What is the difference between EAM and CMMS?

September 6, 2013
2 min

Update: To draw the fine line between EAM and CMMS in 2021, read this blog post

In previous posts we addressed the important role that CMMS can play to help your business. Managing workflows, scheduling repetitive tasks, tracking assets as well as document management can all be considered part of the CMMS bag of tricks.  In general, CMMS deals with all of the workflows associated with managing your maintenance process. That being said, let's look a little more closely at what makes computerized maintenance management software different from Enterprise asset management software (EAM).


The difference between EAM and CMMS

The main difference between the two products (or product descriptions) lies within the end-result the software solution is trying to achieve.  EAM (Enterprise Asset Management Software) generally focuses on the whole life optimal management of the physical assets as part of the business efforts to maximize the value. 

The EAM usually provides a lot more financial reporting and management functions that are parts of considering the total cost of ownership, or TCO of the asset.  While both of these items have the same types of goals for the asset including maintaining, managing and protecting the item it sometimes gets confusing as to which your business really needs since there seems to be a somewhat blurry line separating the two.


What experts are saying


A well respected technical consultant named Ghassan Chahine published a slideshow comparison that illustrates the differences between the two. It is up to each business to determine which is the best option for their operation, however this presentation can help clarify some areas. This illustration includes overviews, operational challenges, strategic advantages, interfacing versus integration and applicable scenarios that can all be useful.

The business world is buzzing with acronyms that contribute to the confusion that many enterprises have about what exactly it is that will be best for their business including what is needed, how much is invested, and what it can do to help the bottom line.  

The Benjamin Franklin's quote stating  "an ounce of prevention..." is widely used today by the health care industry and most businesses that have a financial interest in the equipment and assets.  Preventive maintenance is considered extremely important to keep operating expenses down and extend the life of assets.  A computerized system to keep track of maintenance and repair costs makes so much sense for a business to keep better control of scheduling preventive maintenance to help protect your investment in assets that are important to your enterprise.  


Bottom Line

While EAM focuses clearly on the management of the assets and keeping up it's value, the main focus of its functionality is financial.  It's aim is to establish a financial predictive model of each equipment, then follow up that prediction with supporting financial information from repairs that occur throughout its lifespan.  Ultimately, finding a CMMS solution that focuses on workflow but still allows for asset tracking would give you the best of both worlds.  The key to finding a successful maintenance software is one that resolves most of the teams obstacles yet still provides enough information to make long term, well-informed decisions.




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