Cloud-based vs on-premise CMMS software

Learn which type of CMMS software is the best solution for your maintenance team.

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What is on-premise CMMS software?

An on-premise CMMS typically needs to run via a physical server located on-site. You typically pay upfront for the software, and install it on your own servers. It also requires upgrades or the purchase of additional software over time.

Advantages of on-premise CMMS software:

  1. You control your server and hardware
    Depending on your situation, it can be worthwhile to bring servers on-site so you’re able to make upgrades and oversee the hardware, especially if you need increased storage options and server function.
  2. Compliance with regulatory requirements
    If you’re in a highly regulated industry, you may have no choice but to opt for on-premise servers and software. For example, businesses dealing with classified information are subject to extremely strict regulations.
  3. Operating without access to the internet
    For maintenance teams in remote areas and/or have limited internet connection, an on-premise server enables you to set up an intranet so employees have access to the CMMS software.

Disadvantages of on-premise CMMS software:

  1. It takes longer to implement
    Implementing a brand new on-premise software onto your self-managed server takes longer than a cloud-based CMMS because of the complex installation and configuration needs. You’re responsible for providing IT infrastructure to run the application and ensuring you have the available resources.
  2. Up-front costs are high
    Initial costs to set up an on-premise software are high. Purchasing, configuring, testing, and deploying the server can cost just as much, or even more, than the CMMS software itself.
  3. Maintaining and upgrading the CMMS is costly and time consuming
    As upgrades become available by the software provider, maintenance teams will be responsible for ensuring the implementation of these upgrades.

    There might be additional charges by the provider for upgrades, bug fixes, and new features. If your team doesn’t have the required skill set, the additional cost of hiring external help may be required.

What is cloud-based CMMS software?

Cloud-based CMMS software is built on servers owned by the software provider. Businesses license the software from the CMMS provider, usually via a time-based subscription model. Businesses don’t have to install software onto their local servers because it runs remotely through the internet, or offline, via applications.

Advantages of cloud-based CMMS software:

  1. Quick and easy to implement
    Once you’ve subscribed to the provider, you’re able to start right away. You begin gaining back your return on your investment as soon as possible versus having to wait for the software to be shipped and installed on your server, which is the case with on-premise CMMS software.
  2. Fewer start-up costs
    Since the software is run in the cloud, it operates on external servers managed by the service provider. You don’t need to create internal infrastructure to support a server, or install any electrical wiring, network routing, various interfaces, and other elements.
  3. Few to no IT resources required
    With the software running off-site and the service provider’s customer support team available to you, you don’t need to hire or train dedicated staff, such as developers and technical support, to run the program.

    Additionally, all innovation and updates to the system are managed and implemented by the provider, so you won’t have to invest in maintenance and product development.
  4. Automatic data backups
    Your information is stored off-site, and often in different geographic locations to protect against unexpected disaster. It’s backed up continuously and without you having to manually coordinate server synchronization and backup.
  5. Cloud software is an operating expense vs a capital expense
    Purchasing cloud-based software as a subscription allows you to spread the expense across months, or years, depending on the length of your subscription. There are no large, upfront expenses that depreciate over time.
  6. Flexibility and scalability
    Cloud-based software can be scaled up and down according to your needs and timeline. You’re able to start with a lower cost tier and upgrade as you grow.

    Unlike the limited available resources with on-premise solutions, cloud allows you to manage all your sites in one central location and add on as your business grows. It also allows you to integrate seamlessly with OT/IT software, such as ERP systems, MES software, and PLCs, in an open CMMS ecosystem.
  7. Easy upgrades, updates, and bug fixes
    Upgrades, updates, and bug fixes are typically included in the cost of the CMMS license. Since the software provider owns and operates the servers, they can easily and rapidly deploy improvements to the software remotely and without disrupting your operations.

Disadvantages of cloud-based CMMS software:

  1. You need a stable internet connection
    If your internet connection is unstable, cloud-based software will experience difficulties in working properly. However, there are CMMS providers, such as Fiix, with mobile apps that allow you to use the software offline.
  2. Lack of customization
    With cloud-based CMMS software, you have the ability to configure the software according to your needs. However, if you need to change the code or backend processes, you’ll be limited with a cloud solution since it’s built to be used as a best-in-class solution across a variety of industries.
  3. Extra security precautions might be required
    Since the CMMS software is not hosted on an intranet, you’ll have to do some additional work to ensure the software has the security parameters your business requires. Additionally, if an employee leaves the company, you’ll need to ensure they no longer have sign-in access. It’s important to make sure you are SOC 2 Type 2 compliant.

Cloud-based vs. on-premise CMMS software features

  Cloud-based CMMS On-premise CMMS
Easy to implement Yes. The service provider does most of the heavy lifting so the amount of time and resources required by you is minimal. Maybe. This depends on your available resources. You’re responsible for providing the IT infrastructure to set-up and run the application.
Low start-up costs Yes. You are able to choose from a variety of subscription tiers to fit your budget. No. Purchasing, configuring, testing, and deploying the server can cost just as much, or even more, than the CMMS software itself.
Upgrades included in price Yes. Upgrades are all managed by the service provider. Sometimes. Any additional upgrades will most likely cost you additional investment.
Software, hardware, and IT infrastructure required No. The service provider develops and maintains all the technical requirements. Yes. Development, set-up, and maintenance required by in-house specialists, third-party providers, and/or consultants. Infrastructure is housed on-site
Scalable (can grow as your business grows) Yes. You can upgrade and subscribe to a more advanced tier as required. No.
Server security management required No. The service provider manages server security. Yes. You are responsible for managing your server’s security.
Mobile app Yes Sometimes. Mobile capabilities are limited and/or require additional investment.
Runs on internal intranet No Yes
Offline capable Yes (Fiix mobile only) Yes

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