mp

Connect with Susan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-clarke-79b3a225/

Connect with Chad on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaddavidsmith/

Download the FULL webinar recording: https://www.iofficecorp.com/webinar-download-the-next-generation-iwms-ixms

Learn more about iXMS: https://www.iofficecorp.com/ixms-next-generation-iwms

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com

Learn more about iOFFICE’s workplace experience solutions: https://www.iOFFICECORP.com/

Read the full transcript below: 

Mike (00:02):

Hi everyone. Mike P here, and I have two big announcements for you. First, I am thrilled to tell you that we have just launched a new website to serve as the home of this podcast. You can check it out now at www.workplaceinnovator.com. There, you will find not only the latest episode of the show, but a link to our complete searchable archive of interviews. Plus, the new site has available for free download, research reports and white papers about the latest industry trends and available technologies.

            Also, I'm excited to announce that registration is open for the annual IOffice User Conference. Our summit 2020 will take place April 14th through 16th, and I really hope you will plan to join me there. We will bring the future to life with amazing speakers, educational content, and you'll have the chance to interact with our community of forward-thinking workplace leaders. So join us in Vegas baby, Vegas, where you will be inspired to create connected workplace experiences for your organization.

Chad Smith (01:05):

We feel that we are doing something fundamentally different within IOffice. We're not throwing the baby out with the bath water. We're not saying IWMS is a bad thing. We're saying that it has evolved, and IXMS is really focused again on experience within the workplace.

Mike (01:21):

This is the Workplace Innovator Podcast, where we talk with corporate real estate and facility management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by IOffice, the leading employee experience focused IWMS software that delivers real time data and mobile tools to help you intelligently manage your digital workplace.

            Welcome to episode 87 of the show, where we sometimes bring to you what I like to call a cliff's notes version of the monthly hour long webinars that we produce for you here at IOffice, and today I've got a really cool one for you. Last month, I hosted a discussion with industry analyst, Susan Clark of Verdantix, along with Chad Smith, the VP of product strategy here at IOffice, who shared a vision for the future of the workplace management software market. And He introduced us to what we are calling IXMS, the next generation of IWMS. And I tell you, I learned a whole lot during these presentations, and I know you will too. So, let's dive right in.

            Welcome to this very special IOffice webinar. My name is Mike Petroski, and I will be your host for today's presentation, as we introduce what we are calling the next generation of IWMS. I'm really excited about this one, folks. We have Chad Smith and Susan Clark here with us, and they will be sharing their thoughts about both the state of the workplace technology marketplace today, and where they believe we are headed as an industry. As we continue on our journey into the future of work together, we will be preparing you for the continual next.

            Of course, as always, you can stay in touch with us and all that's going on here at IOffice on our social channels. We offer a continuous stream of content designed to help you as a workplace leader. In addition to these webinars and things like blogs and white papers, we have a podcast, and I am happy to be your host for the Workplace Innovator Podcast. My guests are amazing and I learn so much from them and we do it in a way that keeps it interesting and relevant and also fun. We like to have fun on this show because we all are in a shared human experience as we journey together. So people are people, as Depeche Mode told us back in the 1980s, and making such musical references sometimes leads me to some very off key singing, but I hope you'll forgive me for that and check out the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or at the IOffice website.

            Okay, well, let's meet our presenters, shall we? Coming to us from London, England, I am pleased to welcome Susan Clark. Hi Susan.

Susan Clark (04:04):

Hi there and good morning everyone, and thanks very much for having me today, Mike. My name is Susan. I'll just briefly introduce myself. I'm a principal analyst here at Verdantix. We're an independent technology analysis firm. I work in our smart building research team, specifically leading the Verdantix research into IWMS solutions and I've actually been a technology analyst covering the smart building space for nearly 10 years now.

Mike (04:34):

Awesome. I can't wait to hear more about what you've discovered in your research and how it applies to what we're talking about today because our VP of product strategy, Chad Smith, now I've had a sneak preview of Chad's presentation recently at both the IFMA and Cornet conferences that took place in the last few weeks. But Chad, please introduce yourself and tell us what you do for IOffice.

Chad Smith (04:55):

Hi, Mike. Hi, Susan. Hi, everybody. Mike, I first have to say, I feel kind of cheated because I know you're not going to have time to ask us about our favorite music, but I'm not kidding, if you had, Depeche Mode would have been at the top of my list.

Mike (05:07):

Yes. Okay. Well people are people, so why should it be... See, I was going to avoid that today, Chad, but you brought it out of me.

Chad Smith (05:15):

You made me think about it and they're at the absolute top of my list of old songs that I [crosstalk 00:05:21].

Mike (05:20):

Excellent.

Chad Smith (05:21):

So yeah, I'm thrilled to be here. I've had about 20 years experience in the whole software, real estate facilities world. Started as a young architect using different types of applications for project management, construction management, space management. Worked through a variety of different tools over the years, spent most of my time in the IWMS sector working largely with solutions like [inaudible 00:00:05:43], Archibus. As you know, Mike, I just joined IOffice in July of this year. I'm thrilled to be here. We have a great team. We have a great product. So I'm looking forward to the future.

Mike (05:53):

As am I. Well, I don't have time to talk about music on this particular broadcast, but I do want to get us inspired. I do often ask my guests on the show to deliver an inspirational quote of some kind, set the stage, get us kind of in a good mindset for the content we're going to share together. So Susan, can you kick us off with an inspirational quote?

Susan Clark (06:14):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And the quote that I find inspirational actually comes from a German-American economist, Rudi Dornbusch, and talking about the economy and specifically the various boom and bust cycles that we have seen over history. He once said "In economics, things take longer to happen than you think they will, and when they happen, they happen faster than you thought they could." And this is, of course, a very interesting quote, which actually as a technology analyst, I find is also quite relevant when thinking about technology. And we've actually seen some technologies, particularly in the consumer sector, reach mass market very quickly. I'm thinking there about some of the kind of consumer facing apps such as kind of Uber, Facebook, but also Amazon's Alexa, that is a technology where it's quite mind blowing how quickly it's reached the market very quickly.

Mike (07:18):

Absolutely. That's amazing, and that's something I talk about on the show a lot too, as well. This fact that we are so used to the technology so fast. I mean, the iPhone, the smartphone, came out just 12 years ago and it seems like we've had it forever, right? We're just so used to that level of consumer friendly technology experience. That's what we expect in our workplaces today as well. So, good stuff. Thank you, Susan. Chad, what do you have for us?

Chad Smith (07:42):

Well, I'm going to turn to Mahatma Gandhi. I don't even know where I stumbled upon this. I think somebody shared it with me with a few years ago, and it just really resonated with me personally, professionally, and I think it just speaks volumes to how we can think and how we can create new things and how we can behave and build the future. So, Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and ultimately your values become your destiny. So, it's really kind of thinking, in my mind, every little thing over the course of the day, and of course as I try to apply this in my own life, I fail on a regular basis, but I think it's a good target for really thinking about everything you're doing and thinking and saying, and behaving and how you build that future day by day, bit by bit.

Mike (08:28):

Really good. Gandhi's good for a good quote or two isn't he?

Chad Smith (08:31):

Yeah, that's really relevant.

Mike (08:32):

Absolutely. Be the change, and actually this is a great roadmap to why we do what we do as human beings, so thanks for sharing, Chad. That really is a good foundation now for this conversation on the next generation of IWMS. I'm excited to get to this. So Susan, let's kick it off with you. I'm going to let you share a little bit more about Verdantix, what you do, what your research is showing you and where you think we're headed.

Susan Clark (08:58):

Great. Thanks very much, Mike. Before I kick off, who is Verdantix? We are a technology analyst firm and we produce research on technologies that optimize real estate and building. Verdantix has been around for just over 10 years now. So I'm joining this webinar today to share with you some of our recent research insights on the topic of employee wellbeing, and particularly within facilities and real estate management. And the main takeaway from my session is that employee wellbeing is the new focal point for smart building, and really all building managers should be thinking about how they can bring the topic of workplace experience into their strategy.

            What we're seeing in our research here at Vedantix is that today smart buildings have a new mission. High performing buildings are being designed and managed to improve the occupant experience and strive better wellbeing amongst the occupants. And all of this is in the hopes that it will support various strategic initiatives, such as talent attraction, retention, and also improving a firm's brand image. And this really is a development on previous visions, that the focus was on finding operational efficiencies and minimizing environmental impact, but today what we're seeing is that we're entering into a new era, and this is one that is about making buildings engaging for people.

            And also another interesting trend that Verdantix has seen, particularly over the past two years, is that firms are considering how they can improve their workplaces, particularly as they look to mitigate some of the potentially negative impacts of running space consolidation and space rationalization programs. And taking a more strategic look at how firms use their own space has been another kind of hot topic on the real estate gender over the past few years. This growing interest in workplace experience, it is also driving firms to consider new investments in technology in various software solutions and hardware solutions that can contribute to a better working environment.

            And what we're also seeing here at Verdantix is that the interest in improving employee experience in the workplace is also changing what facilities managers are looking for from their software. Facility managers today are interested in expanding the touch points of their IWMS or their computer aided facilities' management systems to include all building occupants. They want their IWMS or their [inaudible 00:11:51] systems to extend beyond the real estate function, and also support with creating a positive workplace experience for users. And that's driving strong interest from facilities managers in acquiring software, which is very intuitive to use, and also available on mobile apps.

            So to finish up my section, I'd like to make the case that today all firms should be thinking more about wellbeing. But at the same time, we do need to be mindful that it can be challenging for building managers to identify what are the initiatives that will make a great impact. And for me, a really good framework for thinking about the potential of workplace engagement is JLL's 330 300 rules. It illustrates that the typical cost of a building per square foot and per year. I'll just summarize it to you very quickly. So kind of ballpark figures, it suggests in terms of spending three dollars per year, per square foot on utilities. There's $30 going on rent and $300 going on payroll and what the rule shows to us, particularly for a facility manager, is that while energy is a great starting point for thinking about your building, it is a relatively low area of spend and it can be quite limiting to think about a smarter building, just in terms of energy management.

            The rule also highlights that tackling space efficiency is well worth it. Firms are spending a lot on rent, a lot on occupancy, and there's lots of opportunity there. But the what the rule is really highlighting to us, is that the biggest payoff can come from staff in making them more productive. And today in the building management space, this is becoming the new Holy Grail. Everyone wants to improve the three hundreds and they want to think about how they can get more from their staff. So that's it from me, I'm handing now back to Mike to continue today's webinar.

Mike (14:03):

Thank you, Susan. Well done, and really exciting to hear what you've discovered in your research. It really mirrors what I'm hearing on my podcast each and every week. My guests are talking about that need to meet the expectations of the occupants of our facilities. And there's a great opportunity there as facility management and workplace leaders can have an impact on this, but there's also some challenges. How do we do it? What tools do we use?

            So Chad, I'm going to turn it over to you and hopefully hear about some solutions for us. Take it away, Chad.

Chad Smith (14:36):

Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Susan. That was really interesting. I think it's extremely interesting here in 2019 to talk about the evolution of a high performance building. And I'll bring that home to us here at IOffice and talk about how this is really impacting how we're thinking of the future, how we're thinking of our product and the strategy in general. For those of you who may not be perfectly familiar with us, our vision as a company, as a software vendor, is to essentially create connected workplace experiences, not just for the sake of it, but ultimately to Susan's point around the JLL 330, 300 point around driving better business outcomes in organizations. So there's a real purpose and urgency to doing this, to engage employees, but also to help our clients have better business results within their organizations.

            I wanted to build upon some of the Verdantix research. We certainly looked to Verdantix for insights. We talk to our clients, we have customer advisory boards, things of that nature, but I think we're all hearing similar things where this is important for lots of different reasons, but at the top of the list in 2019, as Susan said, is engaging employees, finding the proper experience for those people so that they can be connected to their workplace and be productive and get their job done. Especially in 2019, as people are working in more agile environments, many of us are working from home, like I am today. I'll travel to our office next week and have to check in and find a spot. Part of the whole process here and focus of what's really impacting real estate strategy is that constant moving, constant churn, constant change within the workplace. And as a result of that constant change is really focusing on ensuring that employees are well and that they have healthy spaces, but also healthy tools to engage them in the workspace, provide them the spaces that they need to get their job done.

            So I think the question on the next slide is essentially, aren't integrated workplace management solution supposed to be doing that? As I said, I've had lots of experience in IWMS, IOffice is classified as an IWMS. I think the truth here is that it's a kind of a yes and no answer, and so I want to tease that apart and talk about some of the challenges within IWMS on the next slides.

            Our first challenge is essentially IWMS when it was developed, as Susan said, about 15 years ago, the primary focus here was not primary, but a bit of a diluted focus was around five different pillars. You have real estate, real estate planning transactions, lease administration as one module. You had space management, move management, space planning, strategic planning is another component, capital projects, capital planning, budgets, and construction schedules and things of that nature. You have maintenance operations, maintain the facilities, both corrective and planned maintenance. And then last but not least was environmental sustainability, but that fifth pillar was somewhat late to the game, but it eventually became a important, as Susan said, especially five, 10 years ago when that was essentially the definition of what a high performing building was, energy efficient and focused on that.

            The challenge to this is in some ways that because there's so many different components to the full life cycle of real estate, assets and managing those things, the focus often got diluted. And I think we would make the case at IOffice that space is foundationally the most critical component of all these in the workplace, especially in 2019. They're all important, but if you don't have your space management under control, if you don't know what's in your workplace, you're not going to be able to know what sort of real estate transactions you need to entertain, whether it's selling or leasing a property. You certainly are not going to know how to maintain those spaces if you don't know where they are or what they are.

            And back to the topic today around employee experience and employee engagement, you're certainly not going to be able to know how to engage those employees. So it's really critical and we feel that either IWMS should prioritize space as its most important core pillar.

            So we feel, on the next slide, that we are doing something fundamentally different within IOffice and it's really, in my opinion, shattering the whole concept. We're not throwing the baby out with the bath water. We're not saying IWMS is a bad thing. We're saying that it is evolved and we have evolved as one of those companies that develop IWMS solutions, and we're providing something new to our clients. In the next slide we'll talk about what that next thing is.

            IXMS is really... The X in IXMS stands for a few things. It's literally the next letter in the alphabet. It follows conveniently after W so it stands for the next generation of IWMS. But it's really focused, again, on experience within the workplace, both the employee experience, as well as the user experience. So, it's all about that user experience. The X also refers to, and we'll talk about this here in a minute, the continual next. X, as in, we use X a lot to refer to the unknown. And so it's really building upon a foundation of technology that lends itself to addressing things that might be invisible, or at least not totally well known today, things like AI and machine learning. Things that we want to engage better in the workplace. It's preparing us to address those types of solutions based on the architecture of our solution.

            So just like IWMS has a description, we feel that IXMS builds upon that description. We're still focusing on those five foundational pillars. We're still focusing on total cost of ownership. We're talking about building solutions that integrate with each other and simplify people's lives, but fundamentally we feel that IXMS takes IWMS to the next level. And the first thing here, the most critical component within our solution set is that, focus on space, space management, workplace management, space planning, making sure that we foundationally understand what's going on in the workplace in order to better plan for the future. Whether it's helping our clients understand from an energy perspective, if they have wasted space, can they reduce their carbon footprint by getting rid of unnecessary space? Do they have enough space for employee growth or attrition that they're facing? Do they have the right types of spaces? That's critical in 2019, especially as we're talking about employee engagement.

            So what we're going to be doing moving forward as a software vendor from a strategic perspective is yes, we will continue to build upon our foundation of space and operations and the other IWMS components, integrations, but we're really looking at the entire life cycle of an employee from the moment they interview at an organization to the moment they exit that organization as an ex-employee. We're going to be looking at opportunities to expand hummingbird and build additional capabilities around what we already provide. With that, I'm going to pause and turn it back to Mike.

Mike (21:06):

Excellent. Thank you both so much. Susan Clark, thank you for being on the webinar today.

Susan Clark (21:12):

Great. Thank you for having me.

Mike (21:14):

And Chad, thanks so much.

Chad Smith (21:16):

Thanks, Mike. Always a pleasure

Mike (21:19):

There you have it, folks. Susan Clark of Verdantix discussing trends in the IWMS marketplace today, and our very own Chad Smith, introducing you to IOffice's mission and vision in this fast moving world of workplace technology tools and what we are calling IXMS. Awesome.

            Now, I mentioned that these presentations are edited summaries of an hour long webinar, so I have shared a link in the show notes where you can download the full discussion and slide deck that was recorded last month. And I highly recommend that you check it out as Susan shared some specific Verdantix research on the priorities of facility management and real estate professionals after they surveyed 300 leaders earlier this year. And of course, the slides that both Susan and Chad shared were really helpful to bring clarity to what I believe is a very important topic as we head into the workplace, 2020.

            So I am confident you will find it all very valuable, if you take the time to watch. I hope you are finding this podcast valuable, as we will be back again next week with another new interview that will help to inspire you to be a workplace innovator. Peace out

            You've been listening to the Workplace Innovator Podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to build partnerships that lead to innovative workplace solutions.

            For more information about how iOFFICE can help you create an employee centric workspace by delivering digital technology that enhances the employee experience visit iofficecorp.com.