Space Information Management System (SIMS)

Implementation of SIMS (Space Information Management System) began in 2000, with the purchase and installation of FM:Systems software. SIMS has two main functions:

  • Collect and update space information through an annual web-based space survey distributed to roughly 200 departmental users
  • Distribution of alphanumeric data, plans, and standard reports via a Web site to Northwestern users

Space information from SIMS is intended for the following uses:

  • For calculation and recovery of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) or indirect costs from federal and other sponsors
  • As a resource for University administrators in planning and making assignments of space, and in distributing costs related to space
  • As a resource for space and research planning metrics

Jump to SIMS information:

SIMS access and assistance

Aspects of SIMS are available to various user groups:

SIMS FM:Interact

  • What is this? The SIMS information website, which distributes building data and plans. The copyrighted reports can be specific to a school, department or user, and Excel or Access reports can be downloaded directly from the system. AutoCAD drawings will show room data and net assignable square footage, making any errors easy to identify and correct.
  • Who can access it? Authorized users from the Northwestern network, who must log-in with a user ID and password.

SIMS Survey

  • What is this? An online survey for specific Northwestern departments.
  • Who can access it? Designated departmental users across the University, who must log-in with a unique user code and password (provided by Facilities Management at the start of the survey cycle).

SIMS FM:Systems

  • What is this? The SQL Server 2000 engine that supplies information to the FM:Interact and Survey Web sites. However, direct use of FM:Systems is not user-friendly, and users needs could best be met from the FM: Interact website (which allows them to download reports into Excel and Access).
  • Who can access it? FM: Systems can be made directly available to schools, departments or users.

SIMS assistance

Data downloads and reports or general assistance are available by contacting one of the following:

  • Paul Weller, Director of Facilities Management Planning
  • Kevin Grzyb, Space Information Manager, who can handle questions about operation of the system and surveys.
  • Ranee Berliant, Property Manager, who can handle questions about leased properties.
  • Cindy O’Connor, Assistant Controller & Director of Cost Studies Planning, who can handle questions about activity codes, percentages, and Indirect Cost Recovery and effort reporting.

SIMS and data stewardship

Our Office of Planning’s role using SIMS includes:

  • Implementation, maintenance, modification and operation of the system;
  • Yearly collection of information (space survey);
  • Downloads and preparation of special reports as requested by users;
  • Development and linkage of field-measured AutoCAD documentation serves as the basis for room square footages;
  • Designation of room numbers within facilities;
  • Designation of room use within the database;
  • Verification of school and departmental space assignments;
  • To the extent possible with staffing available, verification of the assignee, occupant, and station number fields within the database.

The departmental role in providing or maintaining SIMS data includes:

  • Identification of any discrepancies between field conditions and information included in the database (alphanumeric or graphic)
  • Update of space assignees and occupants and, where relevant, productivity department
  • Update of room description (a free-form text field provided solely for use by departments to include additional information about a room)
  • Completion of activity information (used in F&A or indirect cost rate calculation)

SIMS’s relationship to other University systems

HRIS: SIMS uses HRIS data, such as employee and department name, to generate the assignee and occupant fields of the SIMS survey and database. This allows the system to group individuals within each departmental survey in SIMS.

Currently, SIMS is not linked to NUORISM, Facilities Management Operations (FMO) or Facilities Design & Construction (FMDC) Systems.