What is CAFM and How Can it Help Your FM Team

image of two people working on their laptops

Facility management (FM) professionals are responsible for making sure that the systems that encompass the built environment or facility in a workspace, all work harmoniously. The role of a facility manager has multiple disciplines, all of which help ensure the functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the facility by integrating people, place, process and technology.

The responsibilities of an FM professional are challenging, especially in this ever-changing world, that’s why having a CAFM system is an integral support. Where FM professionals once relied on mountains of paperwork, perhaps inaccurate or out of date, they can now utilise a system that allows them to perform tasks more efficiently as the data is reliable, digitised, accessible and useful. With an effective CAFM system, you can reduce costs, oversee assets, manage space, support employees and their wellbeing, and so much more.

In this guide to CAFM systems, here at Ostara Systems we would like to take a look at its wide range of features and benefits. If you would like to learn more about our specific approach to CAFM, then get in touch with our team today.


What is CAFM and How Can it Help Your FM Team?

Facilities management, otherwise referred to as ‘FM’, is an industry that loves its acronyms, which can get a little confusing for newbies. So, what is CAFM? What does CAFM stand for, and what separates this piece of software from all the other types of maintenance management systems available?

Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) is specialist facility management software that delivers expert support for businesses with regards to the productive management of physical, financial and human resources. Not only does CAFM allow businesses to combine these factors, but it also means they can gain valuable insights too. Insights such as allowing FM professionals to see various aspects of their operations and processes across the business. In particular, it highlights any areas that require attention.


How a CAFM System Can Help Your Business

CAFM is a growing area of next generation information technology that can help businesses to move their key logistical tasks into a digital space. For example, a CAFM system can help your business by enabling the daily management of desk space or conference rooms, and allowing you to see how, when and where space is being utilised. The right CAFM solution can revolutionise and transform staff morale and aid preventive maintenance management. 

  • Offers maintenance management abilities with real-time data to aid with asset monitoring and preventive maintenance
  • Ability to handle the actual infrastructure inside a facility
  • In-built CAD visuals allow for storing a database of floor plans and space management
  • Can offer property management tools to help optimise business use of commercial space
  • Range of administrative and helpdesk support capabilities to help office staff
  • Better utilise the organisation’s assets throughout their lifecycle

One of the main distinctions between CAFM and other pieces of maintenance management software is that it uses CAD (computer-aided design) elements and visuals, combined with alphanumeric data processing.

This technology is sometimes referred to in these general terms: ‘FM’, ‘facilities management software’ and ‘facility management systems’. Or, it is used interchangeably with other systems such as CMMS, IWMS and EAM.


What Are the Differences Between CAFM, CMMS, IWMS and EAM?

If you’re a newly appointed facility manager, then learning all the different FM acronyms (there are a fair few!) can take a little while to get used to. You may also be asking yourself the question: what’s the difference between CAFM, CMMS, IWMS, and EAM?

Before we discuss the differences between all the different types of maintenance management software, let’s take a look at them individually.


CMMS – Computerised Maintenance Management System

This software focuses on the handling of the facility, specifically facility maintenance management requests. If something needs to be cleaned up, then the system will coordinate everything, from ticketing the request to task delegation.


CAFM – Computer Aided Facilities Management

This platform is concerned with the physical workplace environment and everything inside it. It handles everything from floor plans to space utilisation and more.


EAM – Enterprise Asset Management

Like the name suggests, this system is focused on the management of business assets. This software allows businesses to track and maintain, for example, how many computers or workstations they have and where exactly they are located. Asset tracking forms a large part of this system as well as maintenance, updates and accounting information for assets.


IWMS – Integrated Workplace Management System

Looking for an all-in-one software solution to manage your facilities? IWMS has it all. It encompasses all the tools you need for property portfolio management, including floor plans and more.

Now we’ve looked at the types of software individually, what are the differences between them? Why might you choose one of these pieces of facility management software over another?


Which Software is Best For You?

EAM vs CMMS (Assets vs. Facilities)

The difference between these two all comes down to assets vs. facilities. If you’re looking for a solution that will help ensure buildings are being properly serviced and maintained, CMMS is the approach to select. Whereas, if you’re seeking a tool that will enable you to oversee and aid with the management of assets, from computers to electronics, then EAM is the best solution for the job.


IWMS vs CAFM (Physical Facilities Management: Administrative Tools vs. Deployable Resources)

These two systems are very similar in their approach when it comes to physical facilities management. The main difference is that a CAFM system often lacks the ability to provide insight beyond the office floor. For multiple locations and different site properties, IWMS provides everything you will need. 


IWMS vs CMMS (Maintenance Need and Who Needs It)

What are the maintenance needs of your facility, and who manages them? For larger facilities management departments that delegate tickets and tasks to maintenance teams and other areas, an IWMS solution is the most capable of meeting your needs. IWMS allows facility managers to efficiently oversee maintenance, shedding light on problem areas and the costs associated with fixing them. CMMS, on the other hand, is perfect for a more singular focus in managing maintenance, particularly when tickets are submitted directly to maintenance.


What Are the Core Functions of CAFM Software?

The core objective of CAFM is to streamline FM responsibilities and support strategic decisions over the management of facilities. There is no set template for CAFM systems and each one currently on the market varies slightly in its capabilities. However, there are some key functions and features that you can expect to find.

A CAFM solution needs to be easy to interact with and able to present data in a clear, accessible and engaging way. This will come in the form of projections and forecasts, data management displays, and interactive graphics and databases.

  1. Asset Management
  2. Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM)
  3. Ability to Control Stock
  4. Helpdesk Support
  5. Space Management & Room Reservations
  6. Building Operations
  7. Property Management
  8. Employee and User Support
  9. Ability to Process Payments


What Are the Benefits of CAFM Solutions?

Investing in a CAFM solution has several key benefits for companies. Firstly, it helps reduce costs and allows for better and stronger decision making. Other benefits include:

  • Improving efficiency
  • Improving employee productivity and wellbeing
  • Empowering FMs
  • Enhancing space usage
  • Leading to longer asset life cycles
  • Environmental benefits
  • Improved reporting


What Industries Does CAFM Lend its Advantages to, and Who Benefits From CAFM?

Any business or organisation that has physical buildings and facilities can benefit from CAFM. The main aim of this system is to efficiently and effectively run buildings, as well as support the people within that working environment. 

Computer-aided facility management software is used by a wide range of different industries from retail, financial to commercial and for many different purposes. To effectively control the overall use of a business facility, and make serious improvements to asset management, having an effective CAFM solution is invaluable.

There are various roles within an organisation that can benefit from a CAFM solution, including facility manager, employees, visitors and clients, senior management, human resources and finance teams.

To learn more about the range of industries that Ostara Systems Ltd have helped implement and make use of CAFM, take a look at our collection of case studies and projects.


Is the Investment in CAFM Worthwhile?

When looking at improving your facilities management processes, you may be asking yourself: is the investment in CAFM software worthwhile? We believe it is, and here are three reasons why CAFM is a worthwhile investment for your business.

  1. Agility – working in this modern age requires businesses to be mobile and highly agile in order to be productive. CAFM helps companies monitor their business, evolve requirements, gauge employee productivity, as well as identify and tackle any challenges.
  2. Quantifiable reports – being able to generate reports that are useful and relevant is very important when it comes to facility management. A reporting tool allows for ongoing measurement, as well as provides insights into finances or employee productivity.
  3. Mobile management – we all want to be as productive and effective as possible in our jobs, a CAFM solution means that you can access critical information and manage your facilities from any device, anywhere you have an internet connection. 

CAFM systems have a significant potential for enabling organisations to better harness their facilities and assets. Thus, allowing them to make meaningful strategic decisions relating to efficiency, cost and workflows. Not only this, but it also makes life easier for FMs and the wider workforce.


Contact Ostara Systems

If you’re interested in learning more about our maintenance management software, you can get in touch with our team by calling 0844 880 2582. Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form.