After you’ve made the decision to invest in maintenance management software and begin researching solutions, you’ll come across two options. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software will appear to have many similarities, making it difficult to decide which is the best option for your business. Before choosing one or the other, however, it’s important to learn the differences between CMMS and EAM software.

What is CMMS?

So, what is CMMS anyway? Computerized maintenance management systems were first introduced in the mid 1960s primarily as a means to manage work orders. There have been many advancements in CMMS since then, especially in the 1980s as it transitioned into software. In addition to managing work orders, today’s modern systems typically include the ability to monitor assets and inventory levels, generate reports and schedule preventive maintenance.

Utilized most often by small to medium-sized businesses, CMMS software helps extend the life of assets, reduce downtime and improve overall operations. It is not intended, however, to solve complex asset management challenges, such as those in larger businesses and enterprises. A new software solution emerged to fill this apparent gap in the marketplace—enterprise asset management software.

What is EAM?

Enterprise asset management software gives companies the ability to manage multiple assets, users and locations from the same system. It runs on networks, syncs data and gives companies vast amounts of information relating to asset management lifecycles across various sites. EAM software is much like CMMS in its maintenance management features, which is where the confusion stems from. In fact, many people think of EAM as a more robust version of traditional CMMS. EAM software includes all the same modules found in a CMMS, plus more. Features typically found in EAM include:

  • Work Orders
  • Work Requests
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Maintenance Scheduling
  • Asset Management
  • Parts & Inventory
  • Purchasing
  • Reports & Graphs
  • Project Management
  • Cost Tracking & Budgeting

Mobile access, dashboards and advanced integration features are usually available to EAM users as well. Not to mention cloud-hosted EAM solutions, which are quickly becoming the go-to choice for many enterprises.

Distinct Differences Between CMMS and EAM

Both CMMS and EAM fall under the category of maintenance management software. And since CMMS and EAM features overlap, it’s easier to point out differences between the two by instead focusing on primary intent. Computerized maintenance management systems were originally intended to streamline maintenance, centralize data and introduce an automated approach to managing work orders. Enterprise asset management software was intended to manage the lifecycle of assets spanning multiple locations.

That being said, technological advancements have ‘blurred lines’ between the two distinct types of maintenance management software. More and more CMMS vendors are incorporating features once only found in EAM software. The demand for mobile access and cloud-based software continues to increase. The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, condition-monitoring sensors and other smart technology will further enhance both CMMS and EAM software solutions.

Which One Do I Need?

In order to choose the best solution for your business, you must consider many factors when selecting maintenance management software. The first, as mentioned before, is intent. Are you purely interested in optimizing your maintenance operations? If so, CMMS is the way to go. However, you must also consider the size of your operations. Do you have a large maintenance staff of 50 or more employees? If not, CMMS is still probably your best bet. If so, EAM may be more applicable for you.

The number of sites you plan to manage under the same software will also help you determine the best fit for your organization. If you only have one physical location, CMMS is the appropriate choice. Multiple locations require enterprise capabilities, making EAM the obvious choice. Additionally, you should consider future business needs during your evaluation. Outgrowing one location and expanding into multiple sites may be a possibility, which would necessitate EAM software.

One factor that can easily dictate your decision is budget. CMMS is traditionally lower in price than EAM, especially for on-premise solutions. Software that’s installed on a machine is a significant investment, and the cost difference between on-premise CMMS and EAM runs into thousands of dollars. Cloud-hosted solutions, which run on a network and don’t require installation, are a popular choice among many companies. Software solutions that operate in the cloud are typically priced at a monthly rate. This enables companies to stretch their overall budget for maintenance management software out over the course of years, rather than paying a large amount of money one time.

Focus on the Vendor, Not the Acronym

Both CMMS and EAM software can help organizations enhance maintenance operations, assist in ensuring compliance, improve safety, decrease machine downtime and maximize assets’ return on investment (ROI). As you evaluate options, it’s best to discuss your unique needs with a vendor who offers both CMMS and EAM options at flexible price structures and a variety of deployment methods. DPSI provides all of the above plus excellent customer service, a long-standing reputation in the maintenance management software industry and consistent product improvement based on user feedback. Contact us today to learn more about our software products and services.

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