CMMS should stop being a closed system: Decoding Interoperability in O&M with Facilio

The operating environment of any property portfolio is asset heavy, complex, and siloed. Data from multiple building systems are stored in separate tools, each without the access to communicate with the other. CMMS tools should typically centralize asset information and be the collaboration platform that powers end-to-end visibility and decision making. However, they’re often closed-off, rigid systems that do not integrate with the operating tech stack, leaving little to no space for data sharing and communication.

The lack of a single data repository has unfavourable effects on every step of the O&M process. It leads to excessive manual intervention to log in to multiple tools, retrieve data, and feed it to other tools, ultimately stalling issue resolution. Moreover, data inconsistencies due to human error ultimately end up being a cost-heavy and time-consuming bottleneck.

State of interoperability in CMMS/CaFM today

We asked CMMS users what frustrates them the most when using CMMS. Unsurprisingly, 74% of the respondents chose the option - Making the system interoperable and talking with each other. This is a direct result of CMMS systems having process silos, heavy manual intervention and dependencies, multiple systems logins, and stakeholders being left out of the loop.

Let’s consider a typical work day in the life of an FM personnel. A tenant raises a complaint of a lighting malfunction. This involves using a ticketing system to communicate over the complaint raised, a repository of historical complaints (Database like Oracle), inventory checks to find the asset replacement (ERP), invoicing to buy a new asset (Accounting), and choosing the right vendor to carry out the replacement service (CRM or Spreadsheets), and finally log asset information in a CMMS.

With hundreds of complaints like these raised in a typical work day, FMs spend ample time only retrieving data from individual systems to execute a single work order. Designing digital initiative to bring about process improvement does not see much success because:

  • CMMS isn’t designed to be interoperable. They’re still, since their inception three decades ago, closed-off systems and do not offer out-of-box integration capabilities.
  • Unlike the latest enterprise software, integrating CMMS with other tools requires advanced technical expertise, extra resources, and vendor support that are hard to come by.

However, if CMMS tools are leveraged rightly, they can be the single connecting point of your tech stack, providing a centralized data source and eliminating the time spent juggling between tools, making your operational environment interoperable.

What does an ideal integrated CMMS tool look like?

For today’s constantly evolving tech-driven environment, we need a tool where data from OT systems, manual tools, and IT business apps all find a way into a single solution, making it easier for stakeholders at every level to view data and control operations without logging into multiple tools repeatedly.

This way, when a complaint is raised, every workflow, right from notifying the vendor, placing a purchase order, approving the budget, to sending feedback for service rating, is all automated. If such an integration is perfected, it opens up a whole bunch of benefits as stated below.

  • Paves the way for process automation: A well-connected system is a foundation over which tasks can be automated. For example, you won't have to look for a vendor manually and verify their insurance before assigning a work order. Because your CMMS tool is directly connected with your vendor management system, the tool automatically verifies the vendor's insurance details including its expiration, and assigns the work order.
  • Removes data redundancy: Eliminates the need for manual entry into each system removing the possibility of human errors and normalizing data across every single business app and OT system. This, in turn, speeds up processes, and you get accurate visibility into the entire operational environment, paving the way for planning future optimization and process improvements.
  • Constitutes smarter maintenance processes: Condition-based maintenance is performed based on real-time indicators or when there are signs of decreasing performance. Now that systems and apps are connected, maintenance teams have the right data and lead time to fix asset breakdowns before a failure occurs.  

How is Facilio architecting the future of O&M?

Facilio creates an environment where a CMMS becomes truly interoperable by bringing together systems (shared data), and people (stakeholders) by giving them access to the data and the ability to improve processes on the fly through automation. With such a system in place where every component works in synergy, we can move up the O&M ladder towards the next step – process optimization and truly achieve connected efficiency.

In June, the Facilio team conducted an in-depth webinar on the state of interoperability in current CMMS tools and outlined the benefits of having a truly interoperable system, complemented with real use cases. See the free webinar recording here.