When purchasing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), most people only consider the initial costs. However, to effectively create a budget for the solution, and gain critical buy-ins from senior management and end-users, you need to look at both initial costs, long-term costs and return on investment benefits.

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Here’s a useful list of common CMMS expenses you can prepare for before settling on a vendor:


Upfront Costs

1. Software Licenses

Depending on whether the CMMS is an on-premise solution or a cloud-based system, the software license can either be a one-time fee or a monthly subscription.

If working with a monthly subscription, be sure to ask the right questions to know what the license fee includes (e.g. tech support, software updates, etc.), how many users are covered and if discounts are available.


2. Setup Costs

Common setup costs during CMMS implementation include costs for training and data migration.

If you’re purchasing a CMMS that requires additional hardware to run, such as sensors or meters, the vendor may include a fee for bringing in a consultant to look over your facility.


3. Additional Hardware & Software

Some maintenance software, especially on-premise or reliability-centered solutions, require you to purchase additional technology to capture and store data. This can include hardware like sensors, monitors and servers.

You may also have to purchase third-party applications to run the CMMS’s operations, unless already provided by the vendor in the licensing fee.


4. User Training

No matter if it’s your first or fifth time working with a CMMS, the solution is only as good as the employees using it. The value of user training during implementation is twofold:

  1. Users will learn how to leverage the CMMS features effectively
  2. Training will show how the CMMS will improve operations, which can bring more users onboard with the system change

User training costs are commonly included in the system’s setup costs. However, some vendors consider this a separate service.

When evaluating your top CMMS choices, be sure to ask about how they conduct administrator and end-user training, what resources are available and for how long, and what charges are associated with training.


Costs Beyond Implementation

The initial costs will most likely take you through the CMMS implementation process. But initial costs aren’t everything.

In fact, 80% to 90% of implementations fail due to a lack of user adoption and not planning for post deployment costs.

After the CMMS is up and running, you’ll have to maintain the solution and all its associated technology, as well as your end-users’ CMMS knowledge to keep operations running smoothly.

Listed below are five long-term costs you must start preparing for ahead of time.


1. License Renewals

Whether you have an annual fee or a monthly subscription, you eventually have to renew your CMMS software license, resulting in a renewal fee.

Before purchasing a maintenance solution, be sure to have an idea of how much the renewal fee will be and if any discounts are available. This will help you create a better budget down the line.


2. System Upgrades

Today, many CMMS vendors include system upgrades in their support fees or monthly subscription. However, some solutions, typically on-premise CMMSs, require you to purchase upgrades separately.

Prior to signing on the dotted line, ask the CMMS vendor how software updates are handled, how often updates occur and what fees will be charged.


3. Support Costs

All vendors provide two types of support: customer and tech support. But not all make you pay separately for support services.

It’s important to know how the vendor will handle general customer questions and service updates, as well as support for both urgent and non-urgent matters. Also be sure to ask if support fees are included in the software costs.


4. Ongoing Training

To keep your operations running as smoothly as possible, it’s important to keep your maintenance team informed about your CMMS’s features and functionality.

Some CMMS vendors offer optional ongoing or refresher training in addition to any resources provided. This is a simple way to keep your maintenance technicians on top of new features and best practices while keeping them engaged with the system and its upgrades. However, ongoing training often isn’t free.

If you choose to have your CMMS users participate in ongoing training sessions, know what the fees are and how long sessions are ahead of time for planning purposes.


5. Additional Hardware & Software Maintenance

If you purchased additional hardware and software to implement the CMMS, you’ll have to do routine maintenance on it as well.

When buying additional equipment, ask the supplier how long the typical lifespan is, what warranties are available, and how much simple repairs or upgrades run. This way, you can start to create a potential budget for maintenance.


The Impact

If you don’t plan for all potential expenses when purchasing a CMMS, it can feel like the costs will never stop adding up.

When you have an idea of the initial and long-term costs ahead of time, you can easily create your maintenance budget, and better predict and calculate the return on investment (ROI) for the CMMS project, which may potentially gain senior management’s buy-in.

Author Bio: Elizabeth is an editor with Better Buys, a trusted source of maintenance software news and research. Follow her at @ElizMazenko for more on enterprise software and related technology research.