February 17, 2022
CMMS Software Trends
"The future will be determined in part by happenings that it is impossible to foresee; it will also be influenced by trends that are now existent and observable."- E. G. Balch
Trends. They come and go and change on an irregular regular basis. Some return for short-lived reprises, while others experience slight tweaks to be minutely different than what was.
Businesses are constantly on the lookout for trends to stay current, to stay ahead of the competition, to explore new markets, and some look for opportunities to set new trends. It's not an easy task. For instance, it has been said that if an author wants to jump into a current popular genre trend, he's too late to write and publish the book.
Trends are all around us. Clothing, hair styles, diets, movies, auto styles, electronic gadgets…and what's here today changes by tomorrow.
A CMMS is no different. It has evolved to meet the needs of businesses because they, too, change. Technology evolves so fast, and a CMMS must strive to stay in the game. However, it also must not lose sight of the basics, but always improve. Some things don't 'trend' per se but become more important as trends come and go.
This discussion will focus on eight areas of a CMMS that either are emerging as trends—whether at a slow pace or gaining steam—or have become more important for a CMMS company to remain vigilant about as well as improve upon.
1. Increased Usage
More companies are seeing the benefits of a CMMS. However, even with the variety of existing systems, many organizations still aren't using one. They still rely on spreadsheets, paper notes, or obsolete programs. One of the keys for a CMMS company to promote their service/product is to market better to reach those businesses to show the benefits of a quality CMMS. They must show how not only large facilities utilize it for assets, inventory, maintenance, and purchasing, but how smaller companies can also benefit. Libraries, churches, apartment complexes, and schools. And not just for tracking and organizing the assets, etc., but for human resources, cost reports, bar coding, and tracking of vendors.
2. Into the cloud
It's all about access. Users want the ability to connect with a CMMS beyond their office. More CMMS companies are showing the benefit of the 'cloud' as part of the package. Businesses are better assured the information is secure and accessible.
3. Automated Interface
Close on the heels of the above is something that is one step up the ladder of artificial intelligence—the ability for machines to monitor themselves. Some systems already exist, and more are coming. A CMMS needs to be able to integrate with these self-governing pieces of equipment, so the human factor stays involved.
4. Adding Value
While major leaps in CMMS versions are always nice to see, adding features every so often keeps the value of the existing product viable.
A CMMS company needs to stay in contact with its customers to see how they are trending. What changes have their industry seen? Can the current CMMS meet the new needs? A CMMS should look at features that could be used by several industries. On the other hand, is it willing to work with an individual customer to provide a unique feature?
Along with this is the need to keep the CMMS scalable. The smaller businesses mentioned before will have different uses than large grain elevators or utility companies, but the CMMS has to be able to adapt if the business/organization grows.
5. Mobile Usage
If you're not mobile, you're way behind. Applications and software adaptable for phones and tablets are really not 'trending' unless you consider this a long-term trend that likely won't see an end. The task of the CMMS is to become more mobile friendly, allowing more access to features and functions.
6. Foreign Language
With the expansion of more business on foreign shores, a CMMS compatible with the local language can only benefit everyone.
7. Better ease of usage, but better training
Sometimes, there is a tendency for 'new and improved' to mean more complex and complicated. Be aware of what's worked in the past and improve on it. There is no need for a complete redesign in many products or even software. With a CMMS, it needs to remain user friendly, logically arranged, and easy to navigate.
For new customers, training always needs to be up to par. Existing customers appreciate refresher seminars, training on new features, or a new way to utilize the CMMS.
This important aspect of business should never be a 'trend.' It should always be ever-present. Unfortunately, many businesses have become apathetic to customers. What with the implementation of automated operators, the 'human' side of business has waned. Even when a real person is reached, often there are further difficulties in getting an issue resolved.
The number one reason people go somewhere else is because a business doesn't provide quality customer service either A) Up front, helping before the sale and/or B) Fails in the service after the sale.
A. Potential customers take the time to contact a business about a product/service and expect communication, even if the return message is that the company is unable to fulfill the person's needs. This could be because of a time element (the person needs X immediately) or the product/service offered doesn't really fit the customer's needs. Either way, that business should communicate. No communication means the business truly doesn't care about the new customer.
B. If a product or service is purchased and there's no follow-up when an issue arises, the product/service and the company lose value. Continued non-support will only result in the person ceasing using the company and going somewhere else.
In both cases, it's not just the person buying from a competitor that gets hurt, but the all-important word-of-mouth. A friend desires something similar and asks for a recommendation. What is the person's response? In all likelihood, he will advise the friend to avoid the company that didn't reply to an initial inquiry or didn't later help.
With a CMMS, this support after the sale is vital. If the CMMS company puts out new versions and features, keeping up with trends, there are bound to be issues and questions. Existing customers may have issues that pop up and support needs to be available.
Again, support shouldn't be a 'trend.' It must be an always-should-have-been and will-always-continue-to-be.
While some trends don't last long, others are worth the effort to accept. When your business is looking at purchasing a CMMS or reviewing its current system, an important investigation is whether it is keeping up with software and business trends, specifically within your industry.
Consider Mapcon Technologies. Mapcon / 800-922-4336