The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly rings true when it comes to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), also known as enterprise asset management (EAM) software. These programs enable companies to schedule, plan, manage, and track maintenance activities associated with equipment, vehicles, or facilities. Utilizing a CMMS helps organizations extend the life of assets, meet compliance and safety standards, improve work completion rate, and ultimately reduce maintenance costs.

But not all CMMS are created—or sold—equally. In fact, the price for the same functionality can vary tremendously. Because purchasing and implementing a CMMS is an investment, cost transparency is critical when undertaking the selection process. This is the important first step in understanding why a CMMS should not be chosen based on price alone—without an upfront description of pricing, you may be hit with hidden fees for services such as training and support—and no one likes surprises when it comes to billing.

Here’s what to look for to ensure that you’re making a sound investment.

1. CMMS Implementation and training

An estimated 80% of CMMS integrations fail to meet expectations because the vendor wasn’t equipped to offer post-sale training and support. That’s why it’s important to select a provider that includes assistance before, during, and after implementation.

Beyond the setup itself, look for robust training options, advising services, and account management that fits your schedule and preferences. The top providers offer clients access to in-person instruction, user conferences, online learning portals, implementation and consulting services, and monthly webinars and workshops.

Finally, find out if training covers the functionality of your complete system or merely the software aspect. The ideal approach offers end-to-end training on processes to make sure users understand why they need to do something in the system. It uses in-depth, role-based education of what’s expected of people in various jobs.

2. On-premise or cloud-based CMMS

Choosing between a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution or an on-premise solution is an important consideration when selecting CMMS. The SaaS model, also referred to as cloud-based, typically provides a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and a faster return on investment (ROI) than traditional, on-premise software.

A cloud-based system also allows maintenance managers and technicians to view and enter information from anywhere at any time. Whether at a workstation in the facility or on the road using a smartphone, data stored on the cloud is always available. SaaS models often offer different subscription levels, so your organization can select which level works best for you, with the option to upgrade and scale in the future.

SaaS solutions are also faster to implement. Furthermore, the IT department doesn’t have to worry about software improvements, as updates are automated and made in real time by the developer. Cloud-based solutions equate to much less downtime of the system due to software maintenance.

The on-premise option is still viable when the software is to be used within highly secured and controlled data environments. However, this carries with it the added overhead of internal maintenance and support. While you may find an on-premise CMMS system that’s cheaper initially than an SaaS solution, you may end up spending more in the long run.

3. Flexibility and ease-of-use in a CMMS

You’ll get a lot more done if you can work the way you want to work. Look for a flexible system that allows you to configure form fields and layouts, build custom reports and dashboards, filter and sort data, and track priority items. It would also include a drag and drop user interface (UI). A simple and intuitive UI makes managing maintenance activities easy for any team and increases adoption rates.

Get more out of your CMMS and improve how equipment health is monitored by aggregating and integrating data from disparate sources and devices. Incorporating data from different devices eases the burden of transfer, decreases error-prone manual entries, and allows for faster and better maintenance decisions. Ultimately, the CMMS should have the ability to integrate with machine data that provides actionable, event-driven processes—something you may not get if you select your CMMS based on price alone.

4. The myth of free CMMS software

Some providers claim their CMMS is “free” but then charge you for phone and email support, hosting fees, additional users, and other services. When evaluating a CMMS, understanding the TCO and potential ROI is essential. Successful implementation should not hinge solely on price. Without proper support and training, CMMS implementation is much less likely to succeed.

Though using an Excel spreadsheet to manage maintenance is a cheaper option, it can quickly become cumbersome and difficult to administrate and search. And, Excel can’t provide automated reminders and notifications like a CMMS system can. Unplanned downtime is a certainty if you don’t hear about a problem on a machine until it’s too late. Between expedited parts, labor costs, and falling behind on your production schedule—it could get very expensive.

Remember: If you can do it in Excel, you can do it far better in a CMMS.

5. Go beyond CMMS software

Instead of basing your CMMS decision on price, look for a company that provides a comprehensive maintenance solution—not just software. For starters, a holistic solution should include unlimited support, account management, online and in-person training, and professional services. The ideal system will also:

  • Help maintenance personnel gather more accurate failure data
  • Automate work execution processes
  • Record maintenance costs for smarter budgeting decisions
  • Allow employees to easily plan and schedule maintenance
  • Designate critical and/or capital spare parts, track warranty information, and provide processes for equipment refurbishment and restoration
  • Measure important KPIs, such as machine downtime (or rather uptime), labor, performance, wrench time, failure, and Pareto data
  • Place information within reach of the technician

For more information on how to select a Computerized Maintenance Management System, check out 5 Common Mistakes Made When Selecting CMMS.

More than 50,000 users worldwide trust eMaint CMMS to achieve substantial ROI, with more than 92% of customers renewing year-after-year. Join the thousands who rely on eMaint to predict failures, eliminate downtime, and improve reliability. Schedule a demo to see it in action.