Computerized Maintenance Management System Overview

At a high level, maintenance teams large and small use a CMMS to easily and efficiently get maintenance work done. But what exactly is CMMS software, how is it used, and what benefits does it provide?  

This guide is here to help you deepen your understanding of:

  • CMMS meaning & definitions of key terms
  • CMMS requirements for a complete CMMS software solution
  • CMMS asset management
  • CMMS information you need to know for successful maintenance management
  • General maintenance management system definitions
  • Computer-based maintenance systems features and benefits

CMMS Definition

A CMMS ― computerized maintenance management system ― helps you plan, monitor, report, and optimize your maintenance activities ― so you can easily track work orders, maintain assets, and schedule maintenance.

CMMS software provides a single source of truth for all facility and maintenance information, all from one centralized, real-time system.

What is a CMMS? Learn More

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How a Robust Computerized Maintenance Management System Helps You

With a CMMS, your organization can more easily:

  • Increase efficiency and agility  
  • Integrate systems for big-picture insight
  • Reduce equipment downtime
  • Budget effectively
  • Prioritize work orders
  • Implement set preventive and predictive maintenance procedures
  • Work in a mobile, multi-site context
  • Gain enterprise-wide visibility and control

Modern CMMS systems can also provide EAM-level functionalities and integrate with other integral tools like space planning, mobile surveying tools, an EAM system and IoT remote monitoring tools.

How a Powerful CMMS Helps Businesses Perform Better Maintenance

When you use a powerful CMMS like Maintenance Connection, you can see great impacts on your maintenance management processes:

“Notifications and reporting help make great decisions on what's important. Accurate and easy-to-understand information helps organize and direct the people that perform the work.” ― Data Analyst Capterra review  

“The advances we have made in scheduling and reporting have taken our daily operations to the next level of performance.” — Director for Facilities & Maintenance Capterra review  

“Seamless SAP integration for asset parts ordering. Asset hierarchy structure for relevant PM reliability concepts. Can easily be configured in so many different ways for future forward asset configuration and auto add PM configuration based on asset class.” — Maintenance Supervisor G2 review  

"Communication within our department is streamlined with work order assignment notifications and the use of the MC mobile app by our technicians. Updates to work orders can be made in real time, so the base office is aware as soon as repairs are completed. We can also directly email contractors their new work orders and allow requesters to view the status of their requests." — CSU Chico  

“A flexible, versatile and highly reliable CMMS … so you can see all levels of the maintenance operation which includes maintenance history, WO status, work history, asset history, purchasing and all other aspects of maintenance.” ― Maintenance Planner Capterra review

Diagram of a CMMS

A diagram showing how a computerized maintenance management system works


Features and Functionalities: What Should I Look For In My CMMS Maintenance Software?

Key Features of CMMS Software:


A modern CMMS system should be easy-to-use and device agnostic on mobile so technicians and key personnel in the field can easily retrieve procedures and documentation, check part availability, initiate orders, evaluate maintenance history, maintain compliance and update work orders.

Easy to Integrate

Your CMMS must integrate with other mission-critical systems so your team can effectively capture, analyze and utilize critical data. This is straightforward using Accruent’s Maintenance Connection RESTful API, which can instantly connect key applications to your CMMS.

User adoption is essential to the success of a CMMS implementation. Easy-to-use, intuitive software is much more likely to be adopted, so look for a CMMS system that is suited to your employees’ processes and responsive to their maintenance activity needs.

System Security

Modern, top-tier CMMS systems come equipped with many features to keep your sensitive information safe, including single sign-on for secure authentication, secure cloud storage and refined access to controls, authorizations and restrictions.

Straightforward Migrations

CMMS implementation will require data migration from disparate, legacy systems. These migrations should be straightforward in your CMMS solution so you can facilitate collaboration and ensure that your data is comprehensive, up-to-date and actionable.

Vendor Support

While a vendor’s CMMS software itself is the most important factor in selection and buying process, the CMMS vendor organization should be equally important. The right CMMS provider will be your partner and offer help with implementation, training, and ongoing support.

Full Work Order Visibility

Effective facility maintenance work requires smooth work order management and field service execution. A robust CMMS facilitates this by allowing users to review, prioritize, assign, schedule and track both work orders and associated maintenance tasks. It will also provide full visibility into work orders, work order history, part history and more.


Many automations should be available in your CMMS, including the ability to schedule maintenance - by setting up time, usage or condition-based maintenance triggers – and automated alerts to technicians including details like repair histories, checklists, asset manuals and more.

Full-Feature Reporting

Using customized CMMS reports and analytics, you should be able to extract meaningful data that you can use to pinpoint preventive maintenance needs, manage KPIs and optimize facility management processes and performance.

Records for Audit Preparedness

Your CMMS maintenance management software should help you maintain employee compliance, keep searchable work records and generate the automated audit logs you need to simplify compliance with regulatory, industry, geographic and other audits.

Top-Rated CMMS Software

Check out the key features that have earned Maintenance Connection top acknowledgements in G2’s Grid Report.

Leader fall recognition Best Support Enterprise Winter 2021 Best Meets Requirements Winter 2021

Trends of Modern CMMS Systems

AI-Powered Capabilities

Many modern CMMS systems are using machine learning and AI developments to expand their predictive maintenance management capabilities. Ultimately, this kind of physical asset insight can help your business increase efficiency, connect systems, improve team management, budget effectively, prioritize work orders, reduce downtime and more – all from one centralized, easy-to-use system.

A Strong Vendor Relationship

A good CMMS provider will want to be your partner, and they will provide help with implementation, training and ongoing support. The right vendor will also help you customize your functionality and user experience so your CMMS fits the unique needs and preferences of your maintenance team.

Cloud-Based CMMS

A cloud-based, SaaS CMMS deployment offers many benefits over an on-premise deployment, including increased mobility, maximized scalability, full integration with other systems, increased security and decreased need for a robust in-house IT infrastructure.

Customized Capabilities

At minimum, a CMMS system should offer reporting, mobile CMMS maintenance capabilities, asset management and MRO inventory management. That said, you must strategically and proactively choose extended features of your implementation to develop a system that works best for your team.

Benefits of a CMMS System

  • Replace Disparate Systems  
  • Simplify Team Management
  • Decrease Maintenance Costs
  • Increase Operational Efficiency
  • Maximize Safety
  • Increase Inventory Accuracy
  • Simplify Work Order Management
  • Improve Asset Reliability

Replace Disparate Systems

A CMMS system can replace outdated disparate systems – like Excel sheets, Word documents and physical paperwork – to help users effectively manage assets, supplies, work orders and related information. This can ultimately increase efficiency and transparency.

Simplify Team Management

Key CMMS features – including key and lock management, mobile access, a browser and device-agnostic user interface, API access, and barcode-enabled workforce tracking – can allow businesses to better manage teams and employees.

Decrease Maintenance Costs

Emergency repairs, incomplete asset information, and reactive maintenance practices can skyrocket facility maintenance costs. A robust CMMS can significantly reduce these costs by streamlining key maintenance task processes, including work order management, MRO (maintenance, repair, and operating supply) inventory management and more.

Increase Operational Efficiency

By reducing concerns like unavailable inventory, unexpected downtime or emergency breakdowns, a CMMS can ultimately help increase operational efficiency, maximize uptime and answer questions related to service history, vendor track record and more.

Consolidate Data

You can use a CMMS to get accurate historical and real-time data about any work request, billing and invoicing, reporting and analytics, inventory and asset management information and service history. This information can also be consolidated in customizable reports to facilitate informed decision-making.

Maximize Safety

A robust CMMS can maximize employee safety by simplifying audits, making safety procedures more accessible and allowing your maintenance manager to easily stay on top of safety training.

Increase Inventory Accuracy

MRO inventory involves the order, use, and tracking of thousands of spare parts. A CMMS simplifies MRO management and improves inventory accuracy by automating purchases, tracking part information and measuring big-picture metrics like inventory costs and usage statistics.

Simplify Work Order Management

Maintenance Connection CMMS work order management system can help you submit, manage and track work orders so you can streamline your workflows, simplify your work order management, prepare for audits, decrease equipment downtime and ultimately increase your preventive maintenance practices.

Improve Asset Reliability

Low visibility into key asset information like usage, repair history, and performance can lead to inefficiency and costly reactive maintenance practices. CMMS software can solve these problems by providing all relevant asset data in one integrated, easy-to-access platform.

Watch CMMS Preventive Maintenance Demo

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By the Numbers: How Can a CMMS Improve Your ROI?

Most companies get CMMS implementation and maintenance practices wrong, using reactive maintenance strategies or choosing a CMMS product that isn’t suited to meet their unique needs. This can cost them big time:

CMMS Statistics

0 %
of all CMMS Implementations Fail
0 %
Implementation Success Rate with Maintenance Connection
0 %
Project Success Rate Service Satisfaction Customer Renewal Rate

The right CMMS can maximize your ROI by allowing your business to increase efficiency, connect systems, reduce downtime, make data-driven decisions, budget effectively, prioritize work orders and more – all from one customizable, centralized solution. This can ultimately help you save time, save money and get organized.  

What’s the Difference Between a CMMS and EAM?

CMMS and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems were once considered to be vastly different tools. Now, thanks in part to Wi-Fi, the fourth Industrial Revolution and rising IoT capabilities, many modern CMMS systems can offer enterprise-wide solutions and EAM-type functionality. What’s more, they can easily merge with other providers to strengthen their offerings.

That said, there can still be differentiation between the tools:  

CMMS: Computerized maintenance management systems can be considered as dedicated tools created to facilitate asset maintenance management and extend equipment life. They are not made to provide extended functionality beyond that scope.  

EAM: Enterprise asset management (EAM) software provides a wider range of features to track, manage, and analyze asset performance and costs through the whole asset lifecycle, from acquisition to disposal.

Accruent’s Maintenance Connection solution can serve as both a CMMS software or a full-function EAM system.


Try Our CMMS Cost Savings Calculator

A free and helpful tool for estimating the financial impact that CMMS software can make within your department.

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What Industries Should Use a CMMS?

Industries that can benefit from a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or enteprise asset management system (EAM) include:

Frequently Asked CMMS Software Questions (FAQ)

Why is CMMS Important?

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) solutions are used by organizations looking for effective asset and facility maintenance management. Users can be found in many industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, oil & gas, utilities, education, and corporate. A CMMS can help with five use cases across these industries, including linear asset maintenance, facility maintenance, production and manufacturing maintenance, field services maintenance, and fleet maintenance. It is most helpful for those who have struggled with common asset and facility maintenance concerns, including unplanned asset downtime, costly reactive maintenance practices, difficulty scheduling preventive maintenance, low visibility into asset health, and little transparency into big-picture historical and real-time data.

What is a CMMS administrator?

A dedicated Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) administrator oversees the implementation and maintenance of a CMMS solution. A CMMS is a complicated tool that requires data development and management, metrics management, ongoing compliance, consistent upgrades, development and management of reports, employee training and more. If these tasks are left to existing employees, it can lead to inconsistent data, a loss of system integrity, and a return to reactive maintenance practices. Having a CMMS administrator, on the other hand, helps organizations make the most of a CMMS, increasing employee adoption and making data more transparent.

How much does CMMS software cost?

The cost of a CMMS software can vary based on the size of your business and the breadth of features that you’re looking for— and you can always get an accurate quote by reaching out directly. That said, general pricing includes:  

  • Implementation cost, though there is no up-front cost with a cloud deployment.  
  • Licensing/subscription costs.  
  • Maintenance costs, which are included as part of the Maintenance Connection annual support agreement.  
  • Customization costs based on functional requirements and add-ons.  


If you choose the right CMMS, though, the savings and ROI that are attained from increased productivity and overall cost savings will certainly make it a worthwhile investment.

Recurring and renewal costs, which include the monthly subscription fee, pricing plan, customization cost and training services.  

What is CMMS software training?

CMMS training refers to both immediate and ongoing training services offered by your CMMS vendor. Comprehensive training is absolutely necessary to streamline implementation and to ensure that your team makes the most out of your CMMS tool. The right partner will offer a range of training materials, including training videos and modules, articles, demos and free trials.

At Accruent, this kind of training is included in the Accruent Academy Learning Center. The Accruent Academy continuous training resources are there to help your team drive adoption, maximize ROI and meet compliance regulations.

What systems can a CMMS replace?

A CMMS software can replace many antiquated or manual business systems, including but not limited to:  

  • Excel spreadsheets  
  • Emails  
  • Phone records
  • Pen and paper documents  
  • Stand-alone technology  
  • Asset documentation, including video and images like repair manuals, warranties and safety information  
  • Manual work orders

Why is uptime so important?

Uptime is critically important when it comes to facility and asset maintenance because high uptime means effective operations, maximized efficiency and substantial revenue. An effective CMMS or EAM system, otherwise known as a preventive management system, can increase uptime by providing the tools you need to implement effective preventive maintenance strategies. This can not only help you achieve reliable uptime, but also allow you to:  

  • Effectively fill orders.
  • Maximize your revenue.  
  • Meet customer expectations.  
  • Extend your asset lifecycle.
  • Increase employee satisfaction.


What are the most important considerations when selecting a CMMS?

When selecting a CMMS software for your organization, it’s important to consider your business’ unique needs related to functionality, IT capabilities and your broader technological ecosystems. Most centrally, you should consider:  

  • Adoption and your company culture: For a CMMS to work, you team members must use it consistently and properly. This is often a challenge in the face of stagnant company culture, legacy systems and the “old way” of doing things. Combat this challenge by choosing a CMMS with features and a user interface that your team members want to use and by implementing ongoing training.
  • Your organization’s processes: If you don’t standardize your preventive maintenance processes and policies, you are unlikely to have a successful software implementation. Be sure that roles, expectations and processes for work orders, approvals and other processes are clear and standardized to avoid this concern.
  • Financial constraints: There are many costs associated with preventive maintenance software implementation, including the cost of implementation itself and any associated upgrades, personnel or expertise. Consider your budget and your total spending capabilities to be sure that you implement a software that’s within your means.
  • Your data sources and integrity: For your CMMS to work, all the data within it must be accurate and fully integrated. Be sure you have the processes, integrations and training to make this possible.

What should I know about the push to SaaS?

The push to SaaS is happening, with many CMMS and EAM solutions being deployes on the cloud as software as a service (SaaS). There are many benefits to a SaaS deployment that you should know about. Namely, a move to the cloud, or to a SaaS application, can:  

  • Eliminate upgrades.
  • Decrease up-front costs.
  • Increase system accessibility.  
  • Improve user adoption.  
  • Create a shared community experience.  


Additionally, it can help your organization stay relevant and prepared for the future. The future is in SaaS, and organizations that continue to rely on on-premise systems will struggle to maintain strong communications, data integrity and clarity across their team members and facilities.