Computer-Aided Facility Management Software

Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software helps facilities managers plan and track all real estate utilization and asset movement, as well as schedule repair and preventive maintenance, monitor work orders, and adhere to compliance standards.

Computer-aided facility management    In the United States and the United Kingdom, the combination of automated facility and real estate management is referred to as computer-aided facility management (CAFM). A component of CAFM that is focused exclusively on facilities maintenance is the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) – the distinction is the emphasis on maintenance in CMMS versus management in CAFM. In addition, CMMS uses a single platform, whereas CAFM can use multiple platforms. Whether your organization should be looking at CAFM or CMMS will also depend on your location. In the United Kingdom, CAFM is sometimes used interchangeably with CMMS, though there is a distinction.

CAFM systems interface with CMMS as well as other technologies such as computer-aided design (CAD) systems and building information models (BIMs). The result is an intricate knowledge of the enterprise’s real estate, how it is used, the movement of assets, and how each site and its associated assets are being maintained.

CAFM systems deliver clarity on:

  • Costs of real estate/locations’ repair and maintenance and other upkeep services
  • Quality of Assets the condition of assets, performed and planned repair and maintenance services, and depreciation
  • Vendor Service performance of contractors including timeliness, costs, and level of service

Example of CMMS vs CAFM

Consider the case of a multi-store organization. CMMS would assist the facility manager in tracking all equipment, vehicles, and assets within each site; schedule all repair and preventive maintenance; monitor work orders; manage costs; and adhere to compliance standards. The CMMS– remember the emphasis on maintenance – would encompass everything from lighting, plumbing, HVAC, painting, floor polishing, landscape, appliances, and technology equipment. CAFM– emphasis on management – uses this information and augments it with details to assist with utilization of space/room booking and space planning. CAFM also helps to limit the movement and reallocation of assets, which streamlines processes and saves on costs.

Both CMMS and CAFM solutions allow facility managers to expedite and track all planned and demanded service requests; handle all invoices and proposals; perform cost analysis by location, trade, and vendor; and engage in long-term facility maintenance and budget planning. Both systems will provide asset management – a complete record of each asset (equipment, vehicles, fixtures) including location, purchase date, warranty, purchase or lease price, serial number, and service history. And both will support compliance with a database that monitors all contractors to ensure they have the necessary and up-to-date insurance and certifications, thereby reducing compliance and safety risk.

However, not all facility managers require CAFM’s CAD and BIM functionality. It’s important to know which features your enterprise and role require to prevent paying for functions that will not be used or that are already being performed by another automated technology system.

Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)

In the alphabet soup of automated facilities management technologies there are CMMS, CAFM, and IWMS – integrated workplace management systems. Which one your enterprise uses depends on your required functionalities and your location. For US-based and global enterprises, CMMS and IWMS are more commonly used. UK and European organizations tend toward the term CAFM and often use it interchangeably with CMMS.

Whereas CMMS focuses on facilities maintenance and repair, and CAFM solutions typically include CAD and BIM capabilities, IWMS adds real estate and lease management, project management, and environmental sustainability. CMMS uses a single operations and database platform, while often CAFM will rely on multiple platforms.

The word integrated in integrated workplace management system signals that the following functions and databases are contained within one cohesive platform for complete facilities management and real estate transparency:


Maintenance Management


Facilities and Space Management


Real Estate and Lease Management


Project Management


Environmental Sustainability

The benefits of IMWS, CAFM, and CMMS are improved efficiency and the ability to manage, track, and analyze.

Top performance is readily identified, as is low performance and outliers. Benchmarks can be established that reflect an enterprise’s best practices and norms. Data dashboards and KPIs assist with planning and budgeting. Standardized processes can be automated to give a facility manager time to be directed to exceptions.

The Difference Between CAFM Software and Facilities Management Software

CAFM software offers significant benefits for facility management, but are you paying for functionality that your organization doesn’t need? Or worse, are you missing out on functionality that is crucial to the successful repair and maintenance of locations across your multi-site enterprise?

How do you decide which automated software suite is best for your organization? Here’s a quick guide from simplest to most complex:

CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System)  Focus is on maintenance tasks: schedules, work orders initiation and tracking for repair and maintenance, asset tracking, and a database to monitor compliance.

CAFM (Computer Aided Facilities Management)  Interfaces with CMMS as well as technologies such as CAD systems and building information models (BIMs) that may operate on distinct technology platforms. Brings together information about an enterprise’s real estate, how it is used, the movement of assets, and how each site and its associated assets are being maintained. Includes modules for facilities-related scheduling/room reservations, fleet management, persons using the sites, and the entire contents of the site (not just those that require repair and maintenance). Also helps to improve utilization of facilities.

FM Software (Facilities Management Software)  All-in-one platform with a concentrated focus on repair and maintenance. Includes CMMS as well as modules for performance and spend analytics, invoice validation, automated electronic payments, and a directory for sourcing commercial contractors. Facilitates two-way communication between an organization and its contractors. Designed for third-party compatibility and working with existing hardware, databases, and systems.

IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System)  Extended capabilities that encompass CAFM functionality along with real estate and lease management, project management, and environmental sustainability. Unlike much CAFM software, IWMS is based on a single platform.

Key Items to Consider When Deciding Among Management Systems:

What does your enterprise need? CMMS CAFM FM SW IWMS
Initiate and track work orders N N N N
Automated maintenance scheduling & tracking N N N N
Asset tracking N N N N
Contractor compliance monitoring X X X X
CAD plans for each location N N
Digital representations of building/structures (Building information models) N N
Room utilization, reservations & scheduling N N
Repair & maintenance spend analytics N N N
Invoice validation and automated payments N N N
Directory for sourcing commercial contractors N
Two-way communications with contractors N
Real estate & lease management N
Environmental sustainability N

Unique Facility Management Solutions from ServiceChannel

When it comes to facilities management, it is critical to have a partner with deep experience, technical expertise, and foresight. Only a leading service automation provider like ServiceChannel can keep you ahead of the game. We pull together crucial metrics, technologies, best practices, and business processes for the repair and maintenance of multi-site locations. With ServiceChannel facility management software you get the solutions that make sense for your enterprise. From sourcing to settlement, asset management to contractor compliance, ServiceChannel lets you cost-effectively manage your entire facilities maintenance program from a single, web-based dashboard.

What Makes ServiceChannel’s Facility Management Solutions Unique?


Risk Management

Sophisticated tools to help manage facility maintenance compliance and risk. Monitor contractor insurance, certifications, and rates. We help you monitor your contractors to ensure they complete all requirements and we alert you when requirements are out of date or expired.

Spend Management

Analytical dashboards that give full insight into spend by Trade, Category, Priority, Provider and many other dimensions. We expose spend trends so you easily know when your spend is increasing (or decreasing) for a Region, Trade, or Provider.

Contractor Sourcing Directory

ServiceChannel has a directory of 50K+ providers ready to accept work orders from new clients. Find qualified contractors across any trade who already know our facility management platform.

Contractor Performance Monitoring

ServiceChannel monitors contractor performance across key metrics, including On-Time Arrival Rate, First Time Completion Rate, Work Order Dispatch Confirmation Rate, and Check-in Compliance Rate. Assess objective, data-based service quality over time and promote constructive partnerships.

Contractor Status

Contractors participate in the entire work order lifecycle so that you are completely informed on every WO, including dispatch, check-in/check-out, proposals, invoicing payments, etc. ServiceChannel also alerts your contractor when they are falling behind on their work.


Electronic Invoicing

Contractor electronic invoicing eliminates paper and reduces processing costs. Invoices are submitted against the appropriate work orders, enabling a quick comparison of the invoice against actual work and more accurate approvals.

Paying Providers

ServiceChannel allows you to process a single batch payment for all approved invoices. This allows you to save on facility management administrative costs by eliminating all checks, the need to manage provider bank details, and respond to payment inquiries from providers.


Invoice Validation

ServiceChannel helps validate your invoices by comparing the labor hours to the check-in and check-out data from your contractors’ mobile app or via interactive voice recognition (IVR) and comparing invoiced labor rates against your contracted rates.



Multi-site managers need a facilities management solution that can grow along with their needs. Our FM solution is built on a highly flexible and configurable SaaS (software as a service) platform that easily adapts whether you need to scale up, add features or create specialized configurations.

Call Center Services

In addition to our software, ServiceChannel offers a 24×7, professionally staffed call center that accepts inbound work orders from locations without Internet connectivity. The call center also follows up on any emergency work order that has not been accepted and will reassign, if required.

Not-to-Exceed Controls

ServiceChannel has very flexible but effective not-to-exceed controls (by type of job) that ensure your vendors cannot invoice for work you have not approved. The not-to-exceed (NTE) controls can be increased manually or through our proposal management module.

Analytics & Business Intelligence

Analytics, visualization, and business intelligence platform for multi-site enterprises and organizations

Further reading:

If you are interested in learning more about CMMS software, have a look at these other resources:


Facilities management is different in every industry.
We know what matters to you.