Field Service Management

6 CMMS Trends Vendors Are Pioneering For 2017

Published by in Field Service Management

The Christmas decorations are down, the dumpsters are full of novelty 2017 glasses and disposable tooty horn things, and Cupid is preparing to rain a shower of deadly romantic commercialism on an unsuspecting public.


Yes, New Year’s here, and it’s time to check out the six computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) trends vendors are pioneering for 2017. These six trends will shape maintenance and reliability in the coming year.

The best part? Use these trends right, and you could save a lot of money. Think of it as the CMMS version of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day.

1. Mobility

Agile business strategy is more than figurative in the world of maintenance and reliability. Service technicians move around their facility, or facilities, at whatever speed is necessary to put out fires, usually a speed close to the fire’s itself. Workers who are so consistently on the move need technology to match their stride.

How much can a good mobile app help?

It can make your technicians as much as 15-25% more productive, for one.

When your technicians can do everything from get work orders in the field, to knowing the work order’s history (is the asset finicky? A frequent flier on the fix-it list?), productivity becomes .

A mobile app can also make a technician’s tablet into a borderline mobile office. When you can access necessary information in the cloud over your mobile app, there’s no need to return to the office. A good mobile app may not erase trips back and forth, but it can certainly cut them down.

A CMMS solution with a mobile app can also cut data entry costs. Rather than hauling completed work orders back to the main office, where they’ll collect dust in an inbox, technicians can simply click “done” on their phone after finishing a job. For example, one company estimated they saved $5,000-$7,000 on data entry. A further benefit? There’s no issue of losing a finished work order when it’s entered electronically through a mobile device.

2. Industrial Internet of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a catch-all phrase for internet-connected manufacturing machinery. The machines are equipped sensors that provide performance information to the CMMS. IIoT’s also been a big trend for several years.

Why are people talking about the IIoT? It can be an enormous source of value:

— The IoT could generate a huge amount of money for the world’s economy in the coming years: estimates run from $11 trillion to $14.2 trillion.

— The top benefit of the IIoT was increased revenue, according to respondents in a study put out by Digital Analytics Association e.V. Germany.

— GE’s use of the IIoT, for example, increased their revenues by $5 billion dollars.

— The second biggest IIoT benefit mentioned in the German study was customer satisfaction.

The IIoT can help prevent downtime by providing real-time insights.

Ryan Chan, CEO of Upkeep Maintenance Management, says his company’s partnered with IoT specialists Monnit. Upkeep and Monnit’s collaboration allows customers to “track the status of sensors and create trigger-based work orders.” Whenever the sensor on an asset realizes it needs to be changed, it not only informs technicians, but creates a work order for it.

A caveat, though: you have to make sure your IoT devices are secure. The major DDoS hack last October that took down Twitter and Paypal? A large number of the hack’s footsoldiers were unsecured IoT devices hackers hijacked. If you’re interested in how to secure your IIoT, check out my October post on preventing CMMS hacks.

3. Predictive Maintenance

One of the goals of any CMMS is the end of downtime. Predictive maintenance uses sophisticated, real-time measurements to determine when an asset might need a fix, and make that goal a reality.

Predictive maintenance can be seen as a next step up from preventative maintenance, where MRO professionals would look at a machine’s history to guess when it might break.

Contrarily, predictive maintenance uses methods like machine learning algorithms to make its predictions. Predictive maintenance also uses data from the assets themselves, getting rid of the need for worker guess work. Some even assert predictive maintenance needs to replace the older concept of  preventative maintenance.

The shift to predictive maintenance can be made far easier with a CMMS. Unless you’re able to literally be everywhere at once, keeping tabs on all your assets in real-time is impossible with a paper-based system. Ryan Chan, CEO of Upkeep, underlines how digitization is a prerequisite to becoming truly predictive: “We’ve seen many many companies still using a paper based system and before they can become predictive, they need to move to a cloud based system where they have everything digitized.”

Bottom line? Advanced, predictive solutions require advanced, digital technologies.

4. Cloud

The following cheesy simile hurts me more than it does you: cloud software can make your business as free as a cloud (though I doubt the cloud got its name that way).

Free of, for instance, “the IT / DB system administration training and server upkeep requirements that hold back many businesses from investing in CMMS applications,” to quote Gary Siorek of Maintimizer.

If you go with an on-premise option, instead of a cloud option, you’ll have to train (the people) and maintain (the servers) where your valuable asset information is kept. Contrarily, in a cloud solution, the CMMS company itself takes care of your data. Trend-wise, Gary Siorek argues “this means more businesses can, and will, invest in a CMMS, and this will then lead to better maintenance and reliability,  leading to increased equipment uptime and profitability to those users.” Ryan Chan of Upkeep agrees.

Chan notes how cloud software “reduces the price point so that small to medium-sized businesses can adopt CMMS.” He adds that the cloud also allows companies to create “the best mobile applications and release updates on a weekly basis.” In other words, you pay less with cloud software and get more every time there’s an update.

Downtime is a big loss for your CMMS, as well as for your assets. If, as Jeff O’Brien suggested over at Reliable Plant, your server (and CMMS program) crash over the weekend, the result can be hours of downtime, and thousands of dollars. With a cloud-based solution, however, the “CMMS applications reside on servers that are monitored around the clock.” It’s like having a 24/7 security guard for your CMMS, and, by extension, all the valuable data it monitors.

5. Data-driven maintenance

Predictive maintenance isn’t the only thing benefit of capturing asset data. CMMS programs don’t just collect data, they analyze it. What a CMMS can do with your data is kind of like what as-seen-on-tv kitchen products can do with your food: slice, dice, juice, and julienne. Only, buying a CMMS doesn’t require you to listen to an announcer with a soulless monotone scream.

But, in the same infomercial spirit, here’s a list of what data analysis can do… FOR YOU!

— Data-driven maintenance can provide you with “an ad-hoc query tool that can save reports for reuse by an individual, or for public consumption, with extensive filtering and sorting capability as well as Boolean logic and arithmetic capability”

— Data-driven maintenance can “help document certification and audit procedures”

— Maintenance that incorporates data can “trend and alarm certain data” to be used in root cause analysis

— Data-driven maintenance can provide you with a range of root cause analysis tools, such as fishbone diagram, Taproot, SCAT,” and Pareto

6. Culture

Culture one incorporates a lot of the above topics. How do you make a data-driven culture? How do you make a reliability-focused culture? It’s an important question to ask, because all the lucrative trends mentioned above depend on cultural shifts.

I like to compare organizational changes to cultural changes. I’m not the only one: Harriet Fryman likens data to a gym membership: you need to use both frequently to get their value. I’d go a step further. Transforming workplace culture is like becoming healthier altogether.

Focusing on reliability is like focusing on health: the little things add up, whether not eating an extra bag of chips, or making sure you’re reliable about lockout/tagout procedures. And given last year’s massive increase in OSHA fines, tweaking the little things to save big amounts of money has never looked better.

Trendy yourself?

Got something to say about any of the above trends? Or are there trends I’m missed that you think will transform 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

Better yet, if you use a CMMS program that’s helped your company master one of the above trends, leave a review on the vendor’s site. It’ll help them, and help other potential buyers looking to get a grip on the new year.

Looking for CMMS software? Check out Capterra's list of the best CMMS software solutions.

About the Author

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe is a former Capterra analyst.


Pingback by IIoT for Manufacturing Is a Reality Today on

[…] Capterra also looks at the big picture from a software perspective and they predict that the IoT will generate between $11 and $14.2 billion for the global economy in coming […]

Pingback by IIoT for Manufacturing Is a Reality Today – Don’t Be Left Behind – Eagle Technology on

[…] Capterra also looks at the big picture from a software perspective and they predict that the IoT will generate between $11 and $14.2 billion for the global economy in coming […]

Comment on this article:

Comment Guidelines:
All comments are moderated before publication and must meet our guidelines. Comments must be substantive, professional, and avoid self promotion. Moderators use discretion when approving comments.

For example, comments may not:
• Contain personal information like phone numbers or email addresses
• Be self-promotional or link to other websites
• Contain hateful or disparaging language
• Use fake names or spam content
Your privacy is important to us. Check out our Privacy Policy.