The Growth of Small Business CMMS
Pioneered by consumer demand and enabled through the agility of modern software, the benefits of the newest wave of CMMS are for everyone. And what’s more, they’re affordable, flexible, and more robust than ever before. Look for the rise of the small business CMMS to rule in the coming years.
CMMS has traditionally been a big business solution, designed to take advantage of economies of scale by automating and organizing large and complex maintenance operations. The functions of modern CMMS’s extend beyond basic maintenance management to inventory and parts management, intelligent reporting on assets and performance history. The current business climate has management and CIO’s (as opposed to the actual users) making the final call on software purchases. This, in turn, means richness of features is the deciding factor – not usability. Adding features means more development and more training, which significantly raises the cost of both the software license and deployment.
But does this complex, feature rich environment exclude small business CMMS solutions from being employed effectively? The answer is a conditional ‘yes.’ Automation of maintenance is still of great benefit to SME’s, but most CMMS packages are not designed to meet the specific needs of the small business CMMS market.
Important considerations for a small business CMMS
The common thread for the following points relate to the smaller pool or resources SME’s have at their disposal: less budget for licensing and tech support, less time or money for training, and a smaller or non-existent IT department to get the system up and running.
A typical CMMS deployment involves a myriad of technical complications like: network and database configuration, database recovery processes, configuring of server hardware, and managing different user licenses. These usually require professional IT help, either in house or as an ongoing consultancy. This is the first and possibly the largest barrier to a small business CMMS being implemented. Mitigating these factors with an easy to deploy software package avoids the early pain points that hamper user adoption and general organizational buy-in.
Ease of Use
The need for an intuitive user interface ranks high no matter what the size of the organization. In a recent survey of over 700 companies using CMMS’s, user friendly software and ease of software use ranked as first and second most critical features for a successful implementation[i]. However, this rings particularly true for SME’s, who do not have less time and tech budget to train users on a complicated interface with extraneous features.
IT Maintenance/Tech Support
SME’s are not going to have a large IT team or budget, and virtually any CMMS deployment is going to run into some technical difficulties. In house staff cannot be relied on as much as in larger organizations, so vendor provided tech support is heavily leaned on. It is worth noting that software packages that include Cloud Setup circumvent this problem nicely, making it an attractive choice for SME’s.
While large organizations can afford to throw money after a tech deployment, small companies often cannot. The monetary cost of personnel, software licenses and tech support is a significant concern that brings more affordable CMMS’s into the foreground.
Fiix for Small Business
Keeping our software accessible and easy to use is one of our most fundamental design considerations. This is reflected in our large and growing user base, which contains a high proportion of SME’s, including: schools, condominiums, hospitals, commercial farms and many, many others. We’ve kept our price low and software accessible to encourage SME’s to give us a try. Check it out here.
“The American Association of Maintenance Engineers (AAME) staff has found Fiix to be the BEST in its class (systems $5,000.00 or less). It is the only CMMS we recommend to small/medium business and local governments.”
– Ken White, Executive Director (American Association of Maintenance Engineers)
[i] Source: Reliabilityweb.com CMMS Best Practices Report 2011.