Lines blurring between CMMS and EAM

The software industry is riddled with acronyms: ERP, CRM, SaaS, you get the picture. But what is not always clear for maintenance professionals, is the difference between computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software.

08/05/2013


The software industry is riddled with acronyms: ERP, CRM, SaaS, you get the picture. But what is not always clear for maintenance professionals, is the difference between computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software. Further yet, is one better for your maintenance operations than the other? Certainly there are a variety of opinions, but most experts agree on some common separation:

Age: "CMMS" as a product category has been around a lot longer than EAM, as far back as the days of Big Iron when it basically automated the mainframe maintenance task list. "EAM" appeared on the scene when wide area networks and other technologies emerged to connect computers/software across multiple facilities ("enterprise"), around the town, state, country, etc.

Feature set: In the past, CMMS was focused on operational management—work orders and preventive maintenance—of assets in specific departments; not the enterprise. Opinions vary, but numerous other features such as inventory, basic purchasing, reporting, and other functions could be included. EAM takes a global view on the entire asset inventory of an organization, typically beyond the needs of maintenance.

EAM considers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the asset, so there are a lot more financial reporting/management functions within the software, such as lease terms and dates, maintenance costs, depreciation, contractor repair costs, repair versus replacement costs, and the calculation of total cost of ownership of assets.

Essentially, EAM and CMMS have the same goals: maintaining, managing and protecting assets. CMMS typically kicks in once the asset is purchased. EAM adds on planning, construction and procurement to the life cycle of the asset.

Today the top CMMS products perform these same functions and more. The lines between the two have blurred.

Scope: Original CMMS products were typically used for individual facilities or smaller operations. This may have been due to the limitations to share information beyond the four walls of the company.But as networks became the norm, the Internet made it possible to turn small-scale CMMS into web-based solutions to manage asset maintenance across the enterprise. Today it's not unreasonable to expect your CMMS to run a tight schedule for maintaining assets. However, it may also be capable of recording information about the lifecycle of those assets in order to drive all kinds of business decisions.

Given the development of the industry and the software systems to support it, it's not necessary to focus on the acronym. Instead, focus on what your organization needs. Then pick the right vendors and match them up against the functionality that matches your requirements.

At the end of the day, find the right product, not the "right" acronym.

Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group, producer of Bigfoot CMMS. Contact Paul at paul.lachance@bigfootcmms.com.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Intelligent, efficient PLC programming: Cost-saving programming languages are available now; Automation system upgrades; Help from the cloud; Improving flow control; System integration tips
Smarter machines require smarter systems; Fixing PID, part 3; Process safety; Hardware and software integration; Legalities: Integrated lean project delivery
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again