facilities management

20 Jan 2021

Do you know your CMMS from your EAM Software? What is the difference, what should you invest in and when.

Ultimo Software Solutions Limited Stand: 4/N128

As technology overlaps, merges, and grows more powerful each day, its sometimes difficult to know the right software solutions to invest in at key times in your company's growth.

So, top level – what is the difference between CMMS & EAM Software? Both can support the same functionality; both are asset maintenance/management systems. They are often thought to be the same thing – but no, there are fundamental differences. This article will hopefully identify for you the differences, and help you choose the right product to meet your business requirements now and into the future.

What is CMMS software, A CMMS or a Computerised maintenance management software, and has  been around for decades. A CMMS manages information about a company's maintenance activities on its assets. In its current form the solutions are powerful enough to offer periodic & preventative maintenance, asset management, possibly stock and spare parts management and mobile functionality. Most now offer strong clean visuals. Some CMMS solutions offer multi-site support with authorisations, project management modules. A few offer even deeper functionality or user interfaces that consider real life maintenance and facilitate teams processes - such as KanBan boards for different teams to progress work orders in a similar (digital) way to the old T-Card systems, even Smart Images to drill down to your assets or production line process functions within an asset. CMMS software is designed to manage maintenance operations and are ideal for companies looking to manage work orders, spare parts and equipment records in a simple way.

What is EAM software, EAM or Enterprise Asset Management system is the new kid on the block if stood next to CMMS, even though it is not new technology, and it sits in a mature market. EAM focusses on the maintenance of physical assets through an assets lifecycle. The key addition to EAM is that true EAM relies on connectivity, so has emerged a more powerful tool across business as technology has progressed. They are used in asset intensive organizations. And designed for 100 or more users, often across multiple sites.  EAM solutions allow you to manage all your physical assets across the enterprise within a unified, single source, connected solution. EAM systems offer a comprehensive and integrated approach to asset management, allowing you to track the entire asset lifecycle through to audit trails, fulfil safety management with compliance in mind, together with strong reporting & business intelligence capability.  Not to be classed the same as CMMS, which is for smaller operations often single site.  A clear and obvious example your business would want an to invest in an EAM solution, is if it is asset intensive, you could have many production lines or own many operational equipment assets, fleet assets, medical technology assets, or structured building property facilities assets together with a desire to connect easily to ERP systems, HR systems and industry relevant performance applications would drive your choice to consider an EAM solution  As this gives you the power to manage all these within one solution and across multiple sites in multiple countries.

There is a distinct line between when you should need a CMMS and when you should need EAM. CMMS is scalable up, So is EAM, but EAM isn't scalable down. What is important for you and your business is to understand firstly is the vision for the next 5 – 10 years, it needs to involve input from different stakeholders and what they need or expect from their assets functionality and performance capabilities in the future. These can be driven by market conditions, capital investment opportunity, HSE compliance and one of the most important factors which is often overlooked – knowledge retention.

But what are the trends for EAM and CMMS in the future just how powerful do we expect them to become, both are in mature markets, both are already able to take advantage of connectivity (IIot), both are available as SaaS/Cloud and on premises in terms of licencing. What should become part of your qualifying process in looking at which system to consider investing in.

A great article here from ARC Advisory group  a leading technology research group who cover both operational technologies and Engineering technologies.

In short, In this article Ralph Rio has pinpointed future trends being with deployments of seamless EAM, focussing on Asset Performance, predictive maintenance and machine learning, offering SaaS as a licencing model.

So, if we take this into account of your investment for the future. Qualifying considerations need to also include :

  • Scalability
  • Licensing Models
  • Investment in IIoT & Strong Partner network

In conclusion, a simplification of the management of licencing models and hosting methods moving your capex investment to opex is where you start. Moving to SaaS rather than on premises licencing opens up to you, flexibility of your software investment and a stable support model going forward. Once this is taken care of you pave the way to take full advantage of IIoT and focusing on making savings and increase performance by integrating Asset Performance Management (APM), Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Asset Investment Planning (AIP).

Further reading: Download The EAM Trend Report 2020 for free.

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