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FM Technology Users Forum
World Workplace '00

Facilitators: Peter S. Kimmel and Rod Stevens



On September 18, 2000, the FM Technology Users Forum met to discuss recent developments about using automated systems for FM. The session was moderated by Peter Kimmel (FMLink, Bethesda, MD) and Rod Stevens (Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Des Moines, IA).

The participants were comprised mostly of facilities managers; there also were designers and architects, and CAFM vendors and consultants. The participants were divided into three groups, and discussed four topics (some groups focused more on one of the topics than others):

    1. How computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) technology is being applied successfully, including cost-related benefits;
    2. How corporate intranets and extranets are being used for CAFM and for sharing FM and corporate information;
    3. What FMs are looking for in FM e-commerce offerings; and
    4. Tips and tricks for making CAFM applications effective.

At the end of the one hour session, the leader of each group presented its findings to the other groups. This Web page is a summary of what each group reported. The comments are intended primarily to give people an idea as to the variety of ways systems are being used; of course, each situation is different, and what works well for some may not necessarily work well for others. We hope an idea or two may come out of what follow.

Continuing the Discussions . . .

The participants were informed that the FM Forum discussion group on the Net, at, would be an ideal place to continue their discussions about any of these topics. Anyone interested in this should go to the FM Forum Web site and either participate in someone else's discussion, or start a new discussion. So, please continue your discussions on FM Forum!


Special appreciation is offered to the three group leaders, who took the time to compile each group's findings and submit them to FMLink:

Amy Gottlieb, Facilities Manager, Delta Dental Plan of California, San Francisco, CA.

Philip Martin, President, Synergistic FM Solutions, Reston, VA

Anthony Pearson, Principal, CSV Consultants Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This Web page was compiled by FMLink, based on the notes submitted by the group leaders. Should there be any changes required, based on what transpired at the FM Technology Users Forum, please e-mail them to, and they will be made.

To see more about FMLink, the largest information resource on the Net for FMs, just go to the FMLink Home Page at Free registration may be required to see some of the pages.

Sessions from Previous World Workplace Conferences

The following are links to pages with write-up from this session at other World Workplace Conferences:

Group 1

Notes submitted by Amy Gottlieb, Facilities Manager, Delta Dental Plan of California

  1. The roundtable group consisted of 11 conference attendees in the following disciplines:
  2. 5 Facilities managers
    1 CAFM software representative
    4 FM Service Providers
    1 CAFM consultant

  3. One FM Service Provider is currently using SPAN FM for a project at NASA
    • 230 buildings have been input in CAD then used to track space planning and employees
    • The system is used for ongoing chargebacks, asset management, maintenance and property management
    • Info has been put on the web using an Oracle data base for read only access to plans
    • Customer can red-line drawings and send back information for updates
    • Information is reviewed and approved by Facility department before any of the redlines are implemented as changes
    • The website (no special software required) contains a picture of the building and floor plans
    • Information on the building is tracked from the SPAN database
    • The project took 5 years to implement using Intergraph and an additional 5 years using SPAN FM
  1. Technology enables sharing of data bases and layering of information
  2. One FM representing a furniture manufacturer was interested in:
    • implementing a data base for products
    • controlling asset inventories in 35 showrooms
    • blueprints of the buildings and contents in layers
  1. Most CAFM systems need to have a CAD data base / as-built drawings (furniture / power and signal) as a starting point
  2. Human Resources and IS will probably be tracking some of the same data
  3. NASA has weekly "dumps" of information from security dept. for adds/moves/changes
  4. Within the organization the ownership of information / data bases are not willingly shared
  5. It is not pre-requisite to have CAD drawings to implement use of a FM work order system
  6. Implementation can be and should be done in "baby steps"—"donít try to swallow the whole elephant"
  7. Graphics required by facilities groups would not be needed by asset group, but information on changes would affect both
  8. Most CAFM systems are going toward an Oracle database for easier interface with other databases
  9. ARCHIBUS does not need to be customized. Programming information must be personalized. Modules can be purchased as off the shelf software.
  10. If the ARCHIBUS program is customized by the end user in any way, it will not be compatible with a new version and would need reengineering
  11. When selecting a CAFM program know what questions to ask. Perform a needs analysis having full representation to identify which modules would be best utilized
  12. Set up good standards
  13. Diligence in information management throughout the organization
  14. Good testing / good training (is key!)
  15. Manage expectations for everyone
  16. CAFM is not a "product" it is a process
  17. Collaborate and share information internally and externally
  18. Data must be maintained for CAFM system to be used to full potential

Group 2

Notes submitted by Philip Martin, President, Synergistic FM Solutions

This Round Table discussion group consisted of 13 participants. The group was comprised of 5 facilities managers, several representatives from the design community (e.g., architects and engineers), and several FM consultants.

From the outset, the discussion was quite lively and most interactive. The focus of this discussion group concentrated on the Project Extranets. The conversation was enriched by the involvement of participants from Germany and Brazil, who had a very strong need to collaborate with team members who often are geographically dispersed.

Most of the discussion from the perspective of the facilities manager was generated by three participants representing a large multi-national aerospace manufacturer, a large law firm, and a large entertainment conglomerate. Each expressed keen interest in the topic of how Project Extranets may help them be more effective, but neither they nor the other facilities managers at the table had actually implemented a project Extranet application they could share with the others in the group. There was consensus that to-date, only experimentation and exploration was underway in the new arena.

The group listed the general needs in this area in terms of importance. It was widely accepted that the need to share drawings and related documents in an online community concept on a project would be very beneficial. Several participants commented that they could envision how collaboration in an online setting between various project team members could save a lot of time and improve efficiencies while reducing the overhead and administrative aspects associated with a project. There was some dialogue associated with the controversy over whether it would be better to purchase the software application versus the subscription services. Several participants commented that they had visited the different Project Extranet service providers who were exhibiting in the Learning Center and they were quite impressed with the features and benefits.

There then was discussion on the need for radical Process Improvement in oneís organization as the decision is made to implement these types of tools. It also was mentioned that these tools can be very effective Accountability tools for the facilities manager and Owner to introduce in order to ensure that the non-value-added activities on a project can be substantially reduced if not eliminated. It is important, one person stated, to recognize that these innovative communication tools require organizational behavioral changes as well in this process. It was at this time in the discussion that several participants recalled that, similar to the CAFM programs, this is not about products, but rather a process.

In summary, the discussion was rich in sharing and the venue provided a most welcomed setting for the exchange among the participants. The dialogue was so positive that the group determined that they would like to establish an online "Chat Room" to continue the discussion of Project Extranets as well as other related topics. E-mail addresses were compiled and a Group Scribe will be organizing the discussion "thread" for the group to continue interacting and sharing with their peers via the Internet in an on-going discussion.

Group 3

Notes submitted by Anthony Pearson, Principal, CSV Consultants Inc.

The roundtable group consisted of 9 conference attendees representing the following functions:

1 - Facilities manager
1 - Full implementation service provider
1 - Planning & design/interiors specialist
1 - Strategic planner (CAFM data)
1 - Web-based CAFM implementer
1 - Engineer
1 - Federal government FM technology specialist
1 - Hi-tech vendor (building technologies support)
1 - Architect/FM consultant


  • Any CAFM product implementation can be successful if the client properly applies resources.
  • Organizations typically lack the resources necessary to meet their expectations.


  • Off-the-shelf CAFM software products each have particular strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use of a customized application of a third-party product running on top of AutoCAD can be the first step towards a full-blown CAFM system.
  • Most clients are swayed by the "bells and whistles".
  • Software represents only 10-30% of the total implementation costs.


  • Early in the process it is necessary to identify and integrate what is often a large list of data sources.
  • In one person's experience, the only successful CAFM implementation relied on the client having 100% of their drawings in electronic format.
  • More and more, the client is demanding inter-operability, the ability to share data across different technology platforms and for different purposes.


  • Before CAFM can be implemented, there is a need to organize the client.
  • The client should be prepared to throw away the system in five years.
  • One should distinguish between matrix and hierarchical client organizations.
  • The implementation of functions should be the number one priority.
  • Managing expectations is a number one priority.
  • Expectations need to be managed in terms of time increments (by phase).


  • There is a need to define organizational, CAD and database standards in the early stages.
  • Standards can be identified and implemented as a part of on-going service contracts (project consultants).
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