5 Things to Consider While Choosing a CMMS Software Solution
If you’re not already using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) chances are you’re using a paper or spreadsheet based system. We at Hippo, always hear that there isn’t enough time in the day to manually enter data. Companies are looking for a simple solution to their paper trail. Whatever your reason for making the switch to a CMMS, it requires an investment of time and money. Here at Hippo CMMS, we understand that you want to find the best match for your business needs with ease.
Here are 5 pointers to make your maintenance management software search easier:
1. Create a CMMS project team
This team should include at least one person from each department that will use the system. Typically, the project team is made up of maintenance and facility managers, technicians, plant engineers, along with people from accounting, purchasing and IT. Using this team approach helps you get a better picture of the company’s needs from all possible angles and helps to make a decision when the time comes to pulling the trigger on a software and rolling it out.
2. Take stock of your business needs
To ensure that the CMMS programs you choose are a good fit for your business, create a list of features you’re looking for. It’s best practice to break your feature list into must- haves and nice to have. It’s critical to know where your maintenance software needs, as it’s the first step in figuring out what type of software your business needs. Are you looking for a system to simply keep track of maintenance requests, or something more robust that keeps an inventory of all your equipment, assets, and spare parts and sends alerts out when preventive maintenance work orders need to be performed? Make sure you don’t just look at your present operational needs, but consider what your needs will look like 5-10 years down the road. Outgrowing software is common but should be avoided if possible.
3. Research, Research, Research
According to Brafton.com, 94% of businesses use online sources when making buying decisions. There are plenty of online resources that provide helpful information and reviews on maintenance software providers. Websites like Software Advice, a leading software buyer’s directory, lists more than 50 different CMMS software products with customer reviews. Get a solid handle on your business’ maintenance software requirements and select the five top requirements you are seeking from CMMS. Look at software buyers’ guides, reviews, and company websites. Making use of these online resources will greatly increase your chance of making an informed decision.
4. Create a shortlist
After scouring CMMS vendor websites, customer reviews, and directories, make a short list of the top 3 products. Most maintenance software vendors perform live web conference demos and offer free trials. Taking advantage of these resources is a must! It is also recommended that you bring others into the demo and get their opinions on the trial. Maintenance technicians, facility managers, office administrators, and IT personnel can all weigh in. Having more people involved in the demo process will also increase the chance of employee buy-in.
5. Review and finalize your CMMS shortlist choices
Come up with a score card for each CMMS and rate them on attributes such as functionality, ease of use, cost, security, tech support, vendor track record, growth potential, etc.
- Growth potential – Is the solution flexible enough to grow with your company? Can you upgrade the system to include more features if you need to? CMMS is a large investment, deciding which one to buy is a time-consuming task. You don’t want to have to repeat the purchasing cycle every few years if your needs change.
- Functionality – how well does the maintenance software package meet your functional requirements. You should review the list of “must haves” and “nice to haves” and see how the different software options compare.
- Ease of use – Is the solution easy to learn and use? Will your users adopt the software once implemented? If there is a huge learning curve or people must change the way they work, that is cause for concern. Both factors play a big role in how well end users will receive the new system. If people feel like the system makes their jobs harder, they will not adopt it. Don’t let all the money and effort you put into choosing a CMMS to go to waste. To avoid these issues, find a CMMS solution that is user-friendly for all users, tech-savvy or not.
- Vendor track record –Are they qualified? Have they worked in your industry before? Are they financially sound? Be sure to get demos and client references. Ask for current customers who have needs like yours. Doing this will give you a good idea of what it’ll be like to work with this vendor.
- Tech support – Technical support is extremely important. Find out all methods provided by the vendor; live chat, email, phone, web conference, video, etc. If they don’t work around the clock, are their hours close to yours? Is their tech support simply a list of FAQs on a
webpage? Be sure to consider the vendor’s support, upgrade policy and any associated costs.
- Cost – Make sure the CMMS system you go with works with your budget. Find out all CMMS software costs involved. Various fees apply to subscription or license, onboarding and set up training and support, and upgrades. Some subscriptions are annual while some are monthly. Are there any penalties for canceling? Find out their policy for price increases.
Choosing the right CMMS for your company means doing your homework. Follow these suggestions, and you’ll find your research will pay off in the long run.
Need more CMMS research advice? Hippo CMMS has plenty of other resources on the subject. Anyone researching CMMS software owes it to themselves to read our CMMS Guide. It’s full of useful advice to walk you through the evaluation process. In it, you’ll learn how to:
- Find the best CMMS for your business
- Create a full needs assessment
- Ask the right questions
- Get the best mix of price, functionality, and features