It's time for Part 3 in our Back To Basics: The Ultimate CMMS Guide blog series. We're covering everything you need to know about a CMMS system. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here or click here for Part 2- learning about key CMMS features.
In today's post we'll discuss important software attributes that can make or break a successful CMMS implementation.
Read on for Part 3- Finding the right mix of user-friendliness, price and provisioning in your CMMS.
Last week we gave you a simple overview of important CMMS features that customers typically look for on their buyers journey. But the story doesn't end once a software meets your criteria for a particular set of CMMS features. The factors that truly distinguish one CMMS from another go far beyond their features, it's about how those features are delivered and the price tag that goes along with it. Software attributes such as the degree of user-friendliness, the pricing structure, and the software's delivery method- be it installed vs web-based- all contribute to the software's successful implementation in any organization. We break down all three and show you what to look for in your perfect software attribution mix.
1) Ease of use in CMMS software
As we’ve said before, there’s usually a trade-off between usability and robustness. CMMS software that gives users extensive features may seem like a no-brainer to purchase, however these systems tend to be cluttered and difficult to master. Additionally, some computerized maintenance management software companies neglect user-friendly design and a streamlined interface. They fail to test them on users without strong tech backgrounds, or implement intuitive, graphical layouts.
User-friendliness is one of the most crucial factors in a successful CMMS implementation. An estimated 40-80% of CMMS implementations fail in the first year, so any unneeded complexity poses a real risk to successful adoption. If maintenance managers spend more time learning complex software, navigating intricate menus, tweaking various user permissions and urgently contacting tech support, than they do on performing actual maintenance tasks, it’s unlikely they will be in love with their new CMMS software system. Unless the software is streamlined, there’s a real risk of never realizing the benefits of computerized maintenance software.
Even in organizations with complex needs, the most user-friendly CMMS is often the best choice. Armtec Infrastructure Inc., a manufacturer of construction and infrastructure materials, is a perfect example. They operate a network of small, lean, geographically separated plants in order to respond more efficiently, making effective maintenance management quite challenging.
In 2013, they were still using paper and pen or spreadsheets — each plant manager was responsible for his or her own maintenance — and needed a way to run a more centralized, consistent maintenance program. They carefully compared all the options, and ultimately chose Hippo CMMS. It had all the features they needed, but features weren’t the deciding factor.
“Everybody liked Hippo the best out of all the packages,” said Leo Logashov, National Operations Excellence Manager. “We chose Hippo for its simplicity, because some users don’t have advanced computer skills and only know the basics."
2) CMMS software provisioning
It may surprise many businesses seeking a CMMS, but the software’s delivery method is just as important as what it can do. Computerized maintenance management systems used to only be installed onsite. The IT department would have to load the program (and software updates) onto a local computer or network and configure it by hand (alternatively, they would have to install their own server onsite). It was tedious and time-consuming, and often required a lot of tweaking before everything would work correctly. Often, the program could only be accessed from one computer. If the computer failed, you could lose years of records in a blink of an eye. Additionally, installed CMMS systems were much more expensive than other options due to both high upfront costs and pricey ongoing costs as users had to pay for each additional upgrade that the provider launched. The hefty price tag was the primary barrier for many companies to access a CMMS or ensure an ROI.
Nowadays, computerized maintenance management software is usually offered in the cloud, using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Instead of buying the program and upgrades and paying IT to install and run it, you pay a subscription fee and let the software provider take care of the technical details. You can access it from anywhere, and the company handles installation and updates automatically. There’s also far less risk of your data being corrupted or destroyed by computer failure, since it’s all stored in a secure data center.
Keep in mind, with SaaS you’re depending on the software provider, so it’s important to find out about their guarantees and support. Services can range from quick training sessions to get users acquainted with their system to full setup where the vendor is responsible for data collection and data integration. Various pricing points, additional CMMS resources, and ongoing tech support plans exist for each vendor, so make sure you choose a vendor based not only on product but also on the professional services they provide.
3) CMMS software pricing
Most of the computerized maintenance management software industry offers per-user and per-module licensing. In other words, for a given set of features (say, work order management and inventory management), you have to pay X dollars per month for every user.
This can seem like a great deal if you have a small maintenance department, but it will come back to bite you as your company grows. Additionally, this pricing model can limit how you use computerized maintenance management software. For example, it could be prohibitively expensive to give access to outside contractors or ordinary staff members who might need to file work requests.
Other pricing models, such as Hippo CMMS', works differently. We charge per facility, not per head. That lets our users employ the software to communicate with vendors, contractors and anyone else who needs it. And because the price per facility decreases as you add more facilities to your system, the software actually becomes more cost-effective as you grow.
The importance of finding CMMS software that has the right mix of user-friendliness, delivery method and a cost-effective pricing structure is often over-shadowed by an organization's pursuit of a feature rich maintenance management system. By understanding the difference between software attributes and features, buyers can make a more informed decision on the type of CMMS that would best fit their organization.
Now that you're equipped with a general understanding of CMMS composition, it's time to put it all together. Tune in next week for the final post in our 4 Part series- Finding the right fit: The best questions to ask CMMS vendors.
Week 3 Homework: Read our guest contributed blog post to learn more info between the trade off of user-friendly vs robust software.
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