Should the Industry Change the Term CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System)?


Mike Snyder

Facilities management undergoes constant change and innovation. Everything including work order organization, asset and warranty management, technology interfacing and even the very labor force itself is rapidly evolving. In such a fast-paced industry it’s imperative that professionals reach for the most optimal tools.

In a recent survey conducted by Connex, the leading retail and multi-site Facilities Management Network, 83% of respondents said it is time to change what we call a CMMS. CEOs across the industry agree that term is antiquated and does not communicate what today’s technology systems truly do. Is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), which first appeared in 1965, the best title for a tool that aids us in so much more than automated maintenance management?

Focus on the Future

Facility professionals have largely flocked to CMMS because of its automation. The term emphasizes technology. Today, the emphasis is on people and serving their needs. We’re surrounded by computers – our cars, phones, gadgets, kitchen appliances all have computers in them. Saying something is “computerized” sounds dated. Still, these systems are the hub for operators, dispatchers, techs and all levels of maintenance support. However, it is more than just keeping a well-oiled machine humming. It is more than submitting work orders and relying on technology to automate the next steps. These systems help us improve communication and relationships between teams and vendors. They empower our teams to work more efficiently and offer visibility and transparency into the business. Their use cases ripple into all areas of the business, taking maintenance management to the next level.

Artificial Intelligence or AI and its predictive abilities are around the corner. Augmented reality certainly has a role in the future of facility management. Imagine designing, servicing and managing spaces without being physically present. To prepare for the future, we need the right resources, the right people at the helm and a more accurate term for these systems.

Time to Redefine

The term CMMS once hit us as cutting-edge but has since dulled. It’s time for the industry to redefine it. We need a term that encompasses asset management, invoice tracking, project management, business intelligence reporting and analytics, equipment history, and more. We demand so much more from our systems than work order organization and maintenance management.

CMMS technology is steadfast, but the terminology is dated. We have grown out of the term like a pair of old work boots. The technology is poised to tackle new jobs. Whether it is called LCAM (Life Cycle Asset Management), EAM (enterprise asset management), APM (asset performance management), IWMS (integrated workplace management system), IFMS (integrated facility management system), FISH (facilities integrated service hub) or any other combination of the alphabet, a CMMS by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Source: ConnexFM

Mike Snyder is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ecotrak.