Computerized Maintenance Management System Selections: What to Consider Before Making Your Purchase Decision

Daniel Golub
Daniel Golub  |  July 18, 2018

So, you’ve thought it over, weighed your options, and finally decided that implementing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) would be the best next step for your business.

Welcome to the future! It’s awesome to have you!

It’s always an exciting time when a company finally recognizes the need to implement a new process as a means to boost productivity and efficiency. However, what’s more exciting than just acknowledging the need is the actual act of taking steps to meet that need! In other words, thinking about it is one thing, doing it is something else entirely.

It’s in the activation-phase that the magic happens, but, before the magic can take place, there exists a wide gap between making the choice and making the move.

Within that space, unfortunately, there is much room for error. Mistakes can be made in the absence of good research, and when there is so much to choose from, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

There’s a lot to look for when evaluating the many offerings available. Plus, there are a number of programs that are currently available to select from. The trouble is that all of them claim to the be the best bet for your business. Of course, you know this can’t be true. Not everything can be the best.

So, how can you find the truth and cut through the commercial promotion and boastful marketing to effectively find the most appropriate fit for you? It’s actually kind of simple! Carefully and expertly evaluating the breadth of options available will make the difference between success and regret when it comes to implementing the best CMMS for your business. The act of evaluation might seem like an intimidating task at the outset, but by isolating a few important criteria and following some very simple guidelines, you can proficiently select the best system to support your project.

If you’ve decided to implement a CMMS, good odds say that you already know what a CMMS is and does. Naturally, you know it’s a computerized maintenance management software, and, more than likely, you understand that it exists for the sole purpose of streamlining your operation processes.

Beyond that, what is a CMMS? Let’s begin there.


What is a CMMS Really…

In effect, a CMMS is the answer to decade-old questions regarding the manual processes that are known to slow down your business. By design, a CMMS should be able to significantly simplify operations and bring a degree of ease to processes that used to tie your business up.

In this modern world, where automation reigns supreme, a CMMS offers companies a much needed break from the tedium of tasks that are tied to the successful operation of the business.

The goal of the CMMS is to centralize the information about an asset such as its maintenance requirements, location, technician responsible and such. A CMMS also plays a vital role in bringing all of the information to the forefront in an organized manner, consequently streamlining procedures and processes. By automating data, there is less manual legwork to be done, which frees up time for other important things, increasing productivity overall! Pretty cool, actually.

Organizations that adopt a CMMS often notice a number of benefits almost right away, including an impressive spike in maintenance productivity, a startling decrease in equipment downtime, and fiscal savings on material costs, employees, and repairs.

Now that you’re crystal clear on how a CMMS can benefit your company, let’s look specifically at how to choose the right computerized maintenance management system for your company.

If we’re going to be uber specific about it, there are likely a hundred things to consider when selecting a CMMS provider. However, we’ve narrowed the list down to just three simple considerations for the sake of your sanity and time:


Three steps to securing the best CMMS system for you

 

1. The more, the merrier 

It’s all about options. Options, options, options. We cannot stress that enough.

Picking a CMMS is very much like finding someone to marry. Dramatic? Maybe. Accurate? Absolutely.

When looking for a life parter, you will likely do some dating. If we all married the first or second person we dated, too many of us would be tied forevermore to people who chew with their mouths open or refuse to tip well. If the success of our relationships relies on the investigation and subsequent dismissal of various contenders, so too must the success of our businesses.

Business partnership, for better or worse, is almost as important life partnership. With that said, It’s not easy to disengage a CMMS once it has been implemented.

So, before you take the leap, consider the Rule of Five. Experts suggest that you thoroughly research at least five providers deeply and participate in a comprehensive compare-and-contrast with each. It may take time at the beginning, but in the end, it will save you the time it takes to sever a contract (yes, CONTRACT) with one provider before bringing another provider on-board. If you don’t want to end up with a CMMS provider that chews while talking, proverbially speaking, then it makes sense to take the time to assess at least five companies. What does it mean to “chew while talking” in the realm of automated management? That brings us to Step two.

 

2. Invest in a magnifying glass

Although many CMMS companies claim to lay it all out on the line, experience would suggest that even the most forthcoming of providers will harbor fine print like a fugitive. If you don’t see it straight away, just ask!

“What is communicated in your fine print policies?”

It’s a provider’s obligation to disclose all potential stipulations, fiscal increases due to generalized cost of living adjustments (COLA), and general bump costs at the outset, especially when asked for them.

Watch out for hidden fees and language that seems vague or buzzword-rich. When you see a promise, challenge it. You can never ask too many questions, even when the answers may seem straightforward. Just as your business is a business, other businesses are the same. The bottom line is always the bottom line, so be sure to investigate the billing process thoroughly. Just as they crave compensation, you crave clarity. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.

 

3. Always ask around

Reputation is important. The chances of a sister business (or a competitor business, for that matter) using a service, if it’s not a solid service, is slim. Don’t be wary about asking around!

This does not put you at a disadvantage. No one is an expert at everything! It’s 100 percent cool to admit you need guidance, especially when an investment is involved. Sending a quick email or making a quick phone call can save you time in lengthy independent research. And, as we all know, time is money. (That’s why you’re looking for a CMMS in the first place!)

Further, checking with websites like G2Crowd.com — platforms designed for the purpose of software review— will save you hassle! These platforms exist almost entirely for this purpose. Checking out user reviews has a lot of benefits. If the source has many reviews, you can get customer options on key attributes very quickly.

Relying on vendor referrals is a good idea, but also be prepared to receive contacts that the vendor cherry picked and is confident that reference will provide an awesome review.  

Review sites like G2 Crowd go further and make sense of the review data, providing insightful info on how CMMS vendors compare to one another and score based on industry measures. Securing a non-biased, crowd-sourced review is your best chance at staving off disappointment.



It’s not always easy to know what to look for when evaluating a CMMS, and this list of three is hardly exhaustive, but it’s a secure place to start.

So before you commit to a provider, commit yourself to executing a thorough and complete evaluation of your options. It may take a little bit of time, but the only thing you have to lose is more time in the long run.

Your business matters, and productivity is at the forefront of your determinants for success! Allow yourself to succeed by limiting your chances for premature or long-term dissatisfaction. An adequate CMMS is the future of your business. If you look ahead (look closely) and do your homework, you’ll see profit almost instantly.

Daniel Golub
Author

Daniel Golub

Daniel is the General Manager at Hippo CMMS and has worked with the company since 2011. He has an MBA majoring in international marketing.