7 Key CMMS Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Product

CMMS Software / January 2020

Asking the right CMMS questions can be key to making sure you implement the most compatible system for you and your maintenance team. With a variety of different types and forms of Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software, the task of choosing the best application for your business may seem a daunting experience.

So, before the final stage of the buying process, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve. To help you with this stage, we’ve put together the 7 most important questions that you need to ask.

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What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

1. Is the Vendor Experienced in Your Industry?

When purchasing software through a third-party vendor, the first few stages of contact will essentially be to understand your requirements. Although this may be a helpful first step, the initial conversation can have its downsides.

For instance, you’ll more than likely be liaising with an intermediary who may not have the full technical knowledge of the system. Finding out more about their experience is essential to decide if they’re going to be a good fit for your maintenance project.

If they’ve worked in a similar industry before, it’s more than likely that they’ll understand the need for a CMMS in your business.

2. What Are the Costs?

It’s important to understand all the costs that come with a CMMS system. Costs can range from implementation and licensing, to the costs of adding a new user, future updates, and ongoing support.

You don’t want to get stuck with any unexpected additional costs, so you need to ensure that pricing is transparent right from the start. Ensure that you’re clear on the costs of the set-up and if there’s a refund policy. Remember, you can negotiate on a price and ask about discounts based on differences in your requirements.

3. How Can the Tool Be Used and Can It Be Updated?

Depending on your requirements, there are many different ways that a CMMS can be applied. For instance, a cloud-based system allows for flexibility and ease of access regardless of location – as well as IT support. As opposed to an on-premise system that comes with extra costs and limited access, but with more additional security benefits.

If your organisation consists of teams based at different locations, then it might be worth investing in a system that can be updated using mobile devices. But, if your system will only be updated on-site, then a mobile CMMS application shouldn’t be a priority.

Being able to scale your system accordingly is something to consider, too. As your business grows, will it be able to keep up with demand?

4. How Long Will It Take to Deploy?

Timescales are important for any CMMS project. For example, consider the loss and expenditure during unplanned downtime of a vital business asset. Because of this, you need to have a clear understanding of how long the project will take to fully implement and set up.

Your vendor also needs to understand the deadlines for the project and the process for any changes that need to be made during set-up.

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What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

5. What Support and Training Are Offered?

As a business, you want to avoid being sold a system that your team can’t use. Usability issues can range from bugs and errors to poor UX design. Therefore, it is vital to establish the initial training support that will be offered to staff from implementation and onwards.

This also applies to any technical support that you may need. It’s also wise to get this in writing, along with service-level agreements for technical support and response times.

A technical failure can be business-critical, so a quick turnaround time for any issues is essential.

6. Is It User-Friendly?

As previously touched on, an easy-to-use CMMS is vital. This is significant if different people across multiple teams will be using it. As a business, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a system that is overly laborious to use.

Although a lot of the data that is imported and extracted from a CMMS can be complex, inputting and using the system shouldn’t be. Instead, it should be straightforward enough that anyone in the team can use it with ease.

7. What Maintenance Reporting Is Available?

Do you have very specific reporting needs? Is this something that a CMMS will be able to provide automatically or will it need to be built and customised?

Modern applications can be an essential tool for compliance and audit purposes, so making sure that the system meets your reporting requirements is key.