What’s the Difference Between a CMMS and EAM?

CMMS Software / August 2021

When searching for the best maintenance management solution, there are two viable options; a CMMS and EAM.

  • EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) focuses on optimising the overall performance of assets.
  • A CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) encourages the automation of maintenance strategies to prolong asset performance and increase asset health.

Depending on variables such as asset type, business size, and the scale of operations, each solution provides different functionalities and benefits to match an organisation’s maintenance requirements.

A Side-By-Side Difference Between CMMS and EAM

The real difference between CMMS & EAM

CMMS and EAM are the two solutions that offer maintenance-oriented solutions. Often they are perceived to be the same thing, which they are not. As a general rule of thumb, CMMS can be viewed as only a portion of what EAM can offer (like the image above).

However, the differences, in terms of parameters and functionality, can also be granular.




Fundamental ConceptDesigned to address total asset lifecycle managementDesigned to drive asset uptime
Key CapabilitiesCapital Planning, Asset Procurement, Asset Installation, Workflow Layouts, Production Load Management, Asset Maintenance, Compliance Management, Asset Risk Management & Asset DisposalReactive, Proactive, Preventive and Preventative Maintenance Management Workflows. *Some CMMS options include EAM capabilities
UsageUsers from Finance, Maintenance, Operations, Productions and Compliance teamsUsers from Maintenance and Operations teams
ImplementationSince they are enterprise-wide systems they tend to have Phased Implementation CyclesSingle Implementation Cycles
Decision MakingC-Level Suite, Maintenance and Operations TeamsTypically Maintenance and Operations Teams
Ideal ApplicationAsset-intensive industries focused on managing the asset lifecycleAsset-intensive industries focused on driving asset-uptime.

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What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

What Does a CMMS Do?

CMMS Software is a tool used to automate maintenance management tasks of physical assets such as machines, tools, and vehicles. An industry that relies heavily on using a CMMS is manufacturing.

The use of a CMMS in manufacturing has evolved, from the mechanical boom at the end of the 18th century to the use of production lines in the 20th century. Over the past few decades, manufacturing processes have been supported by software systems. This has helped to transform raw materials into finished goods.

The primary functions of a CMMS are to:

Drive Proactive and Preventive maintenance

A key area of CMMS and EAM Software is creating maintenance plans. Maintenance costs can be optimised by 12 to 18% by controlling maintenance cycles. CMMS provides the platform and the workflow to manage maintenance cycles. With reactive, predictive, or preventative maintenance cycles. 91% of manufacturers who deployed a predictive maintenance program saw a reduction in repair time.

Streamline Work Order Management

Maintenance management involves internal and external work orders. These can be resource-oriented and/or material-oriented. A CMMS provides the workflows to manage and report on all work orders. Whilst being able to track work order statuses in real-time.

Provide Visibility for Inventory Management

A CMMS keeps track of details such as part numbers, descriptions, suppliers, and spare parts. Helping to improve inventory management processes. It can also provide alerts if the inventory falls below a pre-defined threshold level. This helps automate the ordering process to make sure stock levels are kept replenished. As well as help to avoid unplanned downtime.

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What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

What Does an EAM System Do?

Whereas a CMMS is used primarily to manage the maintenance of equipment and machinery, Enterprise Asset Management Software (EAM) takes a holistic view of the complete asset lifecycle management. That includes planning, procurement, operations, and disposal.

EAM systems are used by industries that rely heavily on the use and availability of their assets. The overall goal of EAM is to control and measure asset performance. By doing so, businesses can maximise usability and reduce expenses.

The main function of an enterprise asset management system is to:

Plan and Analyse the Asset Life Cycle

EAM offers ‘financial planning to disposal’ lifecycle management of assets. It maintains information at every stage of the asset life cycle. Including procurement records, maintenance management records, compliance, and asset disposal details.

Configure Asset Workflows

An asset is viewed differently by various teams;

  • Production teams view assets as a means to drive production
  • Maintenance teams to optimise asset uptime
  • Finance teams for asset profitability
  • and compliance teams to ensure workplace safety

EAM offers asset perspectives based on a role/department. One can plan inspections, track warranties, and track high-priority work order statuses. As well as note reasons for delays and overdue notifications amongst other features.

Link Asset Uptime with Profitability

Since EAM has a 360-degree view of an asset, it is equipped to link asset uptime profitability. The value of assets needs to be recorded/updated continuously for accounting purposes. EAM provides a vital framework to value assets across their useful life.

CMMS or EAM: Which Matches Your Requirements?

Certain operational scenarios that make it clear which solution you require; EAM or CMMS. When deciding, it’s important for an organisation to understand what they require and what they want to achieve.

When You Require a CMMS

  • Drive maintenance KPIs
  • Reduce unplanned downtime of critical machinery and equipment
  • Reduce repair and emergency breakdown costs
  • Limit reactive maintenance tasks
  • Increase workplace and worker health and safety
  • Prolong asset operation and reduce high asset disposal rates

When You Require EAM

  • Track and manage the entire asset life cycle of physical assets and infrastructure
  • Increase asset performance and uptime
  • Manage operational and purchasing costs
  • Determine asset valuation and plan purchasing decisions
  • Access informational and technical data regarding each asset

CMMS features vs. EAM features