Do you need a CMMS or an EAM?

The majority of companies have little or no overall visibility of the costs associated with their business assets. By assets here, we are talking about equipment, such as machines, vehicles and infrastructure (building, offices, etc.), as well as resource management (assignment, concierge …) and computers (servers, software and company).

At first glance, both systems focus on automating maintenance management to move from a reactive maintenance strategy to a proactive one.


Computer Assisted Maintenance Management (CMMS) solutions were introduced in the 1960s as a technology to manage work orders, with punch cards instead of papers and binders, and then emerged as software in the ’80s. Today, most CMMSs can handle preventive maintenance, inventory and mobile functionality. Many also offer additional features, such as project management, multi-site support, or the ability to purchase maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) parts from an online catalogue without leaving said CMMS.


Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions emerged on the market later than CMMS’s. They were born once network technology had given companies the ability to link IT systems across multiple sites. EAMs have been designed as integrated platforms that can handle all facets of an organization that relates to asset management. This includes functions such as maintenance and MRO inventory, but it also includes MRO procurement, engineering and project management, accounting, operations, reliability management, security and compliance, and even business intelligence (BI) to support strategic planning at the enterprise level.

How to Know Which One to Choose

Previously, it was the size of the business that determined your choice. Small business with less complex operations = CMMS. Large company with multiple assets and complex maintenance = EAM. However, with the addition of CMMS functionalities and the simplification of EAMs, the lines have become considerably blurred.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you in your choice:

  • What assets do we need to track?
  • What problems do we want to solve?
  • What features are we looking for?
  • Can we customize the system according to our needs?
  • Can the system adapt to our needs throughout our evolution / growth?
  • What training is needed?
  • Do we have the time and budget to implement?

Although CMMS vendors have made several improvements that consolidate the full life cycle of an asset and the terms EAM and CMMS are now being used side by side, EAMs remain a more integrated and evolving version of the CMMS.

Among others, here are some functions where EAMs stand out:

  • Automation of all processes according to the needs of each end-user profile;
  • Full life cycle management with automated depreciation;
  • Management of external resources (service contracts / suppliers / warrantees);
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) agreements;
  • Escalations to the right resource (expiration of a warranty, planned or preventive intervention, all types of delays);
  • Integration with every department / systems in place, such as finance, payroll, human resources, etc.;
  • Integration with Google Maps, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Supporting the full range of processes, exploiting data in depth and generating ROI are how Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions stand out.

Every organization can afford to move to asset management in an exemplary way with IBM Maximo. Need strategic insight into managing your enterprise assets? We can help.