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Here's How to Actually Start Using Your CMMS

Do you have a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)? Does it do what you need it to? Do you even use it? A CMMS can be a great tool for facility managers, but many problems often make them a pain to work with. The problem is these powerful programs often don’t work very easily, and they can be intimidating for your team learn and use. Even simple things, such as user permissions, can be difficult to update.

How did a software designed to help you turn into such a problem?

If your facility department is bogged down with an unusable CMMS, the first step is to evaluate if  your CMMS is working for or against you. Many building managers think it could be easier to change systems entirely, but normally the switch is unrealistic due to long contract obligations or money sunk into on-boarding the platform. You also probably have multiple departments using the CMMS (IT departments and business operation teams are a great example), so you’re stuck using that software, even if it wasn’t specifically designed for facility management use.

However, there’s an affordable, easy-to-use solution that will help you navigate your current CMMS:  facility management software (FMS).

How does a FMS supplement a CMMS?

Getting rid of your large CMMS might not be ideal, since it often stores years of information, but all that data is trapped in a format difficult for your facility team to use. It might seem counterintuitive to use another software platform to make the another system work, but using a FMS is the key to unlocking bulkier systems.

A FMS can supplement your current program in a number of ways. For instance, a FMS should be browser-based and allow building managers to access their floor plans, schedule asset maintenance tasks and organize records for future capital planning and workload balancing decisions. Many CMMS platforms contain these features, but ultimately fail from a usability standpoint.

Instead, a facility software platform, such as AkitaBox, can take the current data in your CMMS and reformat the information so your facility team can easily access and update it. Let's use AkitaBox as an example. A CMMS can provide a long list of information, but, in many ways, it’s just as complicated to use as a spreadsheet.

With the AkitaBox platform, the Floor Plan Viewer takes facility data (think your building’s floor plans, asset information and service history) and provides an interactive view for facility teams. Imagine being able to select a floor of your building and see where each of your mechanical assets, safety equipment, and room types exist.

AkitaBox Floor Plan Viewer - Facility Management Software Asset Mapping

The other way a facility software supplements a CMMS is by providing a way to easily make changes to building data. In AkitaBox, a preventative maintenance scheduler is tied to the information stored in the Floor Plan Viewer. Facility teams can easily schedule maintenance on assets for future work to be completed, along with logging reactive maintenance from work orders. This ends up giving staff the entire history (and future) of an asset at a glance.

How do these systems talk to each other?

It’s easy to keep your CMMS updated with the new data from your FMS, because you can upload the data from AkitaBox to your current CMMS with a simple spreadsheet. Your team should do these updates annually or as necessary with a new projects. The implementation team at AkitaBox can help show you how to upload these documents, and the whole process only takes only a couple minutes.

What if I don’t have accurate data in my CMMS?

Some facility teams are locked into a CMMS contract but found that they didn’t have the time or resources to collect information on their facilities to put into the software. In addition to providing the software, AkitaBox offers data collection and standardization services for clients.  A standard implementation provides a walk your buildings to verify spaces, floor plans, asset locations and fire and life safety equipment, so you can be certain the data going into your CMMS and facility management software is accurate. Maintaining that accuracy is up to you (and, as stated earlier, is easier to do when you’re using a FMS).

How does AkitaBox work as a stand-alone software?

AkitaBox can complement a larger CMMS, but it was also designed to work independently.  This is great for facilities that don’t need the infrastructure of a large CMMS or have the ability to replace their CMMS early. You’ll find that a facility software often focuses on features that are most meaningful to your facility team - think quality of quantity. Without getting on a soap box, just understand AkitaBox can provide all the services needed to manage facilities more efficiently and proactively, because it offers a central, easy-to-access repository of asset and building information for facilities of all shapes and sizes.

AkitaBox Implementation Process - Click to Download

Implementing new software, whatever the scale, can seem daunting, so to learn more about how AkitaBox could fit into your current software (or software-less) structure, we recommend scheduling a demonstration. You’ll be able to see the interface and get all your questions answered.

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