Navigating the world of Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) can be confusing and also a bit intimidating. To begin, there is a large number of vendors out there. However, with the CMMS industry continuing its rapid growth curve, pinpointing the actual number of maintenance management companies can be difficult. Still, to give you a sense of what potential CMMS software buyers may be facing, a quick Google search for the term, “CMMS software vendors” produced 242,000 results at the time of this writing. It’s not surprising that when comparing CMMS software prices and trying to find one with the right fit for your company can be challenging. Here are some things to consider when searching for a CMMS within your budget:
What is Computerized Maintenance Management Software?
A good starting point is summarizing what CMMS software is. Essentially, the systems are best described as highly sophisticated software programs that utilize thousands of data points that at any given time, can provide a user with an overview of a facility’s operation or alternatively, with the status of an individual piece of equipment. Current CMMS systems offer businesses the ability to track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets require preventive maintenance. Consistent and appropriate use of the CMMS software has led to extended equipment lifespans, improved organization, better time management and labor utilization and ultimately, reduced operational costs and increased company profits.
Determine your needs
There’s no point in pursuing your CMMS software search before first determining what your needs are in acquiring an automated maintenance management system. Begin by gathering feedback from your maintenance staff about the challenges you are facing using your current maintenance tracking system as well as considering what is needed to overcome them. Some of the features most widely requested are:
- Tracking monthly or quarterly maintenance repair costs
- Reducing equipment downtime with preventive maintenance tools
- Eliminating the need for paper
- Simple work order management and work order request forms
- Ability to process work orders using mobile devices
- Method for tracking location of equipment and parts
- Calendar system for planning maintenance activities
- Improving communication between team members and to upper management
- Mobile access
- Software’s ability to change and expand as company needs change
Taking these into account along with other features you may wish to have will assist you in developing a list of features to look for in your CMMS solution. It goes without saying that the more features a CMMS system has, the more costly it tends to be.
Understanding different CMMS software formats
As not to fall into the trap of comparing “apples and oranges” when comparing CMMS software prices, it is important to realize that the software is available in two different formats; on premise and cloud based. These differences are important because cloud based systems rely on the vendor hosting data on its own servers (i.e., in the cloud) whereas on premise systems require a company to install and host its data on its own equipment, on site. The former relies on the vendor maintaining the system whereas the latter must utilize in-house maintenance of the system software and hardware by its own IT specialist.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each CMMS software platform. Many customers find cloud based CMMSs more appealing for two main reasons: lower cost and no maintenance. On the other hand, many others prefer on-site systems because they provide maintenance managers with full control and customizability of their data and the system. For example, on premise system operators are able to schedule their system maintenance and upgrades based on their own schedule and not according to that of cloud based vendors. Another difference is cloud based platforms offer mobile accessibility whereas on site platforms do not. When comparing CMMS software prices, a final distinction between the two formats is a sizeable cost differential with on premise platforms carrying much higher upfront costs.
A comparison of CMMS software prices needs to take into account the differences found in feature and service options in addition the cost differences in system platforms. As suggested previously, on premise platforms are more costly; in fact, they tend to run three times more than the annual license fee of web-based systems. However, this up front cost is a one-time payment as there are no additional system fees. While the initial cost for a cloud-based system is lower, the long-term costs associated with licensing fees are over time greater (i.e., annual subscription/licensing fee estimated at $1500 per year for a small maintenance department). Still, there are associated and/or ongoing costs with on premise systems setting aside the up front cost. For example, on premise CMMS platforms require hardware, firewalls and antivirus software as well as an IT staffer who will maintain and manage all aspects of the system functioning including installation, data entry, upgrading, security and staff training. Cloud based CMMSs do not require any added costs as system supports include all software updates, system upgrades, security, and tech support.
Apart from system operations, there are some optional additional CMMS costs associated with CMMS software such as in house data entry and online tutorials for staff onboarding. Some vendors will bundle these into their annual licensing fees but these systems tend to be more expensive than basic CMMSs. Many vendors also offer on-site inventory audits and staff onboarding, again at an added cost. As noted previously, the more options selected on either maintenance management platform, the more costly they will be. As a final note of caution, when inquiring about a cloud based system, be sure to determine if price quotes are based on pay per user, pay per module (i.e., preventive maintenance, inventory management), pay per work order or a fee based on a one time licensing fee. There are considerable cost differences among these various pricing schemes.
To accurately compare CMMS software prices involves knowing the bottom line. Because not all CMMS software is alike and because CMMS vendors generally sell systems in packages, these factors must be kept in mind. Carefully match the total cost of CMMS software systems to your preferred features, your desired format, added optional services such as onboarding and implementation and finally, match these to your budget. Careful research followed by discussions with vendors will ensure that your finally selection will be the right fit for your business.