The world of building management is far more complicated than most people, unfamiliar with the field, would imagine. This is why the rich variety of software solutions now available is a welcome addition to trying to figure things out. However, while the idea that “there’s an app” for that which you can buy to make your work easier is comforting, you are also thrust into a bewildering matrix of software argot when asking a vendor basic questions.
Today, the rampant use of abbreviations in specialty software has become so widespread that you might feel you need a Computer Science degree to decipher what vendors are trying to tell you when you're monitoring a plant or managing a building. In fact, there are now Government agencies at work to protect consumers by reducing the amount of jargon in the software industry.
However, the sticky issue in making a decision about what software to buy is not the flagrant use of trendy acronyms, because after awhile you develop a sufficiently robust lexicon to translate a favored buzzword into plain English. Your real quandary when buying building management software is that while each type of software offers a different approach to your business, they also have overlapping functions, and, as a result, are similar enough to make it difficult to decide which one will suit your needs better. This is the case when trying to decide between CMMS and CAFM. Will you get more value out of using a CMMS system or a CAFM?
In order for these questions to make sense, it’s important to start with some basic definitions. This will then help you decide the best solution for your needs.
What is CMMS?
CMMS is an abbreviation for Computerized Maintenance Management System.
Purpose: This system will help you manage maintenance tasks.
Benefits: You will be able to get completely organized when it comes to figuring out what resources you have available for your engineers and what tasks to allocate to them.
Goal: Your building operations will run smoothly and safely because you will have an excellent idea of maintenance workflow.
Features: The software includes an ordering system, parts and stock systems, and asset registers.
What is CAFM?
CMMS is an abbreviation for Computer Aided Facilities Management.
Purpose: This system will extend the reach of your CMMS application.
Benefits: You will be able to broaden the scope of your operations to include other areas you need information on. In other words, you will now have a wonderfully integrated computerized answer to all your building management challenges.
Goal: You will be able to facilitate all areas of operations by linking to other relevant applications. For instance, you will be able to link to your space management application or to your accounting solutions.
Features: The software offers numerous features. Here is a short list of a few:
- · Reactive Maintenance task management
- · Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) task management
- · Room Booking
- · Resource Scheduling
- · Stock Control
- · Purchase Ordering
- · Health & Safety,
- · Fleet Management
Guidelines in Making a Decision
Obviously, if you don’t have anything in place right now, then you would need to start with CMMS.
However, your dilemma might be deciding whether it is sufficient for your needs and whether you need the added firepower of a CAFM system. In this case, you are faced with a “good enough” decision.
Is the CMMS system you have in place right now good enough for your building management operations or do you need all the additional features provided by a CAFM app?
However, you also need to ask questions about the decision making process itself:
Should you make an emotional decision based on how you feel about your current crop of problems right now? Or should you make a rational decision based on data?
Most good decisions blend these two contrasting way of looking at things. Your feelings are important because they are motivating you to find new solutions, but you also need to gather more data before you can make a clear decision.
Specifically, you have to make a long list of your needs and then review all the features of CAFM and see whether they will fulfill your needs.
You may decide that a CAFM solution is just perfect for what you need right now, or you may decide that it is something that you should get a little later on when your operations become more intense and you need to organize things even more comprehensively.