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by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: December 2, 2016


In 2008, 88 percent of those who called Software Advice preferred an on-premise solution. As of 2014, 87 percent want a cloud solution.

These systems offer access with nearly any internet-enabled device, which has incredible time- and cost-saving implications for maintenance professionals.

This guide will help you understand what a web-based CMMS is, what it can do and how it can streamline maintenance management.

What is a Web-Based CMMS?
Common Functionality of a Web-Based CMMS
Computerized Maintenance Management Systems BuyerView 2014
Should You Choose a Web-Based or an On-Premise CMMS?

What is a Web-Based CMMS?

Web-based software, or cloud-based software, refers to a system that is installed on a vendor’s server and offered to the end user most often through an internet browser. This typically results in:

  • A cheaper system—Because you can simply access the system through a web browser with a laptop or mobile device, there is no need to pay an IT team to install hardware or software. Additionally, most cloud-based payment models don’t require a large upfront cost.
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  • A quicker installation—A web-based CMMS vendor can send you a code for near-immediate access to the system. No physical installation or configuration required.
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  • Non-disruptive updates—Since the system isn’t locally stored on your servers, the vendor can implement software updates overnight without halting your operations.
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  • Higher data security—If your company’s facilities experience a flood, fire or other disaster, your data remains safe in the cloud. Also, vendor servers are monitored and maintained around the clock, so if the data becomes unavailable, you don’t have to wait until your IT professional gets back to the office.

Below, we’ll cover the common capabilities of a web-based system and help you decide if it’s a right fit for your company.

Common Functionality of a Web-based CMMS

Aside from the advantages of web-based software during implementation, it can simplify and streamline a maintenance manager’s daily tasks.

Save time with added mobility A college campus, multiple government offices, a large manufacturing plant—maintaining these large areas requires a great deal of walking from office to jobsite and back. Most web-based CMMS vendors offer a mobile version, so that technicians can be assigned work based on their location and notified in the field. This greatly reduces travel time between the jobsite and office because the system is always with you.
Easily populate asset profiles Because you can use the system anywhere, it’s simple to add details to an asset profile. A technician can enter the location and condition of an asset, as well as photos using a smartphone camera, without having to travel back to an office computer.
Improved communication with technicians Traditionally, a technician will print out a work order form and head to the work location. Should something about the task change, a manager can easily locate and notify a worker or leave a note in the system to perform the job correctly.
Decreased risk of losing work orders Ditch the paper altogether. Maintenance workers can view all of their work orders on a tablet or smartphone.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems BuyerView 2014

Our software advisors speak with thousands of maintenance professionals each year who need a CMMS for their company. This helps us identify the needs of software buyers in maintenance.

In our 2014 BuyerView, we found that almost three-quarters (71 percent) of CMMS seekers didn’t state a preference for on-premise or cloud-based software. Meanwhile, the other 29 percent were split on their deployment preference.

These buyers do, however, know the applications and functionality they need. This shows that many maintenance professionals don’t have the information needed to determine the deployment method that meets their requirements.

Below, we offer some help to make that decision.

Should You Choose a Web-Based or an On-Premise CMMS?

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) give companies and organizations tools to extend the lifespan of assets—such as machinery, equipment or fleets of vehicles—by managing maintenance, costs and scheduling associated with the work.

Like most other business software systems, many CMMS vendors offer Web-based or “cloud” options, on-premise options (i.e., hosted at your facility) or both. The common capabilities of a CMMS remain generally the same either way, but there are advantages and drawbacks for each deployment model.

When you buy an on-premise system, the software is installed and operated on your (the user’s) computers and hardware. This typically provides more control and customization of the system, but comes at a higher upfront cost. Initial license fees are higher (though you only pay them once), and you have to cover hardware and implementation costs. Maintaining software on premises also requires ongoing resources, such as employing IT staff and paying annual support fees to the software vendor.

Bigfoot CMMS
Asset Lifecycle Analysis as seen in the Bigfoot CMMS on-premise version

 

Meanwhile, online maintenance management software is hosted at a software vendor’s data center and made accessible through a Web browser. You typically pay a “subscription” fee (monthly or annually) to use the software. As a result, the initial costs are lower and you don’t have to staff a team of IT employees to take care of upgrades and maintenance.

Maint. Connection CMMS
The Web-based version of Maintenance Connection’s CMMS Module Menu as displayed on a browser

 

When choosing between the two options, we suggest considering the following:

What’s the total cost of ownership? As we noted, Web-based systems have lower upfront costs when compared to on-premise systems. However, over time, those recurring expenses will add up and eventually cost more than the total cost of an on-premise system. Over the long term, an on-premise system may be more cost effective. You should use our total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator to get a better understanding of costs.

Do you need mobile support? Web-based CMMS products can easily be accessed through a mobile device—such as a tablet or smartphone. Some vendors may even provide native applications that are optimized for specific devices, like the iPhone or iPad. On-premise systems can be set up to provide the same kind of remote access, though it may be more difficult to implement depending on the system, your setup and your team’s (or consultant’s team) experience.

Can you dedicate IT resources to manage the system? Again, on-premise systems will require you to maintain the software yourself. This typically means you’ll have more flexibility to customize it as needed. But, it also means you’ll need to dedicate IT staff to resolving any software issues (with support from the vendor), keeping it up to date etc. Web-based vendors manage this for you.

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