As organisations look to optimise their operations and budgets, opting for zero-cost maintenance management software may seem like a very attractive solution… but is it the best in the long run?
What is a free CMMS?
A free CMMS, also known as a Computerised Maintenance Management Software, is system designed to help organisations manage their maintenance operations efficiently and effectively.
The main feature of a free CMMS is that it is available at no cost, which means that organisations can use it without having to pay an initial licence fee. These systems are often an attractive option for small and medium-sized enterprises with limited budgets, as well as for smaller projects.
However, it is important to note that a free CMMS often has limitations compared to paid versions, and even more so with intelligent maintenance management platforms. These limitations may include restrictions on the number of assets or users that can be managed, reduced functionality or lack of full technical support.
✖ Before opting for a free CMMS, it is important to assess the specific maintenance needs of your organisation and determine if a free software meets your requirements or whether you need to invest in a more comprehensive and robust solution.
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9 disadvantages of a free CMMS
Limited number of users
Free CMMSs often limit the number of users that can access the system for free. This can make it difficult to collaborate and manage larger teams.
Limited number of assets or equipment
Many free maintenance software packages place restrictions on the amount of assets or equipment that can be managed on the platform. This can be problematic for organisations with a large number of assets that require monitoring and maintenance.
👨💻 Suggested reading: How to do asset management properly
Free CMMSs generally offer a basic set of features and functionalities. Advanced features, such as automatic preventive maintenance scheduling, advanced inventory management and customised reporting, are often only available in paid versions.
Lack of technical support
Free maintenance management platforms often lack full technical support or offer only limited support through online resources such as forums or documentation. This can make it difficult to troubleshoot problems and get help when needed.
Limited updates and maintenance
Software updates and ongoing maintenance may be limited in free versions. This means that bugs may not be fixed or new features added as frequently as in paid versions.
Compromised security and privacy
Free CMMSs may have less robust security and privacy features compared to paid versions, which could be an issue for organisations that handle sensitive data.
As an organisation grows, a free CMMS may not be able to meet its needs in terms of number of assets, users and complexity of maintenance operations.
Advertising or commercial restrictions
Some free CMMSs may include advertising or commercial restrictions, such as the requirement to share data or refer other users to gain full access.
Lack of customisation
The ability to customise the system to suit the specific needs of the organisation is often limited in free versions.
Main differences between an Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform and a free CMMS
We have already discussed here the main differences between an IMMP and a CMMS. When it comes to a free CMMS, we can divide the main distinctions into 4 aspects: advanced functionalities, automation, failure prediction & prevention, and costs.
✅ IMMPs are often equipped with advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This enables real-time asset monitoring, failure prediction, maintenance schedule optimisation and data-driven decision making.
❌ Free CMMSs typically offer a basic set of functionalities, such as asset management, maintenance scheduling, inventory and task tracking. They lack advanced failure analysis and prediction capabilities.
✅ An Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform automates many tasks, from data collection to maintenance scheduling. It can send automatic alerts and recommendations based on real-time data analysis.
❌ A free CMMS requires manual data entry and relies heavily on human intervention for maintenance management and scheduling.
Failure prediction and prevention
✅ An IMMP uses data analytics and machine learning to predict potential failures and avoid costly downtime.
❌ Free CMMSs generally lack the ability to predict and prevent breakdowns; they focus more on scheduled and corrective maintenance.
✅ An Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform requires significant investment due to its advanced technology and capabilities. However, it can generate significant long-term savings by preventing costly downtime and repairs.
❌ A free CMMS has no access restrictions, but can have hidden costs associated with manual asset management and lack of automation.
Is a free CMMS compatible with predictive maintenance?
Free CMMSs and IMMPs have significant differences when it comes to predictive maintenance compatibility and implementation efficiency.
In fact, most free CMMSs have limited or no predictive maintenance capabilities at all. They may lack the advanced features needed to collect and analyse real-time data, identify patterns and predict failures effectively.
Intelligent maintenance management platforms, on the other hand, are designed to be highly compatible with predictive maintenance. They often feature advanced IoT capabilities, real-time data analytics and machine learning algorithms.
An Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform takes you further
An IMMP like Infraspeak is not free — but it offers a wide range of advanced functionalities, including asset management, preventive and reactive maintenance scheduling, inventory management, task tracking and more, that will optimise and reduce your operating costs in no time.
Infraspeak can integrate with IoT (Internet of Things) devices to collect real-time data from assets, enabling more accurate monitoring and data-driven decision making, something that free CMMSs lack the ability to do.
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In addition, maintenance teams can access the platform and record information from anywhere. This improves efficiency and responsiveness, in contrast to some free CMMSs that may have limited applications.
Opting for an intelligent maintenance is to choose a scalable platform, which can adapt to your business needs over time, and is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses to large corporations. Free CMMSs, as we have seen, often have limitations in terms of the number of assets or users they can manage.
So, is a free CMMS the best option?
Well, it’s certainly better than pen and paper, or even an excel sheet, but that’s no longer enough.
We are in the age of Maintenance 5.0 now, and the key word is intelligence.