Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has restructured the daily operations of maintenance departments across a broad range of industry sectors. CMMS software have the ability to automate all maintenance management functions including inventory control, ordering replacement parts, preventive maintenance procedures, maintenance reports and even the ability to project future maintenance. With CMMSs, an increasing number of business owners are now reaping benefits such as extended equipment lifespans, improved organization, better time management and labor utilization and of course, reduced operational costs and increased company profits.
The good news for anyone considering making the move to maintenance management software is knowing that the Internet offers a treasure trove of information about CMMSs. Just Google the term, “what is CMMS?” and you will find more than two million results. Yet with so much information to sort through, the problem is finding the information that is most relevant and useful to your specific business needs. Although narrowing searches down to CMMS features, benefits, costs and reviews is helpful, being able to identify the finer points about CMMS system features is often very difficult to source out. One of those areas relates to CMMS data storage. Data storage is at times not well understood because the specifics about it are often buried within discussions on other issues. Here, I’ll try to shed some light on CMMS data storage and how it may impact on your decision-making.
Let’s start with understanding what CMMS data is. Essentially, it refers to any and all of the information that will be added to and used by the maintenance management software. This is information that relates to a company’s equipment, assets and other operations related items (e.g., equipment manuals, inspection notices, warranty certificates, blueprints, light bulbs, batteries, printer cartridges etc.). The amount of data to be added to the CMMS system is completely discretionary and is largely dependent upon a business owner’s goals for the software system. For example, some business owners may wish to concern themselves only with large or more expensive equipment. On the other hand, others may wish to include all maintenance operations related assets in order to assess and manage all company functions. These decisions will determine how comprehensive the system’s scope will be, how much data will be added to it and how much CMMS data storage is needed.
Maintenance management software is available in two distinct formats; cloud based and on premise. Both system formats operate in the same way with the exception of mobile access that is only available in a cloud based platform. Cloud based systems utilize the vendor’s own servers for CMMS data storage, upgrades, security and general maintenance. On the other hand, on premise systems operate independently by using their own server and equipment. In other words, while the former relies on a CMMS vendor maintaining the system, the latter is a stand-alone system with its own in-house maintenance. The choice in CMMS data storage format is generally guided by a business owner’s preference. Those wanting more control and full customization of their system tend to prefer an on premise format. Alternatively, those looking for a CMMS that is worry free and has ongoing maintenance and tech support often prefer a cloud-based system.
There are also cost differences that need to be taken into account when deciding upon a CMMS data storage format. Generally, on premise systems come with higher upfront costs as well as ongoing hardware costs (i.e., a dedicated server, anti virus software, firewall, etc.) As mentioned, there is also a need for an on site tech who will maintain the system; this too comes at a substantial investment. In terms of upfront costs for the on premise CMMS data storage systems alone, they tend to run approximately four times the cost of a cloud based annual subscription, which is approximately $1500.
On the other hand, while cloud based CMMSs are maintenance free, users may have to work around maintenance schedules set out by their vendors. This can be an issue for companies wishing to have complete control and independence in their operations.
In both instances, CMMS data storage space is dictated by the size and scope of a customer’s business and assets. Cloud based CMMS vendors are able to provide options for customers based on their data storage needs. Similarly, on premise customers can select a server that can accommodate their asset size needs as well.
Ensuring CMMS data security is paramount for its customers. It is essential that a company’s’ maintenance, inventory and data are protected from any unauthorized access and transactions. For these reasons, both platforms must employ measures to ensure optimal data security.
Cloud based CMMS systems employ sophisticated data encryption protocols along with updates and maintenance being routinely conducted. Frequent vulnerability and penetration tests are also run to ensure that their clients’ data are not compromised or accessible by others. In their efforts to keep customers’ data secure and up and running, cloud based CMMS software (also known as facility management software) vendors strive to reduce unnecessary intrusions into their customers’ maintenance operations by minimizing system downtimes during their own maintenance.
On premise CMMSs have the added benefit of being less vulnerable to global hacking because they are stand alone and not web based. Unlike its cloud-based counterpart, its data security relies exclusively on the security software selected by business owners, the skills of the company’s IT staff as well as the vigilance of the system users. All security maintenance, firewalls, upgrades, patches and antivirus software must be managed manually with on premise CMMS formats.
Whether customers choose cloud based or on premise CMMS data storage formats, they will be assured of getting an excellent product offering robust features that will streamline all maintenance management operations. Sufficient CMMS data storage and security can both be achieved with either system platform selection. In the end, your decision-making should be guided by your preferences for ease of use and level of independence as well as internal resources and finances.