Important Tips For Choosing The Right CMMS

CMMS Maintenance TipsWhen choosing a maintenance management system for your organization it can be overwhelming. Whether you are starting from scratch or wanting to update an existing system, this is a major task and you want to make sure you make the right decision. You need to pick the right solution that meets your business objectives and is scalable to grow with your business needs. 

You only want to make this decision once, so it is essential that do your homework upfront. This will save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation to ensure that you will have a system that will meet your current needs and your future needs and expectations.

What Is Maintenance Management Software?

Maintenance management software such as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is software that centralizes maintenance information and simplifies the processes of maintenance operations. CMMS organizes and helps organizations manage maintenance activities to ultimately increase asset productivity, decrease costs, and streamline processes.

The tips below are a guide to help you with the process of choosing the right CMMS software that will meet your current and anticipated future growth.

Note: Not all vendors offer the same packages or features, so it is important to discuss your requirements to make sure that the vendor meets your needs and that you understand all of the costs.

#1  Define Goals

It is important to identify all of the departments across the organization that will be affected by a CMMS implementation. Identifying all of the needs up front in the early stages will help you get one step closer to choosing the right CMMS software solution. With this insight, you can evaluate the different features and have a full-featured CMMS that will accommodate your entire business maintenance operations. 

What problems are you trying to solve?  Document all of your maintenance issues and your business needs before meeting with a vendor. Some suggestions to consider:

  • What is the biggest maintenance problem you are trying to solve?
  • Do you need preventive maintenance scheduling?
  • Is being able to do predictive maintenance important?
  • Do you need to manage spare parts inventory?
  • Do you need to keep track and maintain asset information (repair history and costs) from purchase to disposal?
  • Do you want to be able to manage and track all your work orders from anywhere?
  • Do you need to attach checklists to work orders?
  • Do you need sign-offs for work orders?
  • Do you need to upload pictures and other documents to work orders?
  • Do you need fleet management?
  • Do you need detailed reports for audits, inspections, etc.?
  • Do you need to manage maintenance expenses?
  • Do you need to integrate with any additional systems?
  • Do you need to have clear insight into your maintenance operations?

#2  Cloud-Based or On-Premise?

Cloud-based or on-premise which is right for your company?  This decision can have a big impact on your implementation costs and resources.

Cloud-Based CMMS

Cloud-based CMMS software is a hosted service that’s accessible over the Internet.  

  • No hardware or software to install.
  • The vendor will handle backups, security, and upgrades.
  • Cloud-based CMMS systems enable businesses to focus on core responsibilities avoiding the need to hire additional resources. 
  • Lower upfront cost and total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • No software licensing costs
  • No new infrastructure requirements

On-Premise CMMS

On-premise maintenance software is installed and runs on the computers of the organization using the software.

The organization purchasing the software is responsible for:

  • Purchase usage rights for the software upfront.
  • Buy the equipment necessary to run the software.
  • Install the software or pay a third party to install it.
  • Dedicated IT staff for support and maintenance.
  • IT staff controls the security and use of the software.
  • Control overall data and systems.
  • Sensitive data is stored and handled internally.
  • You are responsible for all software updates.
  • New features and bug fixes often come with additional costs.

#3  Assessing Features and Benefits

You need to make sure that the features of the proposed CMMS have all of the capabilities to satisfy your business requirements. Have a discussion with the vendors, request a demo, and ask questions. The objective of a CMMS is to automate as many of your manual maintenance processes as possible.

#4  Is the CMMS Scalable?

When choosing CMMS software, it is important to think about how the system will support your maintenance operations as your organization grows. Choosing a system that is scalable will save you a lot of money and the aggravation of looking for a new system because you have outgrown your current system.

When thinking about a CMMS you need to consider future growth, adding more users, or data storage, you need to make sure that the software you are purchasing is flexible to meet your growing needs. Additionally, extra features may come with additional costs that you need to consider.

If you choose an on-premise CMMS solution, you need to also consider the purchase of additional licenses and the number of licenses that you are able to purchase. With extra users and a larger database, you might need to purchase extra server space to accommodate the additional file storage. Additional resources may also be needed to manage and maintain the on-premise CMMS software.

#5  Is the CMMS User-Friendly?

User-friendly means that the software is easy to use, simple to understand, and has a clean interface to all of the features and functionality that your business requires. What one person considers “easy” is based on their own skill, knowledge, or experience. How do you overcome diverse skills? You need to ask the vendor what type of training or help videos they offer. Keep in mind that not all users will be using all of the features, so you need to make sure that the power users have the knowledge and skills needed to access the features. The best thing that you can do is get a demo and ask questions.

#6  Mobile Access

Selecting a CMMS with mobile access gives your maintenance team the ability to manage their maintenance tasks from anywhere. This increases their response time, efficiency, and productivity. Technicians can manage and complete work orders, checklists, and more, on their mobile devices. They can search through historical information, or check inventory levels in the parts department right from their mobile device. 

#7  Data Security

Cybersecurity has now become a daily word in every industry. With ransomware attacks maintenance and reliability teams throughout all facilities, organizations need to assess their level of cyber risk and put plans in place to make sure that their CMMS data is protected.

Vendors say they have a secure network, but do they really? Today, there are companies that specialize in analyzing vendor networks to ensure that their data is secure. These vendors provide “Security Scorecards” rating them on their security in various categories. This would be a good time to choose a vendor that has a 100% rating. When evaluating a vendor ask them what their rating is and to share their cybersecurity scorecard with you.  

A vendor with a poor cybersecurity score can open the doors to security breaches and bring your business to a halt. 

#8  Costs

Not all CMMSs are created equal, and certain service providers tack on additional fees, so you need to ask questions upfront to make sure you are getting what you ask for.  

Below are some pricing questions you may want to ask:

  • Are there separate charges for setup?
  • Do you charge for support?
  • Are updates free?
  • Do I need to do anything with the updates?
  • Are there any fees for hosting?
  • Is there any charge for training?
  • Are there any additional costs?

Most web-based CMMS software is priced by the number of users and level of features. Here are the top three most common plans:

Per-user, per-month subscription plan

This is a monthly subscription plan, where companies only pay for the number of employees that actually use the software.  These plans often come in various tiers depending on the level of features, 

Some plans also provide a maintenance portal where anyone can submit a work order request with an optional ID and password.

Per-month subscription plan 

This per-month subscription plan usually includes a maximum number of users and worksites, as well as a specific set of features. This subscription is structured more for small companies with basic operations and a limited number of users.

One-time perpetual licensing fee

On-premise systems are tools that are physically installed and run on an organization’s computers. All of the expenses associated with installation, upgrades, maintenance, fixing bugs, licenses, data storage, etc. are all the responsibility of the organization that purchased the on-premise hardware. The perpetual licensing fee is much higher than a subscription fee and is paid as a lump sum during implementation.

Free versions of CMMS

There are two types of “free” CMMS packages.

Some CMMS providers claim their CMMS is “free” but then charge you for phone and email support, hosting fees, additional users, and other services.  Or, may not have any support at all.

There are other CMMS providers that offer free versions of their paid solution. But these versions give you very limited functionality and features for a limited amount of time. You might want to think if you want to take the time and resources to use this software for a limited amount of time.

A lot of work goes into these short-time trials that are not giving you access to the features you really need and it can be frustrating or not a good indication of the working software.  If you decided to do a trial, set the criteria for which features you want to work with.

Take the time to get a live demo with the vendor. Have someone from your maintenance team in the demo, because they are the ones that are going to be using it the most.

#9  Is the Vendor Credible?

Be sure that the vendor is reputable, trustworthy, and has the experience necessary to address any problem that may arise. You should look for information such as their number of years in business, a product portfolio, security program, and ratings on review sites.

Ask the vendor how many years of hands-on CMMS experience their support team has. A vendor who has a sales team with years of  CMMS actual maintenance experience is a real plus. Having to interact with someone who has actual experience of more than a week of training on CMMS is a positive indication that this vendor is serious about providing a great customer experience. Having hands-on experience brings a whole lot of advantages. They speak your language, understand what you are talking about, can relate to any situation, and they bring added recommendations and a whole lot of helpful advice. Think seriously about this vendor.

Check out their customer reviews on comparison sites like Capterra, or other review sites to see what others have to say about them.

Take the time to assess your interaction with the vendor during the demo. This is an important decision you are making and you want to make it right the first time.

#10 Technical Support

You are going to have your CMMS for a long time, so you want to make sure that you have the best technical support. It is important to understand the knowledge base of the technical team. 

* Do they have long-term hands-on experience so that you feel comfortable when an emergency comes up, someone will be able to understand your situation and easily respond.           

* Is technical support free for as long as you are with that vendor?

* How is technical support provided?  (phone, email support, or web portal)

* Do you have access to other self-help resources such as help screens or videos?

There are some vendors that offer live chat, but most vendors have a charge associated with this option. Some vendors require you purchase a support plan in order to receive any support.


We live in a very fast and competitive world, and businesses are challenged to find the most affordable, efficient, and effective way to grow their business and be profitable. The goal of CMMS software is to make your maintenance operation more efficient by automating many processes, managing data, eliminating redundancy and human error. CMMS gives you the tools to manage your preventive maintenance program and extend the lifespan of your assets. By following the tips outlined above to select a CMMS software solution will help you in your process of selecting a vendor who will help deliver on your requirements to get your maintenance organization working at maximum performance.  

Next steps 

Do you still have questions?  Want a free demo”  Give us a call to learn more about the benefits of computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software and how implementing a CMMS software solution can help improve your maintenance operations.

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GetApp Category Leader Award for CMMS, Preventive Maintenance, Fixed Asset Management, Work Order, Fleet Maintenance, and Facility Management      #1 Rated Maintenance System for CyberSecurity      Capterra Shortlist Award for CMMS, EAM, Asset Tracking, Fixed Asset Management, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Management, Field Service Management, and Preventive Maintenance