Author Tom Robbins may have said it best: “There’s birth, there’s death, and in between there’s maintenance.” For businesses in the manufacturing industries, it’s the most necessary of evils. At least, sometimes maintenance can feel like an evil entity.
The life of maintenance workers and managers alike is that they have a lot to do, and their job is never completely done. Managing your assets, work orders and regular preventive maintenance can be daunting, especially when those assets include heavy, expensive equipment. This is why many manufacturing businesses have implemented cloud-based CMMS software to improve their maintenance operations.
Although on-premise CMMS solutions are certainly great pieces of software, they lack some of the functionality of their cloud computing counterparts. In addition, you can avoid several logistical hurdles with a cloud-based CMMS. So unless your industry requires an on-premise deployment, there are several reasons why you’ll want to consider a cloud-based CMMS.
What are the Benefits of Cloud-Based CMMS?
Nearly Unlimited Access
“Cloud-based” software is but one name to describe this deployment. This deployment is also called “web-based” and “browser-based;” in other words, you can access it on the web, specifically in a browser. This detail makes cloud-based CMMS much more accessible than a CMMS deployed on-premise.
While you need physical proximity to connect to an on-premise CMMS, all you need is a browser and an internet connection to access a cloud-based CMMS software. You can log in with your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, and do so whenever you want. Most vendors also create a mobile app, so you can navigate the system with a mobile-friendly interface while on the go.
This is great for workaholics, since you can check the system wherever you are. At home? Check out next week’s scheduled preventive maintenance. At a conference? Show your prospective clients how well you take care of asset management. On vacation in Fiji? Check the status of your work orders while your significant other gets you a margarita.
As we said, the only limits for accessing a cloud-based CMMS lie in the availability of an internet connection and an internet-enabled device — things that aren’t exactly limited to us 99% of the time.
Fewer IT Requirements
Possibly the biggest cost savings for cloud-based software is its lack of IT needs. While on-premise solutions require hardware, infrastructure, internal support and much more, cloud-based software needs only your users to function.
The savings on hardware is a particularly big benefit of the cloud. One of the biggest costs of an on-premise solution is the servers you install the software on. You not only have to buy them and set them up, but then maintain them continuously. Do you really want to perform maintenance on the system that helps manage your maintenance?
Updates are also incredibly straightforward in a cloud-based CMMS. All you have to do is accept the update, log in and then the update will be available (more often than not, you don’t even need to accept the update — it’ll be done automatically when you next log in). Is there a fancy new equipment monitoring module that you’re excited about? No need to wait; as soon as the vendor releases it, it’s yours.
With on-premise CMMS platforms, you have to pay extra and/or wait for updates. These updates have to be physically installed and configured in your servers so that your users can access any new features or bug fixes. Especially in today’s fast-paced business environment, who wants to wait? And for that matter, who can afford to wait for crucial updates?
In addition, if the system malfunctions, you don’t need to have your IT department look at it; you can just let your vendor’s support team know, and they’ll take care of it for you.
Cloud-based software has often gotten a bad rap for a lack of data management. When it comes to data security in particular, the common assumption is that on-premise solutions are better. Nowadays, most cloud-based software is just as secure as their on-premise counterparts, and actually holds an advantage when it comes to data recovery.
Robert Cochran, owner of cloud-based CMMS vendor SS-CMMS, explains why cloud systems have an advantage over on-premise when it comes to data recovery: “With on-premise software, you must back up your database to another server at regular intervals, or risk losing all of your important CMMS data if your hard drive fails on your server or computer. This includes all of your asset and work order history. With cloud-based CMMS software, managed backups are included in the subscription price.”
Thanks to cloud storage, your cloud-based vendor can continuously back up your CMMS data. The data is backed up to multiple servers and multiple locations, so that even if your computer or even one of their own servers crash, your data is always safe and available for future use.
Another downside of on-premise CMMS is the speed of implementation. Or rather, the lack thereof. As we mentioned earlier, you have to invest in servers and other IT hardware to run an on-premise solution. But simply buying them is only half the battle. After purchase, it takes time to set up the servers, install the software and configure your network before you can start using the system.
Starting up with cloud-based CMMS software is almost instantaneous. In as little as 60 seconds after submitting your payment, you can start working with the software. All you have to do is set up your login credentials and log in to the system before you can start exploring.
That said, you’ll probably want to implement the software a little slower than that to allow for a seamless transition. You’ll want to inform your users and other important stakeholders on any process changes. You should also provide at least basic training for your users so they can hit the ground running.
The difference between setting up the infrastructure of an on-premise CMMS and the transition to a cloud-based system is huge. An on-premise implementation can take weeks or even months, while a cloud implementation can take as little as a few days or a week.
What are the Top Cloud-Based CMMS Vendors?
There are plenty of great cloud-based CMMS solutions available in today’s software market. But why settle for great, when you can see the best of the best? Below are our four favorite cloud-based CMMS platforms, taken from our CMMS Leaderboard:
The Hippo CMMS cloud-based solution is easy to work with, thanks to an easy-to-use interface. It offers all of your CMMS basics, such as preventive maintenance, work order software, asset management, inventory management and equipment tracking. What sets it apart, however, is its support. It has a 99.7% uptime, and offers free unlimited training for the first six months after you sign up.
The eMaint CMMS platform is an all-in-one solution that provides Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) functionality along with standard CMMS features. Along with preventive maintenance, the system also provides predictive maintenance software that automatically creates a work order when an operational threshold is reached. In addition, it can track KPIs such as downtime and labor performance, so you can make better data-driven decisions to improve your maintenance. For a thorough comparison of Hippo CMMS and eMaint, check out our article comparing Bigfoot vs eMaint vs Hippo CMMS.
IBM’s Maximo may be called an asset management software, but it has way more functionality than that. It also has unique documentation and contract management, which are available to view in the system at any time. Additionally, it provides procurement management features, with which you can plan your inventory, based on the maintenance history of your equipment.
Infor’s cloud-based platform is another software that includes EAM along with their CMMS. The system has advanced reporting and analytics capabilities that are used for every part of the maintenance process. You can use Infor to track your assets and schedule preventive maintenance based on asset performance rather than a weekly or monthly maintenance schedule. It also helps maintain inventory control based on how frequently you use various parts. And, of course, the Infor platform can help with work order management by scheduling jobs and assigning workers/materials to those jobs.