Planon: What are the differences between ERP and IWMS software?

Both Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) solutions strive to reduce costs, integrate business processes and increase the efficiency of processes. Both are unbeatable in their specific areas, and have their own strengths and weaknesses.

While an ERP system is designed to support an organisation’s core business activities, an IWMS solution primarily focuses on processes involved in Facility Management (FM) and Real Estate Management (RE). If you also use an ERP system to support these secondary business processes, you only need to invest in the software once. This ensures that data (in most cases) is only stored once and in one central location, and that processes are integrated with each other. Reporting on these secondary processes is also supported. However, can an ERP system really handle this?

ERP systems focus on the primary process, not on FM or RE processes, which can lead to a lack of basic functionality that is required for secondary business processes. Besides the fact that ERP solutions often entail significant customisation, thereby substantially increasing the costs of upgrading to new releases, organisations run the risk of disrupting their core business activities if they use an ERP system to support both the core and secondary business processes. This is especially the case since many primary processes will depend entirely on the ERP and their continuity is therefore paramount.

A specialised IWMS solution is often used to gain insight into Facility and Real Estate Management processes and to perform tasks that ERP solutions are not fully able, or are completely unable, to support. IWMS solutions are more easily and quickly accepted by users due to their simplicity, ease of use and their adaptability to the needs of specific target groups. In addition, an IWMS is usually cheaper to purchase and its implementation is considerably quicker and involves fewer risks. However, an IWMS solution only supports Facility Management and Real Estate business processes…

[Admin: This post is related to the 08.25.16 post by Planon about three different perspectives on ERP vs. IWMS.]

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