CMMS Software: A Definitive Guide for Commercial Building Managers

August 17, 2023

In the digital era, commercial buildings are much more than physical structures; they are intelligent spaces that thrive on technology. One important component of this technological ecosystem is CMMS software. This comprehensive guide explores its role, functionalities, implementation, and more for commercial building managers.

What is a CMMS software?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a digital software platform specifically designed to consolidate, manage, and streamline maintenance operations within an organization. By centralizing maintenance-related data, it aids in efficiently tracking and scheduling routine and preventive maintenance tasks, managing assets and monitoring inventory levels.

In the realm of commercial buildings, a CMMS serves as a useful tool in numerous ways. It schedules and tracks routine upkeep activities, such as cleaning, painting, or electrical system checks, ensuring that the facility is always in top condition. In essence, a CMMS integrates and simplifies the maintenance responsibilities in commercial buildings, ensuring longevity, safety, and optimal functionality of its myriad systems and components.

Typical CMMS functionality 

CMMS software offers a variety of functionalities, including:

  • Asset Tracking: CMMS allows users to track the location, status, and maintenance history of each asset, making it easier to determine when a piece of equipment might need repair or replacement.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: Users can set up routine maintenance schedules for equipment to reduce breakdowns and improve longevity.
  • Work Order Management: Managers can create, assign, and track work orders, ensuring that tasks are completed on time and within budget.
  • Inventory Management: CMMS aids in monitoring spare parts and materials, so you always have what you need on hand.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Provide insights into maintenance costs, task histories, and equipment history, helping managers make informed decisions.

Choosing and implementing a CMMS

The introduction of CMMS into a building isn't a plug-and-play affair. It starts with a comprehensive needs assessment, understanding the intricacies of the building's operations, its pain points, and desired outcomes. Once this foundation is set, the journey moves to vendor selection—a phase that requires evaluating multiple options, seeking demos, and sometimes even piloting potential solutions. 

Choosing the right CMMS for your business depends on your goals, needs and budget. 

Here are some steps you can follow to make an informed decision:

  • Form a CMMS selection team: Involve the key stakeholders who will use or benefit from the CMMS, such as maintenance managers, technicians, operators and executives. They can help you define your requirements, evaluate the options and implement the solution.
  • Define your goals: Identify the main problems you want to solve with the CMMS, such as improving maintenance schedules, tracking work orders or improving compliance. Then, set measurable and realistic objectives that align with your business strategy.
  • Evaluate CMMS options: Compare different CMMS providers based on their features, functionality, usability, scalability, integration, support and pricing. You can use online reviews, demos, trials and references to assess their suitability for your business.
  • Choose the best fit: Select the CMMS that meets your goals, needs and budget. Consider the vendor’s reputation, customer service and implementation support. Make sure you have a clear contract and a smooth transition plan.

The time it takes to implement a CMMS varies depending on your organization’s size, complexity, data quality, user training and goals. Some implementations take a month, others take a year. However, a general estimate is about six weeks from the kickoff meeting before getting the CMMS up and running.

Synergy between CMMS and other building systems

In today's technologically driven environment, a CMMS is not just a standalone tool but a part of an interconnected ecosystem within commercial buildings. Its integration with other building systems and collaboration with building analytics software adds new dimensions to facility management.

Integration with Building Management Systems 

A Building Management System (BMS) manages and controls a building's mechanical and electrical equipment like ventilation, lighting, power systems, and security systems. When a CMMS is integrated with a BMS, the BMS can alert the CMMS about any issues or performance deviations, leading to immediate preventive action. Conversely, CMMS can feed maintenance schedules into the BMS, ensuring that equipment is operating efficiently.

Building Analytics Software Complimenting Your CMMS

CMMS and Building Analytics Software have transformative potential when used together. CMMS manages physical assets while Building Analytics Software uncovers valuable insights from data. Together, they offer a holistic view.

Transition from Preventive to Predictive Maintenance

Building Analytics Software enables the shift from scheduled and preventive maintenance to a predictive approach. By identifying wear patterns or recurring issues, analytics can forecast potential problems. The CMMS, equipped with this intelligence, can initiate proactive maintenance, thereby averting catastrophic failures and minimizing downtime.

Optimized Energy Use

Energy efficiency is vital in modern commercial buildings. While CMMS oversees the functional integrity of systems, Building Analytics Software can unearth areas of energy wastage or inefficiency. This harmonious collaboration can guide energy-saving strategies, contributing to significant cost reduction and a greener footprint.

Real-time Insights and Action

The continuous data monitoring and analysis by Building Analytics Software lead to immediate, actionable insights. Coupled with CMMS, these real-time insights trigger swift responses, like an instant check of HVAC systems following a detected temperature spike. This facilitates more responsive management and control.

Comprehensive Reporting

The robust reporting features of Building Analytics Software provide a holistic view of the building’s operations on top of what’s available through BMS and CMMS tools. Building managers benefit from detailed reports encompassing not only system statuses but also performance analytics, possible constraints, and optimization opportunities.

In essence, the combined use of CMMS with Building Analytics Software is like having a well-coordinated team where each player knows their role and how it fits into the overall strategy. This collaboration not only enhances efficiency but unlocks new possibilities, leading to smarter, more resilient, and economically sound commercial building management.

The growing role of technology in commercial real estate

The winds of change in commercial real estate are heavily driven by technological advancements. From the intricate algorithms of artificial intelligence to the vast interconnected networks of the Internet of Things (IoT), buildings are no longer just static structures; they've transformed into dynamic, responsive entities. These tech-infused transformations offer myriad benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, enhanced security, predictive maintenance, and superior occupant experiences.

A clear example of this trend is the rise and evolution of tools like CMMS, which move beyond mere maintenance to holistic building management. However, the CMMS is just the tip of the iceberg. Augmented reality is revolutionizing property tours. Machine learning is optimizing building energy consumption in real-time. Big data analytics is providing actionable insights for property valuation, risk assessment, and investment opportunities.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, mere adoption is not enough. Commercial real estate professionals must proactively engage, upskill, and innovate. To thrive in this new era, industry players must not only integrate advanced tools like CMMS but also foster a culture of continual technological learning and adaptation. The future of commercial real estate is undeniably digital, and staying ahead of the curve is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Take the next step

CIM’s Building Analytics Platform, PEAK, can enhance your building's operations and complement your CMMS. Wondering how? Request a callback from our expert team today. Harness the power of technology and drive your building's efficiency to new heights.

Kateryna Dmytriyeva
August 17, 2023