Questions to ask CMMS software vendors

Supplier: Mainpac
15 January, 2013

Purchasing a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) for your business is an important investment.

Besides your employees, your company's data is probably one of your most prized assets, so it needs to be protected and managed wisely.

Even though understanding the software features and services should be a priority when selecting maintenance management software, it's also important to ask your vendor the big questions regarding the company itself. Concentrate on some of the following questions when choosing a software supplier to ensure you are buying from a dependable company.

Is the vendor from a well-established company?

Many new businesses fail within the first five years, and CMMS software companies are no different. If you are on a hosted plan and your vendor's business fails, you may end up with missing data or data that is difficult to recover. If your CMMS provider has a long tenure (15 years old or more), then this strongly indicates they have been offering good products and can be relied upon.

Is their product flexible?

Given how fast technology changes these days, it is necessary for businesses to constantly update their hardware and computerised business processes. The CMMS provider you choose should be on the forefront of these changes, with a product that is flexible enough to withstand future conversions and technological advancements. Make sure the vendor can describe the ways in which they are staying current and preparing for future trends.

How much help will you get in the initial stages?

Ask the vendor whether or not their company provides resources for a complete installation of the software. You will want someone who can work with you to identify goals, design an implementation plan, and assist you in carrying the plan out properly. Will they help identify your facility data, organise the data efficiently, and build your maintenance database?

Does the company offer training?

CMMS software can be complex, and using it can become especially difficult if you don't have staff with the right expertise. That's why it's important to find out what kind of training the vendor can offer. You don't just want the software; you also want the knowledge to use it, so only do business with a provider that offers remote online training, on-site training and pre-scheduled classes.

How much support will you get from them?

It is more than likely that you will eventually need to turn to someone for support, so only choose a company that has a responsive and knowledgeable support department. Find out about the cost of the support and how you can contact them if need be.

Will they provide free upgrades?

Always make sure to ask about a company's upgrade policy before signing on the dotted line. Any respectable software company will be constantly improving their software features and functions, and then giving you access to the improved versions. Since there will constantly be new versions, you don't want to get stuck with a provider that will charge you for every single one.

As you can see, there are plenty of questions you should ask a CMMS vendor, and that's before you get to the details of the software itself. Always do your due diligence when it comes to choosing a company to work with because it could mean the difference between the success and failure of your management system.