In the developed, mature market, CMMS / EAM / CAFM sells without much concept selling. For the lesser developed and new market sectors, we normally start with concept selling about the benefits of CMMS itself. We also update our prospects about the available options of hosting the application.
Traditionally, almost all the applications including CMMS / EAM are hosted in a company’s server set up. This calls for essential overheads expenses on hardware, software and skinware. Periodic upgradation of all the three categories mentioned earlier is also essential to keep them up-to-date. Such expenditure would mostly go under capital expenses, “CAPEX”.
As far as large enterprises are concerned the above mentioned expenses for the maintenance team would be a miniscule part of the overall budget, but not so for the smaller enterprises.
When one shifts into cloud computing model or subscription model for using a CMMS system, there are a few distinct advantages:
- Access from anywhere, any time
- There is minimum overhead expenditure on hardware, software and skinware
- Standard PCs, Laptops, Tablet PCs and even smart phones could be used to access the application
- From CAPEX we shift into OPEX model
- Upgradations and feature additions are automatically done by the Application supplier
- Freedom to scale up and scale down user licences and databases as per requirement
- Freedom to stop usage altogether as per mutually agreed timelines
There are disadvantages also:
- Good broadband connectivity is essential to have consistent internet access
- The maintenance data, though not of much strategic importance, is residing in an external environment
- Quick updating of access information for people who leave the organisation is vital, to avoid misuse and intentional data corruption by such people
A consistent question heard at every seminar on cloud computing is about security of data stored in the cloud site. Some amount of security is provided in the access to the data and the application through an encrypted password system.
Sharing of passwords among users and indiscriminate scribbling of usernames and passwords as a short cut method could cause accounting of access by people. This is a matter of self and enterprise discipline. – This aspect of security is applicable for both cloud and in-house hosted applications.
To cloud compute or not?; could be a Shakespearean question.
So, when dealing with the decision on whether to cloud compute for CMMS / EAM, the following aspects may be considered:
For Client / Server Set Up
- Do you have the necessary infrastructure (hardware / software / networking) including dedicated / third-party skinware?
- Have you budgeted for additional CAPEX for the essential infrastructure?
- Have you got high-speed intranet connectivity through LAN / WAN etc?
- Will all the target users have access to the Intranet?
For Cloud version
- Do you have good broadband connectivity?
- Are all the users having access to Internet? (Many organisations curtail this due to security and other reasons)
- How large is the database going to grow and how many people are going to access the application concurrently. (For very large databases, large number of concurrent users, large number of connected databases – a client-server version may be more appropriate)
- Are many application going to be integrated with the CMMS / EAM? (If multiple integration with applications such as SCADA, Data loggers, BMS or BAM, Purchase & Stores, ERP, SAP are planned, a client / server set up is recommended)
- Do you have varying requirement for usage by people and data transaction volume?
It is recommended that the decision be made after discussion with all the stake holders and considering all the aspects of your specific operations.