Enterprise Asset Management software is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It works great where it’s needed, but it’s only needed in specific situations. How do you know if you need it? And, when you do need it, what does it deliver? 

What is EAM anyway?

EAM software offers a broad base of functions covering an organization’s physical assets. The system analyzes assets throughout their lifecycle, including design, commission, and procurement. It covers asset operation, maintenance, disposal, and replacement by taking care of all related documentation, processes, operating models, management, economics, and any other workable aspects of assets. That means EAM is a holistic system that goes beyond day-to-day maintenance operations. One of its greatest values is its ability to predict the longevity of an asset and the cost of maintaining it by looking at production demands. In summary, the main objective of EAM software is to optimize how each asset is used within total operations. EAM does a lot, and the maintenance component is just one of its many features.

Is EAM the same as CMMS?

No. They’re similar but with important differences. As its name suggest, CMMS or Computerized Maintenance Management Software targets maintenance management. Although narrower in its focus when compared to EAM, CMMS systems serve as a robust tool in all aspects of maintenance operations. CMMS software offer a broad range of features that include inventory level monitoring, work order tracking, maintenance and financial report generating, and preventive maintenance (PM) scheduling. The PM feature is the most sought-after component because of its ability to streamline and schedule routine maintenance, reduce resource utilization and supply costs, and ultimately prevent unanticipated, time-consuming, costly equipment failure. Its goal is to extend the lifespan of assets and improve operations efficiency. CMMSs are available in both cloud-based and on-premises platforms, and offer the ability to grant varying user access permissions, as needed. User-friendly CMMS systems are also accessible from multiple platforms, including mobile, and can have mobile device photo and barcode-scanning capabilities. These features facilitate parts ordering and identify equipment maintenance locations. You can learn more about the differences between EAM and CMMS by reading EAM Software vs CMMS: What’s the Difference?

EAMS Applied

With the differences between EAM and CMMS explained, let’s look at examples with and without EAM system support.

Planning a public pool

There are many factors to consider during the planning phase when building a public swimming pool, including cost, zoning, construction, equipment, maintenance, staffing, and health and safety issues. Each represents distinct essential elements in making accurate fiscal and feasibility decisions. In the absence of EAM software, data must be generated from multiple sources and most likely will be in different formats. This makes synthesis and analysis difficult. Without EAM software, all the data must be cleaned and massaged. But with EAM software, everything is entered and stored in an established, uniform format.

Deciding to replace or repair a bridge

This is a difficult decision because of the enormous investments of time, energy, and money. Without an EAM system, the decision-making is largely limited to a cost comparison of repairing the bridge to replacing it based on materials, time and labor. However, much is missing from this type of analysis. With an EAM system, other variables can properly be considered, including:

  • the current bridge’s age
  • its repair history, including repair costs and number of repairs conducted across time
  • current estimated cost to repair
  • structural integrity tests
  • ongoing maintenance costs
  • cost to dismantle and dispose the old bridge
  • future ongoing maintenance costs of the new bridge

The EAM system makes it possible to include all current and projected costs in one database and then generate meaningful reports.

Implementing snow removal KPIs

In areas that experience significant snowfall, snow removal operations must be factored into the operating budget. In order to stay within budget, KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are often implemented. In terms of snow removal, KPIs can quantify how effectively a city snow removal department is achieving its operating objectives within a specified time frame (i.e., a three-year time frame at which time, budgetary objectives are expected to be met). Without an EAM system, maintenance managers will likely rely on past equipment performance and repair records and labor costs to make projections. These variables alone provide limited insight into a department and, more importantly, the ability to create meaningful KPIs. Having an EAM system makes it possible to fully analyze data and determine where asset performance is lacking and how it can become more cost effective. As well, the system can perform a cost/benefit analysis to determine the viability of an asset against the cost of replacing it. Having a full understanding of equipment and operator performance means reasonable KPIs can be established with the expectation that they can be met within an allotted timeframe.


With the ever-increasing demands of tighter margins and evolving technologies, now more than ever, organizations need new ways to meet their goals. For larger organizations with a wide range of assets and a need to go beyond maintenance and inventory control, an EAM system delivers a holistic approach to asset management.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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