Doing a CMMS software trial can be a lot of work!
Are you are in the process of selecting maintenance management software for your maintenance repair and operations? Certainly it can be quite a challenge!
One may have cut down the list of the CMMS programs to a handful of suitable products. Therefore it is now time for trials of the maintenance software programs.
How does one make best use of the CMMS software trial period? To clarify, what evaluation process makes sense?
CMMS Software trial tips
1. Try to setup the CMMS software trial the way one would use it after purchase
This is easier said than done! There may have thousands of equipment or parts with different maintenance needs. Doing a full setup on each candidate maintenance program can become quite a project.
Don’t look at me like that!
Firstly we identify a subset of items we normally work with on a regular basis. This will allow one to get a feel for the software.
Then we can see if it is possible to bring some data from our existing maintenance management system. For instance import equipment, parts, maintenance routines, preventive maintenance checklists and so on. If we are not yet using a maintenance management software program there may be information in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that we can import.
As an example see “How to start the CMMS software setup process?” for data import advice for the FastMaint CMMS program.
2. What is the reasons for looking for a new system? How well does the candidate software meet those needs?
That is to say this is where we must really put potential maintenance software through their paces. It can be useful if there are existing maintenance plans and other equipment maintenance logs that we can compare with.
Compare reports and maintenance scheduling. Are we getting the information needed? Is it easy to do maintenance planning? Above all make sure that products being trialed meet the most important requirements.
3. Can other people also try out the CMMS software trial?
If we can set up a multi-user trial it can be really useful. Other stake holders can also try the software and see how well it will work for them. We can also test with different people simultaneously making changes or pulling up information. Does it cause software problems or performance issues?
We 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. Contact software vendors if such issues crop us. For instance it may just need some configuration changes to fix. Doing this also gives one a way to check how good their support is before we buy!
4. Can we convert the trial to the full version or will we have to start from scratch?
This can be a major headache if setting up the trial is quite labor intensive. We do want to avoid having to do all this again. Otherwise it would be like starting with a brand new product once again!
5. How easy will it be to set up the trial so that it can actually be used with the maintenance program?
Will the way the maintenance workflows are setup in the trial software easily translate into our maintenance process? Or do we have to completely change the way we work? This can be a good or bad thing based on what our goals for the new CMMS software are.
Get an idea of typical maintenance management workflows from “Why An Equipment Maintenance Workflow Is Important“. However, be aware that any major workflow changes that we have to make to match the workflows in the maintenance software will be rather difficult to implement properly.
What could this mean?
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, we end up with garbage in, garbage out!
Want more CMMS software selection tips?
You will find the “CMMS Software Selection Guide” useful. It has several tips and questions to ask to help one identify the right CMMS product for our organization. Using it should help make the selection process a lot faster and easier.Free CMMS Software Selection Guide