What is facilities management?

Facilities management encompasses a range of disciplines and services to ensure the functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of a built environment — buildings and grounds, infrastructure and real estate.

It includes:

  • Operations and maintenance
  • Communications management
  • Emergency management and business continuity
  • Environmental stewardship and sustainability
  • Hospitality
  • Human factors and ergonomics
  • Project management
  • Real estate and property management

Facilities management is divided into two basic areas: Hard Facilities Management (Hard FM) and Soft Facilities Management (Soft FM). Hard FM deals with physical assets such as plumbing, heating and cooling, elevators. Soft FM focuses on tasks performed by people such as custodial services, lease accounting, catering, security, grounds keeping.

Facilities management also refers to facilities management systems and software. Vast amounts of data — often called Internet of Things (IoT) data — are generated by built environments through sensors, meters, gauges and smart devices. IBM is enabling facilities management departments to take advantage of this data by infusing analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) into its Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS). These technologies deliver cognitive capabilities that analyze and learn from data, enabling facility managers to achieve real-time visibility, perform predictive maintenance and create more productive, cost-efficient environments.

A series of articles from WIRED Brand Lab demonstrates how data and cognitive are reshaping how buildings are built, managed and experienced.

Transforming facilities management with cognitive IoT

International Service System (ISS) is transforming the management of more than 25,000 buildings worldwide using Watson IoT™ with IWMS. The result is buildings and environments that are more personalized, intuitive and easy to use.

Why is facilities management important?

Look inside facilities management

People spend 87 percent of their time in buildings. See what goes on behind the scenes. Improve operations for space optimization, lease accounting, capital projects, energy management and maintenance.

Case studies

International Service System (ISS)

Learn how ISS is transforming facilities management with cognitive IoT.

Facilities management resources

Streamline and automate lease accounting processes with IBM TRIRIGA

Improve strategic management of lease portfolios and ease compliance for Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) standards.


Building intelligence into buildings

As artificial intelligence is integrated with building systems and IoT devices, it has the potential to improve occupant experience, increase operational efficiency and optimize space and asset utilization.


Answering key space questions: how to understand and optimize all your space

Take control to reduce costs and deliver the workplace your employees need.


IBM solutions


An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) that can increase the operational, financial and environmental performance of facilities and real estate.


IBM IoT Building Insights

Monitor, analyze and predict building behavior to make informed decisions, reduce complexity and isolate costs.


IBM Watson Works

Plan a return to the workplace with solutions that use data, AI technology and blockchain to help you make decisions that prioritize employees’ health, safety and productivity.