Choosing a CMMS: 9 Questions You Need to Ask

24/7 Software
Apr 9, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Say these five times fast…

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

Talk about a tongue twister, right?

It’s as difficult to say as it is to choose one.

We feel your pain because we built one from scratch.

Know we’re here to answer your prayers and give you the valuable insight into the dreaded process: purchasing your first system or making the switch to a new one.

Before you even begin comparing vendors, there are a few points to consider.

  • What are your objectives?
  • How do you start the process of finding a solution?

Maintenance systems can be robust, but also cumbersome at the same time.

How do you sift through the nonsense?

How do you find the one which brings value to your facility – the one with the greatest potential return on investment?

There’s so much to consider. 

It’s exhausting.

But you need to decide before your next inspection.

To get buy-in from your boss, we recommend you build some basis for the selection process.

You need a team.

You want to get the most out of your new software – and you want it to be used!

For this, there’s no better team than the one using it, right?


Let’s not waste any more time.


Use the process we lay out later in this post to choose your solution.

Then, focus on getting a “Yes!” from vendors for the questions below.

Treat them as your litmus test for which system you purchase, implement, and use.

These aren’t the only questions you might be asking. But we think these nine are deal breakers.

Why bother moving past these if you get more no’s than yes’s, right?

  1. Does the system give you the ability to create, track, edit, and automatically communicate work orders?
  2. Can you create web forms for vendors, technicians or engineers to submit work orders for approval?
  3. Can the system provide your team with the ability to create a seamless chain of command for approvals based on specific criteria?
  4. Can you efficiently manage preventive maintenance in a calendar format? So easy, you can drag and drop to change dates?
  5. Can you create digital checklists for consistency, efficiency, and control of your assets and maintenance?
  6. Will the system alert you and your staff when you run out of what you need? Does it make reordering material accessible?
  7. Will the system let you generate one-click reports and charts? Does it allow you to see the info the way you need?
  8. Will the system alert you when vendor insurance and warranty expiration are closing in?
  9. Does the provider offer implementation, training, and continued support?


Facility managers know the process for selecting a system can be unforgiving.

As the 80s rock band – The Clash – would put it, “Should I stay, or should I go?”

Before you even begin the process, decide why you’re better off moving forward.

Do you keep your current ways or new possibilities?

Using disciplined steps will help you to choose yours.

Stay disciplined.

Make selection decisions that are objective and based on analytics.

Start liking your maintenance software! Yeah.

Follow this selection process.

Then, see the light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Gather a CMMS selection team

We recommend you enlist the help of people already familiar with maintenance operations, ideally your current maintenance team.

They’re the ones that know what they need.

2. Define the functionality requisites

Deciding on the needs, should haves, wants, and ideal functions give you ammunition when shooting down the solution not right for your facility.

You’ll know the non-negotiable features, the ones you can pass on, and the functions you can add on if the price is right.

3. Compare vendors, purposefully

It’s important to have an intention when examining potential solution providers.

  • What’s their history and qualifications?
  • How well do they know what facility managers need to improve their operation?

Take a hard look at what they have to offer and break down the good, bad and the ugly.

From here you’ll round up the remaining gladiators to face off.

4. Request a consultative demonstration of their system

A good ole demo-off!

If they’re exceptional, you’ll know this before the curtain falls.


They’ll understand your needs before the presentation and show you how their system will help you accomplish your goals.

5. Pull the trigger

Review the victors.

Weigh out the cost and benefits of each.

Whose solution answered ‘yes’ to the most questions?

Better yet, who answered all the questions with “yes?”

Pay attention to the results and make an objective decision.

The decision process is straightforward.

But the decision isn’t.

We get it.

Most facility managers use software they don’t like.


Well, many are cumbersome and super difficult to use.

Don’t feel stuck with the same old system.

It’s time to start liking your CMMS.

Are you ready?



Now, remember choosing your CMMS is only one step in the process. Implementation is crucial.

We’re sorry to say we don’t see enough of it from facility managers. But we’re always working on ways to help you improve your implementation process and valiantly lead your team to efficiency.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

Learn the trouble-free way to upgrading your CMMS

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