Definitive and Comprehensive Guide to Implement CMMS Software to Realize Maximum Benefits


Most manufacturing plants have adopted various levels of technology to support digitalization, process automation, production planning and enterprise asset management. Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS software) has transformed Plant Maintenance and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). Implementing a CMMS system is a perfect solution to  automating the mundane tasks and allow the maintenance team to focus on what truly matters. CMMS software can improve plant maintenance by enhancing plant efficiency and people productivity and scaling organizational capability

Research shows that manufacturing organizations that successfully implement and adopt automation and maintenance software (CMMS Systems), outperform others that do not. CMMS Implementation touches all the plants and machinery, maintenance planning, systems and processes, maintenance teams, day to day operations, reports and analytics, budget etc. and can be overwhelming. However, a structured and systematic approach can make the implementation easy to derive the stated business

Here is a step-by-step guide to successful CMMS Software Implementation and effective benefit measurement. CMMS Implementation process can be divided into any number of stages, based on the requirements and scope, but for the sake of simplicity, these are the nine broad areas that need to be focused on for successful implementation.

  1. CMMS Implementation – Planning

The planning process starts much before and includes business case preparation outlining cost, benefits, and strategic value, the definition of business requirements, evaluation and selection of vendors and determining high-level timelines.  See  A Definitive and Comprehensive Guide to  select the Right CMMS Software for your Organization?

Once the CMMS Software is selected for implementation, detailed planning needs to be done. The implementation plan ensures that the defined business requirements are met most optimally, meeting project schedule commitments and budget.  Often organizations may engage external vendors for consulting and/or implementation and in such cases, the planning will be done jointly.  Such external vendors or consultants may have done many CMMS implementations in the past and would have the necessary expertise in one or more areas like CMMS software customization, process mapping, data cleansing and preparation, system testing and certification (e.g., SOC2, ISO 14224 for Oil and Gas Industry, GAMP / CFR Part 2 for Pharmaceuticals), automation and integration etc.

Deliverables from implementation planning include

  • Scope coverage
  • Overall timelines
  • Implementation Project team identification and
  • Stakeholder approvals
  • Securing additional budgets and approvals as necessary
  • Kick-off meetings and initial training for the project team
  • Milestone definitions and review schedules
  1. Implementation Project Team formation

Successful implementation requires the participation of key stakeholders and subject matter experts in defining the implementation scope, process definitions, customizations, deliverables, and timelines.   Large complex multi-plant implementations may have multiple teams working together with each handling a specific responsibility e.g., the Technology team handling the project management and technical aspects of implementation, the Functional Teams handling the process mapping and customizations, and the plant teams (maintenance teams) working on data collection, set up, data migration and training. 

The implementation team understand the organization’s business requirements and acts as the champions.  Implementation teams play the most vital role in the successful delivery of the project and in meeting the stated business objectives.  The Implementation Team’s scope of work includes

  • Business requirements are properly articulated to ensure the CMMS implementation address each one of them
  • Mapping the steps and flow of the current processes and delivering them via the CMMS software. Often involves quality improvements and streamlining of processes for efficiency improvements
  • Bridging the gaps between the current processes and software features to ensure optimal delivery
  • Change management and gathering additional requirements like reporting and analytics, customizations and enhancements required on the base product and championing additional functionalities available on the product that was not considered in the original scope
  • Technical aspects of CMMS implementation like usage and load estimation, infrastructure sizing, performance measurements, integration with other enterprise systems, security and privacy controls, administration etc.
  • Acting as an interface between various stakeholders including Sr. Management, User departments, other internal teams and experts, support functions (safety, business excellence), other plant teams and vendors.
  • Implementation teams understand the CMMS Software product as well as the organizational processes and thus act as training champions and first-level support resources in the post-implementation phase.
  1. Process Mapping and Change Management

Business requirements defined earlier would have the broad scope and objectives of the project. 

However, business requirements need to be properly articulated and detailed functional requirements need to be prepared.   Business requirements define “What needs to be done” and are often terse.  Functional requirements define “How it will be done?” and includes the interaction between people, process and system, to achieve the business objective.

Detailed definitions of requirements may elicit comments and feedback from users and other stakeholders.   This may result in changes to the requirements originally planned.  Changes may. Be cosmetic, top-of-the-stack (e.g., analytic, report formats), horizontal (integration with enterprise applications), workarounds or deep (alteration to the fundamental process or architecture).   Each of the changes needs to be assessed from a value and benefits perspective and impact assessment needs to be done from a time, effort, efficiency, and money perspective.  Adequate care should be taken to ensure that changes do not result in scope creep or fundamental alteration of the solution, thereby impacting the delivery schedule or quality.

The organization will follow a set of processes and would like the system to adhere to those.  Also, there may be gaps in the maintenance management processes that require streamlining for efficiency and/or organizations may have wish lists for moving to a higher level.  CMMS System would have well-defined processes and best practices, for asset management, plant maintenance, condition monitoring and reliability,  in-built as part of its workflow.  Scope of process mapping includes understanding the nuances of these  and mapping the organizational processes to the systems for effective delivery.  Process mapping may also involve standardization of maintenance processes across plants or units and ensuring a common process is followed.  Where CMMS Systems have better processes that deliver superior value, it would pay to adopt those maintenance processes.

Certain strategic initiatives may require special requirements like) adherence to ISO standards, process compliance with World Class Manufacturing (WCM) or Total Productivity Maintenance (TPM) standards and guidelines.   Process mapping should ensure that the systems and processes implemented adequately complies with the organization’s roadmap and wish list.

  1. Project Management

Software implementations are complex and no matter how thoroughly an organization prepares, things can go wrong.  A strong project management team is required to steer the project through the various phases of implementation.  Scope of project management includes

  • Initiation of the project, securing the necessary approvals and budget
  • Staffing the project team with the right resources
  • Scope and Change management – Detailing the business and functional requirements to manageable work breakdown structures (WBS) so that the individual WBS can be managed efficiently and tracked to completion
  • Cost Management – Tracking the billable hours (vendor costs) and unbillable hours of project team members, doing cost analysis, tracking cost variances, assessment of changes from a cost impact perspective and cost reporting
  • Schedule Management – Understanding task dependencies and critical path. Timely delivery of all identified deliverables and schedule variances, if any.  Delivery –
  • Quality of deliverables – Ensure that the deliverables are consistently in conformance to requirements and defects, if any, identified are resolved in a timely and effective manner
  • Project Communications with all stakeholders to have free information flow on project status, process enhancements and customizations, cost and schedule variances, milestones etc. Conduct periodic reviews to ensure that the entire project team is on the same page about weekly tasks and milestones.
  • Stakeholder Relationship management with all key internal stakeholders, plant management, user groups, other plant teams and vendor team
  • Risk Management framework to identify potential problems early on, impact assessment tools and mitigation strategy
  • Project Closeout and Review – Ensuring a proper closure upon project completion, submitting the necessary documentation etc. The project manager conducts post-mortem reviews to document challenges and learnings.   Future enhancements and roadmap items slated for the next phase are also well documented for future usage.
  1. Data Collection and set-up

Data collection is the most critical aspect of CMMS implementation.  Data is the foundation of any system and the efficacy of the system rests on the quality of data.  The primary objective of the CMMS implementation is to facilitate a meaningful interaction of the data and the processes to deliver efficiency and productivity.   Inadequate data collection will seriously impact the CMMS implementation and prevent the organization from reaching its stated goals.

Scope of data collection in CMMS Software implementation includes

  • Building the Asset Register – Capturing all the asset information and the asset hierarchy (plant-unit-line-equipment, parent-child equipment), asset classification and grouping (motors/pumps, electrical/mechanical, high / medium / low criticality, production/standby / rotating etc.), asset information (OEM specifications, vendor and AMC details, BOM mapping, documentation)
  • Stores and Spares – Comprehensive spares inventory, stores information, spares cost and reorder levels
  • Preventive Maintenance – Time-based, usage-based and condition-based preventive maintenance schedules and check sheets/job plans with recommended spares inventory, tools and labor requirements
  • Failure Phenomena for each equipment group to facilitate breakdown analysis and identify repeat failures
  • Work permits and safety approval requirements
  • Instrument details, Calibration schedules, readings, pass / fail criteria, and calibration certificate generation requirements
  • Utility and Boiler Inspection schedules and checklists.
  • Parameters monitoring – Type of parameters (usage, condition, specific consumption), attributes, set up, data source (manual or automated) and downstream actions
  • Vendor details, AMCs, Warranty expiry dates
  • User roles, entitlements, and notification requirements

Additional work may include codification of equipment, spares etc., consistency in nomenclature with other enterprise systems (e.g., SAP / other ERP), standardization of process assets (e.g., check sheets, PM schedules for peer class assets), configurations like Shift schedules, workdays, holidays and overtime, user roles and privileges, the report set up, dashboard configurations etc. 

Special requirements may include ingestion of historic data (e.g., breakdowns) or data cleansing (to comply with ISO 14224).

  1. Customization, Configurations, Enhancements, and Integration

Organizations have their own unique processes and often would like to have the CMMS System adhere to their processes. There are 2 ways to meet these unique process requirements – Customizations and Configurations.

Customization involves code changes to the CMMS system and thus impacts the product architecture and future newer functionalities.   Customization also requires more time and effort from the vendor side and costs additionally.  Configuration involves a core engine that delivers the business processes, transactions etc. with a configurable top layer.   Configurable CMMS Systems are more versatile and can be easily tweaked to meet the unique requirements of the company.  Configurations are not very expensive and since they are modular, they do not impede future functionalities.  Most often, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments come with configurable features whereas on-premises deployments require extensive customizations.

Enhancements are additional functionalities required over and above the product functionality.  Integration is the one-time activity to establish the handshake for seamless data transfer with the enterprise systems.  Integration can be with Enterprise Technology (SAP / other ERP / homegrown systems/data warehouse or business intelligence systems) or with operational technology (M2M, PLC, SCADA, MES, DCS, Internet of Things etc.).  Integrations ensure a single source of truth and avoid costly dual entries and reconciliations.

Most modern CMMS comes as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and as such provides the functionalities and processes in a standard way and supports industry best practices.  These CMMS Software can be used readily and, where required, can be configured easily and quickly.  They provide ready-to-use web services to facilitate integration with Enterprise Technology systems and Operational Technology systems.  Selection of the right CMMS system ensures most of the custom requirements and integration requirements are readily met, thereby saving cost and time, and avoiding risk. 

  1. Testing and Acceptance

CMMS System implementation, like many other IT systems, involves many changes with customizations, setups, configurations, data uploads, enhancements etc.   The number of changes also indicates the potential number of failure points.  Comprehensive testing of the system is necessary to ensure that the systems and processes behave as desired, data is ingested properly, and reports are getting generated correctly.    

Scope of the testing may include

  • Business Testing to ensure that the product functionalities are delivered properly and meet the stated business objectives
  • Process Testing to ensure the organizational processes are mapped correctly and streamlined
  • Data Testing to ensure the equipment information, spares inventory, and preventive maintenance schedules and checklists are uploaded properly and the quality of data is correct
  • Performance Testing to ensure that the system performs well under peak load conditions
  • Integration Testing to check the handshakes and data transfers with other enterprise systems (e.g. SAP / Other ERP / Data warehouse/business intelligence systems) and operational technology (PLC / SCADA / MES / DCS / Internet of Things) work consistently and as per specifications

Business testing may uncover defects, change requests or enhancements.  These can be tracked, analyzed, prioritized and taken up for execution.

  1. User Engagement and Training

Implementation of any new system introduces change and change always comes with its own set of challenges. A new system will impact the user community and their daily operations and hence the impact of the change from a people’s perspective needs to be considered.   Users need to unlearn certain familiar processes or operations and relearn the new way.   A large user base will have different types of people, from early adopters to late adopters and change resistors.  

A careful assessment of the scope of changes and their impact can help in building the training plan.   Effective usage of the new system requires adequate training and familiarization of the users with the new systems and as part of it the newer ways of doing things – search, process, transaction entry, analytics etc.

Initial training can focus on the new system and usage around that.  Based on the type of audience and their role (e.g., transaction users, approvers, administrators), different training sessions can be organized to meet their specific requirements. Hands-on sessions for the user before the Go Live date can help in winning the user’s confidence and ensure their readiness.   Training is a major component of the user engagement process.  User interactions also ensure that their views are listened to, their legitimate requirements are met, pain points are addressed, and productivity is improved.

CMMS Implementation involves high interactions with users on a variety of transactions.  Upon initial usage, users may come back seeking clarifications on the best ways of dealing with certain nuances.  Refresher training organized over a few week intervals can also help address user clarifications and reinforce their learning.  The engagement of the users and their ultimate adoption of the new system is proof of successful CMMS implementation.

  1. Go Live and Post Implementation Support

A smooth CMMS Go Live is an indication of the successful implementation of the project.   Go Live date should be properly planned to ensure readiness on all fronts and not conflict with other organizational priorities (Peak production periods, Festivals).  Cutover involves a major change and hence adequate support should be available readily to handhold the users for a seamless transition.  Hotlines and escalation paths should be publicized beforehand for building user confidence. 

Post-implementation, users may require support and adequate channels should be available for them to raise their queries.  Ideally raising and tracking the issues within the CMMS is desirable.  Issues, if any, that arises needs to be tracked and completed to a logical closure.   Implementation team members, by virtue of their knowledge of organizational processes and CMMS implementation, can effectively articulate these nuances and can help bridge the learning gaps for the users.  

New requests may come in from users in the form of enhancements and additional functionality required, feedback and product improvements ideas and other customizations and integrations required.  Ideally, the implementation team should collate all such requirements, evaluate and prioritize and recommend follow up actions.

Tips for a Smooth Implementation

CMMS Implementation need not be complex or time-consuming.   With the right CMMS, successful implementation is a given.  Here are a few tips that will help in successful CMMS implementation.

  1. Comprehensive requirements definition ensures that there are no scope creeps and later surprises.  Adequate time spent interviewing different stakeholders and capturing the current and future requirements will avoid requirement gaps.
  2. Right CMMS Selection: A lot depends on the CMMS Software selected.  Careful evaluation of the CMMS Software for product depth, comprehensive functionalities, flexibility with configurations, integration interfaces and readily available data templates can ensure a quick and easy rollout.
  3. Right Deployment Model: License based CMMS comes up with one-time fees payable at the start of the project.   The vendor once paid, has no further stake, and is not involved in project success.  As against this, a subscription-based service involves a recurring fee and gets higher involvement of the vendor in successful implementation and user adoption.
  4. Partner with the Right Vendor: CMMS implementation may seem like one time.  But with rapid advancements in the shop floor environment and technology landscape, it’s prudent to look for a long-term vendor partnership.   Understanding the vendor organization’s brain trust, product roadmap, implementation track record and customer references, flexibility, and agility in responding quickly to the organization’s needs and product support are key long-term determinants for sustainable value and growth.
  5. Quick Implementation Capabilities: Modern CMMS have many in-built tools that help in standardization, repeatability, and quick rollout.   Quick rollout capabilities also indicate product readiness and meeting market requirements.   Accord high weightage for products that can be rolled out in 4-6 weeks.
  6. Pilot Implementation: Implementation can be done in full in one go or in phases.  A phased approach with a pilot project ensures proper triage of the product with all the standardization and configurations and successfully testing of the promised deliverables.  Once the pilot is completed, it can be rolled out rapidly to other business units/manufacturing plants.  
  7. Management Support ensures the project prioritization is well understood by all stakeholders. Management reviews and oversight ensures the stated project objectives are met promptly.
  8. The implementation team is the key constituent in ensuring successful implementation. A solid team with representation from key stakeholders is the first step.
  9. Data is the foundation and data quality determines the quality of asset analytics and maintenance metrics, that further decision making. Ensure all the data relating to asset management and plant maintenance are captured properly. Quality data from day one ensures collective benefit to all.
  10. User Engagement is key to continued success. Selection of a product that is simple, intuitive, easy to learn and easy to use ensures user engagement and adoption.
  11. Benefits Measurement: Clear definition of metrics to measure the accrued benefits due to CMMS implementation can give better insights on improving equipment efficiency, and people productivity, thereby increasing return on investments and strategic value.


The above steps can give you a good foundation for a successful CMMS implementation to digitalize your maintenance management.   Operational challenges may arise, but a robust plan can help you mitigate the risks and ensure successful delivery. 

MaintWiz Industry 4.0 CMMS can provide comprehensive asset management and plant maintenance functionalities and can be successfully implemented in 4-6 weeks.