When running a successful business, you have a few overarching goals: to be profitable, to have productive and satisfied employees, and to have happy return customers. These elements all go hand-in-hand and they all ultimately require the same foundation.

An integral part of that foundation today is having software and hardware that works for you and helps your company run smoothly and efficiently. For many companies in asset-heavy industries, that means having a robust CMMS system.

Then, of course, the question becomes should I choose an on-premise CMMS or a cloud-based system? Well, it depends. Particularly now, cloud-based solutions are often touted as “the future” and the only way to go. That said, not all companies will benefit from cloud implementations and the right choice really depends on your goals, security concerns, budget and CMMS needs.

Here, we will explore the benefits of an on-premise system and discuss ideal candidates for an on-prem CMMS.


Today, We’re Living in the Clouds

CMMS systems – like most technology – have evolved from strictly on-premise tools to primarily cloud-based solutions, or hosted services that are accessible over the internet. The move to the cloud has certainly opened the door for many companies, allowing those with low IT bandwidth or multi-site businesses to access a CMMS that is secure, efficient, scalable, agile and cost-effective. For many companies, this makes digital transformation and company-wide modernization a breeze.

General cloud benefits include:

  • Security: Cloud providers are generally very vigilant about staying on top of patches and other security protocols – and these updates are usually automatic, which can be especially important in today’s climate.
  • Scalability: Hardware is expensive and taking it out of the equation can provide a level of scalability and flexibility that on-premise software just cannot match.
  • Connectivity: The cloud is a fairly connectable ecosystem, which means that it will be easy to manipulate and store data across devices and technologies.
  • Lower price: Cloud solutions are usually run on monthly or annual subscriptions, meaning there is substantially less up-front cost.
  • Availability/Reliability: If you have a strong provider, cloud solutions can have a very quick uptime and improved ease-of use.

When it comes to CMMS systems, in particular, cloud-based systems are particularly beneficial for organizations with:

  • Small IT Departments: There is nothing to install or troubleshoot with a cloud system, and your vendor will manage updates, security, configuration, and any ongoing concerns. If you do not have a robust IT department or advanced technological know-how, then, a cloud-based system makes perfect sense.
  • No advanced security concerns: If you do not need custom data security solutions, a cloud-based CMMS will be a good fit.
  • Mobile and remote needs: If you have multiple sites or any remote operations, a cloud-based CMMS can help you ensure uptime, data consistency, and employee efficiency.

Many companies today can check one, if not all, of these boxes. That is why the majority of businesses have at least some cloud components in their infrastructure. In fact, according to a recent survey:

  • 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, up from 81% in 2018.
  • Public cloud adoption increased to 94% in 2019, 92% in 2018, up from 89% in 2017.
  • 59% of enterprises expect cloud usage to exceed prior plans due to COVID-19.

That said, cloud solutions are not the best choice for everyone.


The Benefits of On-Premise Systems

On-premise systems are tools that are physically installed and run on an organization’s computers. Today, these on-premise solutions continue to offer many important benefits, including:

  • Availability/Reliability: If you have a good staff and exceptional hardware, on-premise solutions can be highly available and very reliable.
  • Speed: On-premise solutions generally work with local servers, which means that speed can be well-managed and controlled.
  • Security: On-premise systems give organizations total control over things like security and access, which is important for businesses in high-profile or privileged industries.
  • Controlled Cost: There is a one-time purchasing fee for an on-premise system, which can prevent costs from snowballing over time. That said, most vendors do also have a recurring licensing fee – so you will have a small cost over time.

When it comes to a CMMS in particular, benefits include:


Lower Ongoing Costs

There are definitely higher up-front costs with an on-premise system: your organization has to purchase usage rights upfront, buy the equipment to run the software and install the software itself (or pay a third-party to do so).

That said, there may be lower costs over time since the only thing you have to pay for is a recurring license fee. You do not have to pay a monthly subscription – which can swell with a subscription-based software as your company scales – or pay more according to pricing changes or changes in software licensing. Additionally, you can side-step the administrative hassle of ongoing costs and avoid potential issues with accounts payable.

Check out our CMMS Cost Savings Calculator to find out exactly how much you would save with a CMMS system.


Maximum Control

With an on-premise system, your company is fully responsible for your network configuration, software installation, data protection and ongoing maintenance. This is one of the main drawbacks for many companies with smaller IT departments or low bandwidth.

However, it could be a benefit if you have a large IT infrastructure and want full control over both the security and the use of the software. This is especially true if you want to fully customize your system, as this type of control allows for broader customization capabilities.


Increased Security

If you have confidential data or processes – or if you need to secure your data to meet strict audit and compliance requirements – then an on-premise system will make sense. With an on-premise system:

  • Sensitive data is stored and handled internally
  • You can never be locked out of your system because of a vendor issue
  • You have full control over data and processes


Who Would Benefit from an On-Premise CMMS?

When it comes to the on-premise versus cloud debate, the right choice will depend largely on your business financial, security and technical needs.

Overall, an on-premise CMMS is great for companies with:

  • A robust IT department: If you have the means and the need for complete IT control and customization, an on-premise system may be the right choice.
  • Mission-critical equipment: With an on-premise system, access to maintenance data for mission-critical equipment will never be limited by internet connection or Wi-Fi.
  • Strict compliance requirements: Do you work in an industry with high security needs and strict compliance requirements? Customized security solutions from an on-premise system may help you protect your sensitive data.

Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider these factors when making your decision.

Still unsure about which deployment method is best for your business? Check out our eBook on 2020 Benchmarks and Best Practices for Maintenance Management to make sure that you have all the relevant information you need to select the right CMMS for your business needs.