March 9, 2023


CMMS vs. EAM Software: What’s the Difference Anyway?

CMMS vs. EAM Software: What’s the Difference Anyway?

At first glance, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) performs the same role as an enterprise asset management (EAM) tool. However, there are several differences between the two. Deciding whether your organization needs one, both–or something else entirely–is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. Here we explore CMMS vs. EAM to help you choose the best solution for your company.

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Ultimately, you’ll achieve the best results when your company selects the right solution for its current and future needs. These include your company’s level of maturity and budget and the volume of assets you manage.

There’s no right or wrong answer. However, it’s essential you understand when evaluating the array of EAM and CMMS tools on the market. 

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CMMS vs. EAM Software: Key Differences

Sometimes, CMMS are thought to be a stepping stone to EAM. They offer perfectly adequate functionality and an overview of your company’s maintenance management requirements. However, enterprise asset management software integrates a wide range of other business processes with asset use and maintenance. (So does a CMMS like MaintainX with robust integration functionality. You’ll read more about this in a minute.)

For mid-sized organizations or those just getting started on their journey, a CMMS is an ideal tool to get greater visibility into how you use and maintain your assets. A CMMS focuses mainly on breakdown, planned, and preventive maintenance scheduling; work order management; and several other aspects of using, fixing, and optimizing physical assets. 

For many businesses, this provides a satisfactory management system. And in some cases, modern CMMS software can offer many features that overlap with enterprise asset management systems. However, if you need to track hundreds of assets from the procurement stage and incorporate complex HR and accounting functions, an EAM may be your best choice. 

Below we take a closer look at the strengths of both CMMS software and EAM systems. We offer some discussion points for businesses evaluating these types of software. 

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Finding the Right Software: EAM vs. CMMS

EAM Software Snapshot

What Is EAM?

Enterprise Asset Management software collects, houses, and analyzes data from the early asset procurement stages right through to end-of-life disposal. Instead of running EAM solutions in isolation, organizations generally opt for cloud-based EAM software that integrates with an ERP system to give richer insights. 

EAM apps help large organizations manage all stages of the asset lifecycle, including buying new equipment, monitoring current asset activity and useful life as they age, and decommissioning expired, obsolete, and unusable assets. 

Who Uses EAM?

Procurement departments, asset managers, and financial teams most frequently used EAM software.

Pros of EAM

Like robust CMMS, EAM software:

  • Helps organizations understand the total cost of ownership of each of their assets
  • Integrates with many other business functions, including accounting/finance and HR 
  • Gives detailed and accurate lifecycle cost data to inform future procurement of physical assets
  • Has multi-site support for asset tracking across many locations

Cons of EAM

Some of the downsides of using EAM software:

  • Can be costly and require additional human resources to set up integrations and provide ongoing support
  • Typically requires cross-department buy-in to implement what can be a drawn-out process
  • May be unnecessarily complex for small to mid-tier companies

When Is an EAM the Best Choice?

EAM software is best suited for large, asset-intensive organizations responsible for monitoring hundreds—maybe thousands—of pieces of equipment across multiple facilities. 

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CMMS Software Snapshot

What Is a CMMS System? 

A Computerized Maintenance Management System is a centralized digital platform focused on your company’s maintenance operations. 

Less concerned with procurement and disposal, CMMS can do the heavy lifting for your maintenance crews and managers who are busy operating, repairing, and fixing your assets.

Like with EAM, you can integrate your CMMS software with many other SaaS solutions and ERP systems (like Microsoft Dynamics or SAP). These integrations help provide the missing link between office-based teams looking after ordering spare parts and maintenance departments on the factory floor or in the field. 

A robust CMMS like MaintainX provides a real-time holistic view across your business. From asset uptime and downtime to planned predictive maintenance, standard operating procedures, and on-the-spot inventory data, the right CMMS will help streamline the range of your maintenance activities.

Who Uses CMMS?

Technicians, maintenance teams, plant managers, and business owners most commonly use CMMS.

Pros of CMMS

CMMS software:

  • Allows you to create, assign, monitor, and complete work orders all in one place
  • Provides accurate compliance tracking via digital sign-off on completed asset maintenance tasks
  • Enables both high-level and granular MRO inventory management 
  • Provides excellent communication ability for maintenance operations crews, encouraging strong user adoption (MaintainX is the only CMMS with in-app chat functionality!)
  • Is simple to use for all levels of the organization (again, check out MaintainX’s G2 Awards)

Cons of CMMS

Some of the downsides of using a CMMS:

  • May lack additional features—such as high-level accounting and HR features) to suit future organizational needs  
  • More basic multi-site management capabilities than with EAM
  • Cost tracking does not extend to early design/procurement stages or decommissioning 

When Is a CMMS the Best Choice?

A CMMS like MaintianX is ideal for businesses that want to switch from paper-based maintenance management (or siloed digital systems like spreadsheets) to a more transparent, streamlined, and efficient manufacturing and maintenance tool. 

MaintainX CMMS

Which Maintenance Management Software Is Best for Your Business? 

When considering which option is right for you, it’s a good idea to research which software system is best for your operation. 

Take advantage of free subscriptions, join webinars, read up on case studies from different providers, and of course, take into account the requirements of each area of your business–from maintenance personnel to machine operators to supervisors. While both help automate workflows and encourage improved asset performance, the right software solution will meet your organization’s future needs. If you’d like to see if MaintainX is right for you, book a live tour to see how it works. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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