Facility & Maintenance Management

What Do You Need to Know about CAFM & CMMS?

September 14, 2021

What is CAFM and CMMS?

CAFM and CMMS software are terms that are generally used interchangeably in the industry of facility and maintenance management. Although they share quite a few similarities, certain differences set them apart from each other. Here, we will be going over relevant information to compare the two systems. This will help you get a better idea of which one is more suited to your needs.

What is CAFM?

Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) is a term used for technology that better helps businesses handle their tools, procedures, and assets. It supports real estate management and automated facility by integrating various platforms and helping managers plan and identify the operations of facilities. This software allows facility managers to analyze different patterns so that better decisions are made, and the business can prosper.

CAMF vs. CMMS vs. IWMS vs. EMS

On the other hand, Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is an element of CAFM software that focuses completely on maintenance. It allows maintenance technicians and managers to acquire a more comprehensive outlook on maintenance operations. These include actions like monitoring breakdowns, recording labor on important equipment, and opening asset history. Using a CMMS can help optimize the use of available physical equipment, installations, and promote better communication. Assigned vendors can be communicated with directly inside of the work order, making communication regarding specific word order consistent and clearer.

The main difference between CAMF and CMMS relates to focus and scope. While CAFM focuses more on the automation aspects of facility management, CMMS is more focused on managing the facility’s maintenance operations.

Besides CAFM and CMMS, IWMS and EMS are other software systems that are used in facilities management. IMWS (Integrated Workplace Management System) is a platform that allows businesses to optimize workplace resources like its real estate portfolio, facilities assets, and other infrastructure. Another management system is EMS (Environmental Management Systems), which is designed to manage a company’s sustainability programs and environment. It does this by closely controlling the environmental impact of the business’s activities.

What Does a CMMS Application Do?

Preplanning is key to successful maintenance management, and a CMMS helps with exactly that. It does this by keeping track of all your business assets. It provides a ton of asset information related to its manufacturers, warranties, shelf-life, and vendors. CMMS software is widely used in facilities management, manufacturing, power generation, transportation, and construction industries, amongst others. Its core lies in a database that contains and maintains all the information about assets, resources, material, and equipment maintenance. The information in a CMMS database backs up different functions of the system, which enable it to register asset information and manage labor and material resources.

What are the essential functions of CAFM software?

CAFM software offers the facility manager all the right administrative tools and abilities to manage, track, plan, and report facilities operations. The most significant functions of a CAFM system include:

  • Help the facility manager make sure that the company assets are properly used at the lowest possible cost with a maximum benefit
  • Supporting strategic and operational facility management. This includes all technical, infrastructural, and administrative FM tasks that take place when the facility is in operation.

How to Implement CAFM in a Company?

As a business, adopting CAFM software can open many doors that ensure the quality of service and low operation costs. If you have secured the budget to procure your computer aided facility management system of choice, the next big step in its CAFM successful implementation. Simply choosing a CAFM software and installing it in your business is not the same as properly implementing it throughout your business.

  • The first and most important step is to clearly understand and define your goals. Knowing your requirements and what you wish to achieve from the software will help you lay down a solid foundation.
  • The next step is to look for a solution that specifically caters to your needs and can adapt to your requirements. From the list of many CAFM solutions, you can pick one that best fits your needs.
  • The final step is to implement the system in stages and not all at once. For example, start by automating the building’s maintenance operations first, then gradually expand the implementation in other areas like improving building management with high tech solutions.

What Kind of Businesses Benefit Most from CAFM and CMMS?

Both CAFM and CMMS solutions can be used by businesses of every industry as they help with aspects such as maintenance planning, cost-cutting, and substantial organization. However, small new companies, facilities management businesses, and maintenance teams can use this software especially. These include real estate landlords, property management, and facility management companies.

Is it Worth Investing in CAFM or CMMS?

Due to the host of advantages that CAFM and CMMS bring along for businesses, they are definitely worth investing in. These benefits include thoroughly knowing your inventory, staying on top of preventative maintenance, and controlling your overall costs. If you are still confused, check out this piece for more information on whether you should get CAFM and CMMS software.

Main Features of CAFM & CMMS

Asset Management

Assets are an important component of any facilities management. With a CAFM system, you can plan different preventative, predictive or reactive maintenance approaches based on how a specific asset is performing.

Cost Management

Reactive maintenance can incur unnecessary costs, work overload and ultimately poor service. A CAFM system can offer preventative maintenance schedules, identify maintenance costs, and make appropriate asset-related decisions. In the long run, this can help manage costs and minimize the possibility of sudden, expensive repairs.

Work order Tracking

A CAFM system also doubles as a database, allowing businesses to identify and retain reports relating to incidents. All safety or non-safety issues taking place in your facilities can be added to the report and reviewed. This enables your company to stay prepared for all types of checks and audits.

Space Management

CAFM software stores all the important asset information, so managers get a more wide-angled picture of how the facilities are being used. A lot of the tools are designed to help with space planning by offering the best layout. Regardless of your space planning needs, you can rely on CAFM to help.

Main features of CAFM

When you use a CMMS application, you can expect the following features:

Analysis and Reporting

Once you enter data into the CMMS app, you can then request any analyses or reports. That asset information becomes part of the database, and the manager is informed of any problems detected. Possible solutions are also recommended. Other asset information you can store in your CMMS maintenance management software includes its work history, customer feedback, labor resources, and work tasks.

Management of Work Order

CMMS also offers another customizable feature, which involves overseeing work orders for asset repair/management. Work orders are automatically generated as per a preset maintenance plan and respond to maintenance requests made by the personnel. In case something goes wrong, managers can hold the appropriate person responsible by tracking down information.

Preventative Maintenance

One of the fundamental features of CMMS software is its ability to provide preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is a proactive maintenance plan carried out regularly to address signs of equipment damage before it completely breaks down. You do not have to worry about any small or big issues going unnoticed and later impacting overall business productivity. Unexpected breakdowns are eliminated, and labor safety is also maximized. CMMS not only allows you to quickly create preventative schedules for assets based on usage or time but also automates the administrative part of maintenance.

Vendor Management

An effective CMMS maintenance management software will also help your business with vendor and asset management. When employees need new inventory, they can simply fill out a request form, which saves both time and effort. It also keeps everyone updated about the work order, such as when the order was processed on the vendor’s end.

Property Surveys and Sharing Reports with the Higher Management

CMMS makes it easier for higher management to keep track of relevant maintenance operations stats through CMMS reports. This includes property surveys that plan, manage, and complete inspections easily. Inspections are extremely crucial for tenant satisfaction, and pay off in the long-term. With CAFM, you can modernize an array of property surveys and inspections, such as quality reviews, move-in/move-out, and engineering information. Today’s cost-cutting audit and property inspection software promise excellent ROI by sharing accurate reports and stats within a set timeframe. This helps eliminate any inconsistencies and improves efficiency.

What Will the Future of CAFM be like?

The future of CAFM is quite bright as it acts as an all-in-one maintenance solution. Outsourcing facilities management support in pretty much all sectors is guaranteed, but companies are increasingly shifting towards CAFM. This is because they realize how important the intelligence and information stored in the database can be.

Tenants today expect a lot more from their office buildings than they used to. They want a space where they can feel safe and secure, and expect technologies that enhance the workplace performance. That is why building owners and managers need to start investing in tenant experience software to help create a more lucrative experience for them. The popularity of tenant apps is expected to grow since all tenants in the building can benefit from these technologies, and it can be an ideal complement to CAFM and CMMS software already being implemented in the facility.

Mobile technology is also skyrocketing, both for business efficiency and auditing. There are many issues related to the inaccessibility of requests from any device, which CAFM is expected to solve.


In this article we covered what is CAFM and CMMS, but to sum up, both CAFM and CMMS are powerful business tools that can greatly enhance the effectiveness of facilities management operations. However, their focus of activity differs, making it important for you to know which one suits your needs best. If you are unsure of which system better aligns with your needs, get in touch with the experts at Velis Real Estate Tech today and avail a free Singu FM demo. The software is a hybrid solution of CAFM and CMMS that also supports a unique Tenant App, designed to upgrade occupier’s experience.

Written by:
Karolina Włoch
PropTech Expert

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