In our “Thought Leader Interviews” series interviews all important Thought Leaders from the IWMS industry. In our eleventh interview we have interviewed Bruce K. Forbes, CEO and Founder of ARCHIBUS.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers

bruce_spruced I am the Founder and CEO of ARCHIBUS, Inc., known worldwide as the #1 Global Solution for IWMS. I currently live in Boston with my bride of nearly 20 years, our 12-year old daughter and our Calico Cat. My involvement with computers began early: I grew up in Endicott, New York – home to IBM. My dad was an electrical engineer who worked on IBM’s First Computers at Harvard University, the Mark I and Mark III. From that point on, he spent his entire working career at IBM.

My mom was very involved with the community and working with non-profit organizations. I was fortunate to have an idyllic childhood, with my older brother, younger sister and parents, which offered remarkable support for everything that I had an interest in doing. At one point or another, my entire family seemed to work at IBM.

Endicott was a great place to learn how to program. At age 11, through an IBM Sponsored Explorers Group, we had access to an IBM 360/370 at the IBM Education Center which was located just a few blocks from my school. I guess the seeds don’t fall too far from the tree.

2. Can you explain a bit about your background and your career?

In high school I had a strong interest in music. At age 17, I was fortunate enough to be selected as an All-American Youth Honors Musician and performed at the White House and at several venues in Russia. While in Russia, I discovered a newfound interest and appreciation for art and architecture. While music was “great,” my father and mother realized that I had a right brain/left brain thing going on and were strong proponents of my blending the field of architecture with computer science. At Syracuse University, I became the first person in the world to work towards and to simultaneously receive a Bachelor of Architecture Degree and a Computer and Information Science Degree.

While an undergraduate, I was fortunate to have had Steve Coons, the Father of Computer Graphics, as one of my advisors and mentor. In 1976, I was selected to be an Institute Scholar for the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”). That summer, I conducted the world’s 1st Survey of Computer Applications for Architects. During the research project, I had exposure to many of the world’s leading automation thought leaders. It was during that endeavor that it became apparent to me there was a need for integrated real estate, infrastructure and facilities management automation. Once a building or property was completed, I thought it would be great to create workflows and practices that would optimize the lifecycle and reduce the total cost of ownership. It was in the fall of that year that I designed the world’s first Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system. Little did I know that these initial ventures would lay the foundation for the enterprise that has become ARCHIBUS.

Then I went on to Cornell University for a Masters of Science in Computer Graphics. Working under the direction of Don Greenberg, I was involved in some of the world’s first computer animation and advanced geometric modeling activities. In 1978, I felt I wanted to become an academic and went to Harvard University for a second professional degree in Architecture. From 1979 through 1982, I was the Director of the Design Automation Project at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. While academics were great, it became apparent that if I wanted to bring automation to the profession in a more timely fashion, I would have to participate in the world of business rather than within the halls of ivy.

In 1982, I joined Jung/Brannen Companies, an architecture/urban design/planning/ interior design firm where I became a Managing Partner and deployed the world’s first integrated CAFM system. The system was used for a large-scale project, the 1.2 million square foot Boston World Trade Center. In the following years, the automation development and deployment teams at Jung/Brannen were involved with over 5,000 new projects and over 10,000 interior design/renovation projects. By 1984, I was leading that research and development corporation as an independent business that eventually became ARCHIBUS.

Recently, while being inducted as an IFMA Fellow, they noted my remarkable 30+ years service to our profession that has included such milestones as being the creator of the world’s first automation systems for real estate, infrastructure and facilities management (the 1st CAFM, 1st CIFM, 1st IWMS, and 1st TIFM solutions), and a pioneer in the area of development and environmental sustainability. In 2002, I was asked to represent IFMA and the United States as a Plenary Chair at the IFMA / RICS World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and introduced the concept of “Ubiquitous Infrastructure & Facilities Management” (UIFM™). I have also been involved with starting and/or growing over 10% of IFMA’s Chapters and Councils.

3. Can you elaborate a bit more about your company? What makes your company unique?

ARCHIBUS, Inc. has a successful history of technological innovation, and is credited with developing and deploying the world’s first integrated automation tools for real estate, infrastructure and facilities management. Today, ARCHIBUS is the #1 IWMS offering worldwide. In 2008, ARCHIBUS-related product and services activities exceeded $1.7 Billion (USD). Used by over 4 million users to manage over 5 million properties, ARCHIBUS has an extensive support organization which includes over 3,000 professionals, is available in over 130 countries and in over 2 dozen languages.

We have a reputation for completing projects on time and within budget, and have over a 96% customer retention rate. Recent estimates indicate that ARCHIBUS commands over 92% market share of the IWMS and 94% of the TIFM markets worldwide. Each year, ARCHIBUS users save their organizations over $100 Billion (USD) and millions of hours of labor.

For the last three consecutive editions of its publication, ARCHIBUS has been positioned in the Leaders quadrant of Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Integrated Workplace Management Systems” report. And our TEAMS environmental software suite was recently named a Best 100 Product by Buildings Magazine.

4. What motivates you as a person?

For me, motivation is based not just on my needs but on the needs of the communities of which I am fortunate to be a part. Global, civic, social, academic, spiritual, religious and family communities each reveal that different people seek happiness and are motivated in different ways and by different means. This rich fabric is intensified as I have grown from a citizen of the United States to a global citizen.

Simply stated, I am motivated to create global success by working and collaborating with others, showing respect for each person and organization with which I work, and demonstrating that I am a truthful person.

5. How do you want to be seen by your employees, the competition and independent business analysts?

I have two answers to that question—the first is business-focused, then a personal perspective.

We have been at the forefront of an industry–envisioning and creating a new technology called CAFM, then IWMS+, (now UIFM™) and want to be regarded as the preeminent innovator in its continuing evolution. We want to bring value to our global society and to those we serve. We will be the pacesetter, educating the world about the benefits of ARCHIBUS−saving money, creating more efficient processes, mitigating risk, improving organizational collaboration. And we will continue to translate and manifest our personal values for the business world−respect, honor, trustworthiness, responsibility, honesty, fairness, integrity, and goodness.

On the personal side−I am fortunate in that I have been and continue to be many things to many people: an engaged citizen of the globe; an attentive son and sibling; an energetic businessman and entrepreneur for over 30 years; a loyal and supportive husband for nearly 20 years with a bride who is also my business partner; a work-in-progress father for over a decade; and a proud, practicing person of the Christian faith for nearly 50 years, who lives those principles in my business life as well as in my personal life.

6. What does the term Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) mean to you?

As well as it has served to describe our space, the notion currently depicting IWMS is becoming a reflection of obsolete connectivity. Having been involved with the world’s first automation systems for real estate, infrastructure and facilities automation, I realize that no automation solution is timeless. For the past 30 years, the typical shelf-life of such technologies is less than 10 years. In 1976, we introduced the world to the concept of computer-aided facilities management (“CAFM”). Since then it has been supplemented by countless improvements. In 1995, we introduced the first commercially viable IWMS offerings, while each subsequent year has brought new feature sets and functionality. In 1999, our vision of TIFM™ (Total Infrastructure & Facilities Management™) Solutions began to replace IWMS Offerings in order to accommodate for smart systems, environmental and sustainability offerings, Building Information Models (BIM), and GIS. In my view, IWMS has become a subset of TIFM.

7. What do you think of the Credit Crunch? What impact does it have on FM and RE?

It’s a great opportunity for ARCHIBUS. I expect that the current turmoil will help ARCHIBUS grow 400% or more in the next few years. During each of the last 4 recessions, ARCHIBUS’ global presence increased due to the opportunities that are presented during a recession. With the average cost of ARCHIBUS being less than $1,000 per user, the investment in ARCHIBUS shows an average return of over 2,500%. In today’s tough economy this is remarkable and significant.

As the technology leader and market dominant offering, ARCHIBUS offers a unique value proposition based on global best practices and benchmarks which have been derived from the efforts of over 4,000,000 users (professionals in real estate, infrastructure, facilities). The ARCHIBUS Support Network has over 3,000 ARCHIBUS Professionals and the ARCHIBUS Implementation Methodology™ (AIM™) is used in conjunction with Technology Audits, Opportunity Audits, Management Audits, and Implementation Audits.

For most organizations facing the current recession and its associated credit crunch, ARCHIBUS can be deployed in less than 90 days. Through the best practices and benchmarks from users around the world, the Total Cost of Ownership (“TCO”) for ARCHIBUS and the Return on Investment (“ROI”) offer unparalleled results for almost any organization of any size in any country around the globe.

8. What is your opinion about Sustainability and IWMS?

Sustainability initiatives are a critical aspect of IWMS. Our involvement with energy and sustainability issues goes back a long way−to 1976, when we conducted the 1st Survey of Computer Applications in Architecture for the AIA and subsequently, in 1977, the AIA’s first Energy Handbook was published. In 1999, ARCHIBUS developed the world’s 1st comprehensive environmental and sustainability offering, and in 2002, presented the ARCHIBUS solution to the delegates at the IFMA / RICS World Summit in Johannesburg,

In 2004, ARCHIBUS Solution Centers – Environmental + Sustainability Services introduced the latest version of its Total Enterprise Asset Management System (TEAMS) to the International ARCHIBUS Users’ Community. Today, TEAMS is the most comprehensive system of its kind.

There is no question about the importance of sustainability and IWMS. Within the last 12 months, for example, we have made sustainability presentations available to over 5 million professionals. We delivered papers along with Rob Watson (a founding father of LEEDS Certification) in Shanghai, and in Saudi Arabia on behalf of His Royal Highness at the 2009 Intelligent Cities Conference in Makkah (Mecca).

9. How do you see IWMS in the year 2015?

In 2002, we introduced the concept of Ubiquitous Infrastructure & Facilities Management™ at the World Summit in Johannesburg. I believe that is a better depiction of how asset management solutions are evolving. By 2015, the technology will become even more collaborative, intelligent, ubiquitous, and indispensable. By then, we also predict that it will finally receive the C-level awareness it deserves.

10. What would be your Million Dollar Tip for our readers?

Develop and maintain your own Personal Board of Directors, and more importantly, find a life partner to enable you to get through the highs and lows, failures and successes. Even the worst experiences can be transformative, creating balance and an ecosystem where you can thrive.

Keep reading data, information, and knowledge sources such as this publication if your hope is to derive and deploy wisdom.

Know yourself and be true to yourself…that is everything. To get there from here, one has to embrace discovery of the self and the larger world; strive for good health; and realize that in life there are no guarantees or silver bullets that solve all your needs. Understand that you will always have the need for love. Recognize the limits of what money can do. That’s several tips. But then I’m a generous tipper.

Next interview

In our “Thought Leader Interviews” we have interviewed all important CEO’s from the industry. However, other important CEO’s might appear on our radar. When they do, we will inform you.