Web Based CMMS Software vs Corporate Network


Web Based CMMS Software vs. Networked Software

Question:  I am confused about web based CMMS software as compared to those that would be based on our corporate network. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these systems?

Answer:  As technology changes, we must constantly review the state of the art and the impact it has on our processes.  The Internet (providing the connections for “the Web”), in particular, has added a myriad of options and resources that were not available just a short time ago.  Web based CMMS software presents an alternative to local network based CMMS software.  Web based CMMS software can have advantages in the areas of access and infrastructure.  Most web based CMMS systems use technology that limits functionality, however some vendors offer the advanced CMMS Hosting Service technology allowing the speed and functionality maintenance departments demand.

On the other hand, network based CMMS software offers lower overall cost, generally faster response times, advanced user friendly interface, and local control of your data.  Some of the considerations for each of these system types are discussed below.

Web Based CMMS Software

Overview

Web based CMMS software typically is hosted by servers located at a large server farm, which can be anywhere in the world.  Your staff can access these servers using a standard web browser.  The only significant requirement is access to the internet’s wide area network (WAN).  The service is generally provided on a subscription basis, as the software remains the property of the vendor.

Advanced Web Based CMMS Hosting Service, on the other hand,  has the network software vendor hosting the CMMS software.  This configuration provides Network type speed and flexibility with Internet connectivity and accessibility.  The CMMS software, in this case, is purchased, as in a networked system, and a monthly service fee is assessed.  While costing more than the standard network CMMS, the ability to access your fast and friendly CMMS software from anywhere in the world makes this option an extremely attractive solution.

Standard Web Based CMMS Configuration

Advantages

  • With a web based system, you typically can access the system from any Internet connected computer that has a modern web browser.  In addition, you should not require much, if any, support from your corporate Information Technology (IT) department.
  • Initial acquisition costs can be lower for web based systems, as you are subscribing to a monthly service as opposed to purchasing a software package.
  • System support, updates, and backups are performed by the vendor.

Disadvantages

  • Internet response time, even with a “high speed” connection, is significantly slower than a local network.  This can be frustrating for your staff during data entry or reporting tasks.
  • User experience on a web based system differs from that on our normal, everyday software.  We have become accustomed to the user friendly MS Windows interface.  This interface includes multiple windows displaying different information, instantly appearing drop down selection boxes, quick loading and printing reports, etc.  On the web, however, we see one page at a time, click on a link, load and view the next page, and so on.  This slows down the interface significantly, taking staff time away from their maintenance responsibilities.  You see this type of interface when you look for travel arrangements (airline, hotel, rental car) or try to place an order for merchandise on the internet.  While this method might be acceptable for an occasional purchase or annual vacation, it can be very tedious as a daily work experience.
  • Monthly or annual subscriptions and user fees quickly add up, and over a relatively short time, can overtake any initial savings.
  • You might lose your program and your data if your vendor is unable to continue supporting the system.
  • A system is only successful if the staff uses it constantly and consistently.  If it is not user friendly, it will not be used and thus not become a successful implementation.

Advanced CMMS Hosting Service Configuration

Advantages

  • Accessible from any computer with internet access
  • Full speed operation on most connections
  • Standard user friendly interface with multiple window operations.
  • Corporate IT support not required
  • System support, updates and backups performed by the vendor.
  • Program ownership, should anything happen to the vendor.

Disadvantages

  • Higher initial and ongoing costs than network based system
  • Lack of local control of data

Network Based CMMS Software

Overview

A network based CMMS system typically is hosted on your company’s servers, located at your corporate headquarters’ Information Technology (IT) site.  This system is supported and maintained by your corporate IT department.  Access is available from anywhere within the company directly connected to the local area network (LAN).

Advantages over Standard Web Based CMMS

  • Local, on-site, computer networks run at higher speeds than those of the Internet.  This translates into a system that is more likely to be used by your staff.
  • Programming and user interface have more flexibility, thus tend to be more user friendly.   Better use of drop down lists and multiple windows, for instance, make the application faster.  See sample screen below.
  • The data is located in house, where you have more control and better security than is possible on the  Internet.
  • Backups are available from your local IT support – no need to call the vendor when you need access to backed up data.

COGZ Network Based CMMS Software Multiple Windows

The above image is an example of the multiple windows and pull down lists easily displayed on a networked system.  This familiar type of interface eases your staff’s transition to a computerized maintenance management software.

Advantages over CMMS Hosting Service

  • No monthly access charges
  • The data is located in house, where you have more control and better security than is possible on the  internet.
  • Backups are available from your local IT support – no need to call the vendor when you need access to backed up data.

Disadvantages

  • May be difficult to access from outside the company network.
  • Initial cost may be higher than web based CMMS due to software acquisition cost.
  • May require approval and support from internal IT organization.

To Summarize

Standard web based CMMS software is not as attractive a solution as the Web Based CMMS Hosting Service when a wide variety of computers at random locations will be used to access system data.  Otherwise, the speed, cost and user friendly interface offered by a network based system make it the software of choice for the majority of users.

CMMS Software – Preventive Maintenance Software