Eistein once said, “to see the future you must know your past.” While we aren’t in the business of predictions, recent technological developments have us excited about what is ahead for CMMS.
If you’ve been wondering how maintenance technology could shape your field in the future, there is no better place to look than the history of CMMS.
The origins of CMMS
CMMS software is about 60 years old. The story begins in the 1960s with punch cards that were fed into large IBM mainframe computers via card readers. The purpose? To remind technicians to perform routine tasks like oil changes.
As technology evolved, so did CMMS systems.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, punch cards turned into paper forms and mainframes were slowly replaced with mini computers. Technicians used a central terminal in the plant to enter data about completed work orders. This is the point where medium-sized businesses could also start to afford this kind of technology.
CMMS in the early technological boom
With the introduction of personal computers in the 90s, CMMS solutions started to take a recognizable shape. Many organizations made custom internal solutions in Microsoft Access. This brought significant improvement in usability and a slew of new features. However, you couldn’t track work order history or costs, and updating the software was very complicated and expensive.
Not long after, CMMS vendors started offering browser-based solutions. These were on-premise solutions that ran on the company’s local server. Now, you could access the software from any PC that was connected to the local network and not just from specific terminals. However, updating the software to the latest version remained complicated and expensive. You can find some CMMS vendors that still offer such solutions today, but they are all but obsolete.
CMMS in the mobile era
Slowly but surely, the final significant evolution of CMMS was the jump from on-premise browser-based solutions to cloud-based solutions that also enabled mobile CMMS apps. The benefits? Huge:
- Implementation costs dropped to basically zero as there is no need to set-up an internal server and install the software
- The software can be accessed by any mobile device with internet access
- Updates are handled automatically by the vendor and require no involvement from the buyer
- The software is available almost 24/7 and doesn’t have a single point of failure like on-premise solutions
CMMS solutions have become more practical, scalable, and affordable, which is why they are seeing widespread adoption among small and big businesses alike.
CMMS into the future
As smart, connected devices continue to infiltrate our lives, it is no surprise that CMMS will facilitate this trend in the maintenance field as well. Topics like AI (artificial intelligence) IoT technology, and industry 4.0 will all be part of the discussion and will enable more connection between assets and systems. They will provide a profound amount of data that can be applied to machine learning, predictive technologies, and more.
Advanced technology for today’s maintenance team
Supporting your maintenance strategy with a CMMS will provide you with the data and efficiency you need to keep looking forward. Will it turn you into an Einstein-level genius? Maybe not. But it may just make you feel like one.