What CMMS Would You Recommend?

brain building tabletAs an instructor and presenter in the facility industry and staunch proponent for computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), I am frequently asked “What CMMS would you recommend?”  Twenty years ago, it was fairly easy to answer that question, because there were not many players in the market.  The opposite is true today with the advent of cloud-based CMMS applications.  To be honest, I cannot keep up with the numerous systems that have flooded the market in the past handful of years – which I see as a good thing.  Granted there are some stand-outs that carry more of the market share, I wouldn’t limit your search to the top three or five. 

When it comes to selecting a CMMS (or related four-letter acronym – CAFM, IWMS, etc.), I recommend that you perform a needs analysis and develop your system requirements before you start looking at systems; this is to avoid being persuaded by various functions of the CMMS that you may or may not need or the sales folks that will follow-up (no offense sales folks – because all of us are trying to sell something; see More Than Glorified Janitors).  To learn more about selecting and implementing a CMMS, read my article CMMS: Realizing the Value that was published in the March/April 2014 edition of IFMA’s FMJ; that article identifies common pitfalls and my recommendations for selecting and implementing a CMMS.

As previously stated, there are many different CMMS solutions from which you can choose.  I have had the opportunity in my years to work with a handful of them, including selecting, implementing, managing, and improving installations.  Not to upset any of the software providers, but most systems have similar functionality.  Thus it will boil down to some key features and attributes that will likely dictate your decision; that’s why it is important to start with a needs analysis and to develop weighted evaluation criteria.  If you have minimal experience with a robust CMMS installation, then you may also want to reach out to those that have that expertise to guide you along the path.

Below are some additional criteria that you may want to consider when evaluating CMMS applications.

Longevity – If you are going to marry your organization to an application for a while, you want to make sure that the company has longevity in the marketplace and that they will be around when you need them.

Support – Good customer support and training tutorials will be crucial to your success – this includes start-up and implementation support, as that is where most installations go awry.

Growing & Improving – Is the company continuing to innovate and add features to their software?  There’s always room for improvement.

Flexibility – There is no one-size-fits-all application.  Thus you will want a system that is flexible enough to change with your organization over time.  Part of that is how well does the software company listen to their customers and implement their feedback in system improvements – ties back to “growing & improving”.

Square Peg Round Hole – I’m not going to tell you that you can’t find a perfect CMMS that fits all of your needs; however, based upon my experience, it will cost you quite a bit more to get that software  and possibly put the “perfect system” out of your price range.  Thus, just as we typically do in facilities , you may have to get creative and shave some corners off to get the square peg to fit in the round hole.  I can attest to the fact that I have had to reallocate fields or tweak some processes to get what I wanted out of the system – but, at least I had a system that was functional and worked for our organization at a price we could afford…

Balancing Need-to-Haves, Nice-To-Haves, and Cost – To further the above point, you will need to balance needs, wants, and costs; thus the importance of a weighted evaluation criteria.  Do not let your search for the perfect keep you from getting a CMMS; nor should you buy a system just because it’s the only one you can afford.  If you look hard enough, you can find that balance; ask for help if you need it.

Ask Around – As you evaluate programs, make sure you talk to their customers to find out how the application has worked for them.  Are they getting the support they want?  Does the company listen to your feedback and make changes (within reason, of course)?  Use your local IFMA chapter, LinkedIn, and discussion forums to get input from your fellow facility professionals.

 

If you are looking to select & implement a CMMS or improve your existing one, then you should visit FM360′s CMMS Consulting Services page to view other relevant resources.

 

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