First things first: what is a CMMS?

A Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software tool designed to streamline maintenance management. At its core, a CMMS helps organisations track and manage their maintenance activities, ensuring that assets are maintained efficiently and effectively. It typically includes functionalities such as work order management, asset tracking, preventive maintenance scheduling, and inventory management.

The primary advantage of a CMMS is its ability to centralise maintenance information, thus being a reliable system of records. However, as facilities management comes to be more complex, the limitations of CMMS are becoming increasingly apparent, and we’re noticing a reevaluation of the CMMS as the primary choice.

A gradual shift towards IMMPs

There is a noticeable trend of facility managers moving towards Intelligent Maintenance Management Platforms (IMMPs), especially in larger, more complex operations where advanced features like real-time data integration and comprehensive analytics are valuable.

In fact, a 2023 Verdantix report on the smart building market indicates that, whilst CMMS is still widely used, there is a growing interest in more integrated solutions. The report highlights that approximately 40-50% of surveyed large facilities are either considering or have already implemented IMMPs, indicating a significant shift.

On the other hand, according to Gartner’s research, about 60-70% of facility managers in small to mid-sized organisations still rely primarily on CMMS. This is largely due to budget constraints.

It is reasonable to estimate that a significant portion of facility managers—likely around 60-70%—still use CMMS as their primary maintenance software. However, this percentage is expected to gradually decrease as more organisations recognise the benefits of IMMPs and allocate budget for these more advanced solutions.

Factors influencing the shift

Technological advancements

The rapid advancement of IoT, big data analytics, and AI has made IMMPs more attractive due to their ability to integrate these technologies for more efficient and proactive maintenance management.

Operational needs

Facilities with more complex operations, such as those in manufacturing, healthcare, and large commercial buildings, are more likely to adopt IMMPs, since the need for real-time data and comprehensive integration with other systems drives this shift.

Budget and resource allocation

Smaller facilities with limited budgets may be temped to continue to rely on CMMS, due to lower costs and simpler implementation processes. However, as the cost of technology decreases and the ROI of advanced systems becomes more evident, even these facilities may start to consider IMMPs.

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What are the main limitations of a CMMS?

Integration capabilities

One of the most significant drawbacks of a CMMS is its limited ability to integrate with other systems. Modern facilities often rely on a variety of software solutions for different aspects of management, including Building Management Systems (BMS), Energy Management Systems (EMS), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. A CMMS that is not able to seamlessly integrate with these systems can create data silos, leading to inefficiencies and a lack of comprehensive oversight.

Inflexibility and scalability issues

CMMS solutions are often rigid and lack the flexibility to adapt to the evolving needs of a facility. As organisations grow and their maintenance needs become more complex, a CMMS may struggle to scale accordingly. This inflexibility can result in increased manual workarounds and a higher likelihood of errors.

User experience and usability concerns

Many CMMS platforms suffer from poor user interfaces and a steep learning curve, which can result in low adoption rates among maintenance staff, reducing the effectiveness of the system. A clunky, difficult-to-use interface can also lead to errors and inefficiencies, negating the potential benefits of using a CMMS.

“The fact that the app’s menu is very simple helped a lot with the team’s acceptance. It works and I feel it’s an easy tool to use, offering a good user experience.” — Pedro Machado, Head of the Buildings Division at Matosinhos City Council

Reactive rather than proactive maintenance

While a CMMS can facilitate preventive maintenance to some extent, it often falls short of enabling truly proactive maintenance strategies in order to foresee potential issues before they become critical. These are very challenging to implement effectively with a traditional CMMS.

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Using an IMMP as a maintenance software

Intelligent Maintenance Management Platforms represent the next generation of maintenance software, offering numerous benefits over traditional CMMS. However, they also come with their own set of challenges.

Benefits of an IMMP

  1. 360º view of operations: IMMPs provide a comprehensive view of all maintenance activities and their impact on overall facility operations. This perspective can improve decision-making and strategic planning.
  2. Better data analytics: With the ability to integrate and analyse data from various sources, IMMPs enable advanced analytics that can identify trends, predict failures, and optimise maintenance schedules.
  3. Real-time monitoring and alerts: IMMPs can monitor equipment in real-time, providing immediate alerts for any anomalies, which can prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems.
  4. Increased efficiency: By automating routine tasks and providing more accurate data, IMMPs can increase the efficiency of maintenance operations, which therefore translates into cost savings and improved asset performance.

Challenges of an IMMP

  1. Implementation complexity: Transitioning from one software solution to another can seem kind of complex and time-consuming. It often requires careful planning, data migration, and staff training to ensure a smooth transition. Here at Infraspeak, some of our clients have the new system up and running in less than a month! Elecnor is one of those cases.
  2. Cost considerations: While IMMPs offer long-term cost savings, the initial investment can be dissuasive. These initial costs should be weighted against benefits to determine the return on investment — always knowing that opting for a free CMMS, for example, might seem a good idea (until it is not).
  3. Data security and privacy: With the increased integration and use of real-time data, ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive information becomes paramount. Organisations must implement robust security measures to protect their data, just like Infraspeak does.

When an IMMP is worth the investment

Intelligent Maintenance Management Platforms are more than just a hype, and can be used in a wide range of businesses. From hospitality to healthcare, if you have an operation to run, no matter how big or small, you can benefit from using a platform such as Infraspeak. In fact, our loving customers come in all shapes and sizes!

And yes, we get it, one can be tempted of thinking of IMMPs as tremendoulsy disruptive, difficult to implement and even unreliable (data breaches, anyone?). However, these platforms are already representing a significant advancement in maintenance practices, moving from reactive to proactive strategies that align with modern demands.

Simply put, if your organisation aims to maintain a competitive edge, investing in an IMMP is a strategic, smart move, that will very soon pay off.