If you are in the process of selecting maintenance management software for your organization you may be finding it quite a challenge. You may have whittled down the CMMS software selection to a handful of products. At this point you may have started doing trials of the software. How does one make best use of the CMMS software trial period? What sort of process makes sense?
Tips for a better CMMS Software trial
- Try to setup the trial the way you would use it once purchased. You may have thousands of equipment or parts with different maintenance needs. Doing a full setup on each candidate CMMS program can become quite a project! Ideally you should identify a subset of items you normally work with on a regular basis so that you can get a feel for the software. See if it is possible to import some data from your existing maintenance management system – for example equipment, parts, maintenance tasks and so on. Even if you are not currently using a maintenance management software program there could be information in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that you could import in.
- What is the reasons you are looking for a new system? How well does the candidate software meet those needs? This is where you really put potential maintenance software through their paces. It can be useful if you have existing equipment records and other maintenance data that you can compare with. Compare reports and statistics. Are you getting the information you need? Make sure that products that you are trialing meet your most important requirements.
- Can other people also try out the trial software that you setup? If you can set up a multi-user evaluation it can be really useful. Other stake holders can also try the software and see how well it will work for them. You can also test if different people simultaneously making changes or pulling up information will cause software problems or performance issues. You do not want to invest a lot in a new product and find that its performance is terrible once multiple people start using the system! You should contact software vendors if you run into such issues. It just may need some configuration changes to fix. Doing this also gives you a way to check how good their support is before you buy!
- Can you convert the trial to the full version or will you have to start from scratch? This can be a major headache if setting up the trial is quite labor intensive. You do want to avoid having to do all this again. Otherwise it would be like you were starting with a brand new product.
- How easy will it be to set up the trial so that it can actually be used with your maintenance program? Will the way the maintenance workflows are setup in the trial software easily translate into your maintenance process? Or do you have to completely change the way your work? This can be a good or bad thing based on what your goals for the new CMMS software are. You can get an idea of typical maintenance management workflows from “Maintenance Management Workflows – What Are They?“. However, be aware that any major workflow changes that you may have to implement to match the workflows in the maintenance software will be rather difficult to implement properly. Most people – maintenance personnel, operators, customers and managers will resist changes in how they do things unless it is not too difficult and they understand the benefits of these changes. This is actually rather crucial since most failures with bringing in new maintenance software will happen here. If people take shortcuts and enter or provide bad data you end up with garbage in – garbage out!
Looking for CMMS software?
You may find the “CMMS Software Selection Guide” quite useful. It has several tips and questions to ask to help you identify the right CMMS product for your organization. Using it should help make you selection process a lot faster and easier.Download CMMS Software Selection Guide