The Ultimate Guide to CMMS Software: What to Know in 2020

Jones Smith
15 Min Read

Are you looking to implement a new CMMS software? Are you having a hard time sorting through all of the potential candidates? Well, that’s fine, but we’re going to help you decide.

In premise, the value of the CMMS you employ will depend on how much you know about the optimization of workflows for back-end maintenance and equipment downtime.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the best CMMS software so that you can make an educated decision when it comes to picking the right one for you.

So whenever you’re ready to become acquainted with CMMS maintenance software, keep reading.

CMMS Software: Introduction

CMMS is a type of automated platform for performing the reactive and preventative maintenance of the enterprise’s assets and facilities.

It provides lower-level employees with tools that allow them to execute more efficiently, but also to enter information about parts, repairs, materials, which allows managers to control compliance, maintenance histories, and company property condition.

Through back-end optimization of workflows and the decreased need for equipment downtime, CMMS helps enterprises to devote more resources and time to the bottom line.

Since the software has built-in features for the management of assets, CMMS is interchangeable with standard enterprise asset management. Nonetheless, there are important distinctions between the two.

AEM usually provides a deeper feature-set for asset handling, whether it’s IT equipment or physical machinery, and this is done through centralized access. CMMS software is limited to physic aspects in single sites or smaller facilities.

With that being said, EAM and CMMS are not exclusive mutually. Many CMMS software is integrated with EAMs, but also with other enterprise software, such as ERP.

Most maintenance management system is modular, which allows the buyer to develop custom-built solutions for their needs, paying only for what they need. Some products are very basic – like a module for work-orders.

How Does CMMS Work?

The majority of CMMS software is dependent on four pillars that drive their operation. However, some CMMS will have other driving cornerstones as well.

Here are the four primary elements:

  1. Operator Interface
  2. Report Dashboards
  3. Administrative Settings
  4. Databases

The first is the core of the experience. It’s essential to the desktop screen and smartphone that provides access to the features for creating, tracking, and assigning maintenance tasks, but also monitoring inventory. As well as tracking asset history and messaging maintenance technicians.

The second gathers the KPI-driven information and creates report dashboards that provide clarity into inefficiencies. For instance, you can generate a report to compare the cost spent repairing something against the time that it took to complete in 2020 vs 2019.

The third allows CMMS operators to assign user-based permissions for specific team members. Users have the ability to restrict user rights, search filter specifications, and create work templates for orders.

The fourth reference databases that are in the cloud. Some older systems will have in-house servers, but there’s really no benefit to it. The advantage of the cloud is accessibility and infinite scalability.

Benefits Of CMMS Software

CMMS is always developed to be the core of the maintenance department, thus providing lots of operational support throughout the process.

For instance, CMMS allows you to streamline preventative maintenance. This means operators can assign, create, and review work orders in a single place.

You can also organize inventory management, meaning the maintenance department can track the mobility of parts and reorder replacement if needed.

A reduction in downtime is also noted because technicians can report on-site asset failures from their own devices. CMMS analytics improve cost-effectiveness by providing insightful information for greater decisions.

Trails of digital audits allow managers to see when and what task has been completed. Workers can designate work order statuses, thus improving compliance.

Accountants get easy access to information that is needed for tax reporting and capital expenditure. CMMS lets managers track and catalog assets by category, location, date, serial number, and more.

CMMS platforms let you sync with sensor-technologies that imprint real-time data about potential failures, equipment wear, and tear.

Why Use the Best CMMS Software With Your Enterprise

There are many reasons for an enterprise to adopt a CMMS. The primary factor for most entities is to spend less money.

CMMS allows managers to implement maintenance processes, track maintenance activities, make cost-effective decisions, automate workflows in a way that’s practically impossible without the presence of the digital organization.

Downtime Monitoring

With abundant economic growth on a global scale, many managers are under pressure to maintain tough production schedules and reduce their downtime with maintenance strategies.

Factor in the obligation to manage assets, and is it really a surprise that companies are looking to CMMS solutions? While it’s fully possible to run a maintenance program with Excel and clipboards, it’s not simple.

Without a proper management solution, maintenance teams will be reactive, not proactive. This means you’re missing out on a lot.

Identify Occlusion Costs

Occlusion costs are always under the surface. They exist in the form of high energy costs, reduced asset lifecycles, late deliveries, lost production, wasted resources, etc.

Direct maintenance costs exist in the form of materials, contracts, labor, overhead, so on and so forth. These are the issues that CMMS solutions try to resolve by making maintenance proactive, leading to stress-free and achievable goals.

Transparency & Accountability

Another benefit of using CMMS is the improved transparency within the enterprise. For worse or better, management software pushes out certain departments that are excelling and presents areas that could be improved.

With advanced reporting features, leaders can determine if policies are weak, where they are overspending, and what machines are causing the majority of issues. Tracking asset health allows managers to fine-tune their activities towards cutting costs, reducing downtime, and increasing longevity for assets.

Some CMMS software providers can sometimes not deliver on their results, but companies don’t meet their goals always either. With the best CMMS software, you will ensure that this does not happen to you.

How to Assess CMMS Solutions

When reviewing CMMS systems conducting due diligence is necessary. The right platform can increase productivity, reduce costs, make daily activities easier, and enhance compliance.

Here’s what you need to do to assess your software candidates.

Determine What You Need & What You Don’t

What works for a single enterprise might not work for a different one. Before buying, write down all of your compliance, maintenance, and management challenges.

You can compare your criteria against the features that the CMMS provider is pushing forward. This also prevents being swayed by features you don’t need. Are there regulatory compliance strategies needed to be integrated? Would you like meter readings?

Work order management, when done effectively, is the point from which informed decisions are made about equipment and assets. Features that empower reporting and asset tracking are critical. Maintenance history should be easily accessed, allowing for better uptime and asset performance over time.

CMMS solutions are used in many industries, all of which have different needs. While industry-oriented solutions might be the best option, don’t miss out on other versatile options.

For instance, cloud-based solutions have API integrations that let operators extract and inject data with other systems. This means this system can be fully tailored to your own needs.

Usage Rates & User-Adoption

The measurement of how quickly, efficiently, and frequently technicians use the software is referred to as user adoption. It’s also a part of the time to value, which is addressed upon how fast an enterprise can realize the value they acquired.

To the misfortune of many, this information is most likely will never be presented on CMMS websites. But you can always request to see these stats when having your consultation with the provider.

Ask them:

  1. How MTBR and MTTR are improved with other clients?
  2. Do supervisors and technicians witness better autonomy?
  3. What percentage of users in the industry stick with their software?
  4. How often do technicians use the app to complete work orders?

Don’t hesitate to ask for industry-specific case studies. Ask for references. Try the software for free before deciding. You need to speak to real people, to see real results and ensure you’re getting exactly what’s being presented on their website. Don’t settle for good copywriting.


Do technicians have to leave the office for offsite work, and how often do they do that? Does the team work in a large facility? Do they chat over text, walkie-talkies, emails?

Consider a CMMS solution that is designed for mobile-first usage. Enhancing communication by putting all of the discussion on a single device allows you to secure the data, and make sure nothing is falling through the cracks.

Scattered communication solutions are not effective for complicated instructions in work orders. Chat functionality is a must. Otherwise, you’re simply missing out on the power of CMMS altogether.

Data Reporting

You should look for a CMMS that translates and compiles equipment data into useful industry metrics. Most software that’s off-the-shelf, especially enterprise resource planning and computer maintenance mama game solutions serve as greedy pigs for data input that don’t provide any output in support of decision-making.

This lack of support for decision-making is a serious problem because the key to effective and systematic maintenance is decision-taking that’s appropriate to the plant, organization, or circumstance of the machine. If your CMMS only offers recorded data analysis, it gets pretty difficult to make decisions.

For instance, you create a recurring monthly order for work to change a filter for oil. This reminder is a great way to begin if you’re moving away from reactive decision-making.

But an advanced maintenance department might need data metrics of values to illustrate how to optimize the schedules beyond the recommendations made by the manufacturer. Enterprises in such categories should prioritize CMMS software that makes complex metrics simple with graphs, charts, and KPIs.

The report should present accurate and considerate responses to questions, such as:

  1. What percentage of maintenance tasks have been completed?
  2. Should we continue to use the same HVAC or buy a new one?
  3. How much time was spent by John last month towards safety audits?
  4. Are we overstaffed or understaffed?

CMMS should be able to reference work order data by any technician, priority status, asset type, time complete, and much more. This lets you integrate these useful reports in support of safe and metric-driven decision-making.

KPI & Projected ROI

Before making any purchases and handing out your credit card info, you must determine the projected ROI for the work order system with the CMMS.

You need to know how long it will take to get your money back. While it’s impractical and impossible to reach for absolute certainty, because of the many variables, you can still make an educated guess with an appropriate model of ROI.

Without knowing this, you jeopardize the value of the investment. What’s the point of investing in something that will not reward you in some way?

CMMS Elaborated

Now that you know everything you need to know about finding the best CMMS software for yourself, you are well on your way to ensure you get the possible features for yourself. In any case, you now need to go and perform some interstitial research, so don’t hesitate.

CMMS solutions come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s industry-specific, exclusive or public, mobile-only or cross-device, you will be able to find what you need, given that you look carefully.

If you’re interested in learning more about advanced technologies and enterprise solutions, feel free to check out some of the sidebar content or click on the category tag for this article.

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I am Jones Smith and I am here to share my experience and expertise in writing. I've been writing articles for different publications for more than 6 years. I have a varied range of interests and that's why I love blogging about different topics. In my opinion, blogging is a lot like acting, and I consider writing blog posts as an acting job. I am an entrepreneur by heart and there is nothing big or small when it comes to starting a business.