How to Implement a CMMS

While most facilities can benefit from a CMMS, it’s not always clear how to implement one successfully. In fact, CMMS implementation can be a task fraught with headaches, with over 70% of new CMMS projects failing to launch, according to a survey conducted by UpKeep.

However, there are some simple steps every organization can take prior to, during, and after their CMMS implementation to make sure their system is a success.


The first steps to take happen before CMMS software is even selected. While it may be tempting to save time and jump into the first good-looking CMMS you find, a solid plan will create a more error-free end product. The time and money saved from a lack of troubleshooting will be worth it in the end.

There are some crucial details to plan prior to CMMS implementation, including...

  • An action Plan: First, it helps to figure out the goals of your CMMS. What does the facility want to track? Which areas need this implementation the most? What features are necessary for the facility to run at maximum uptime? How much money is allocated for this CMMS project? An organization should be realistic about their costs and timeline. Having an inadequate budget could mean spending a lot of money for no end product whatsoever.
  • Choice of CMMS: Rather than going off of one person’s recommendation or the first search result, it’s beneficial to look at a range of different CMMS products to figure out which ones offer necessary functionality. The scope of a project will determine the needs for a CMMS.
  • Stakeholder Involvement: Prior to CMMS implementation, everyone involved in this decision-making process needs to be on board. Having the approval of managers, maintenance teams, and other key stakeholders is essential for a smooth launch. These stakeholders should be aware of new developments.


Next comes the implementation of the CMMS. This process is not so simple as installing software and configuring it. In fact, this can be the most complex step depending on the previous asset management system in place. That said, the time directly before and during the implementation is a good time to gather data and make sure the transition between old and new systems goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Migration: Migration can be difficult or easy depending on the level of initial effort. For example, a facility that expects a migration to go smoothly without sifting through their data, cleaning it out, and managing assets beforehand might have a rude awakening come the day of implementation. It’s helpful to have a team dedicated to migrating assets, and there are even services to help a facility do this if the task looks too daunting. (At UpKeep, we offer data migration services to larger organizations that want to port data over from previous maintenance software.)
  • Scheduling: Plan a realistic kickoff date and make sure every involved team is aware of that date. During implementation, make sure to schedule constant meetings with key stakeholders to make sure their department is being given the attention it needs. These check-ins are vital to making sure that there’s always a finger to the CMMS’s pulse. Check-in with the CMMS provider is also important. Your account manager can help you stay on track to achieve a successful implementation.
  • Implementation speed: It’s not always prudent to try and implement everything as quickly as possible. Adopting a CMMS has a learning curve for everyone involved, not just for the employees submitting work orders. It can be helpful to start the CMMS in one area to demonstrate its worth before rolling it out to the rest of the company.
  • Training: Figure out which documentation needs exist and fill those needs (training courses, operation manuals, FAQs). If they exist, use the vendor’s training services. If not, dedicate employee time to sitting with training materials. It can also be helpful to have technical writers develop material as it is being implemented so that documentation is always up to date.


The CMMS has been implemented and the job is complete, right? Well, a CMMS is like any other piece of equipment: it needs maintenance, supervision, and repairs when necessary. This can mean a lot of different things for different facilities.

  • Data usage: Plan to use the data you gather with the CMMS to improve maintenance efforts and productivity within the entire facility. Data can be used to diagnose the operating reliability of a specific asset, an area, or even the entire facility. To reach these diagnoses, you can turn data into visual maintenance reports.
  • PM/PdM improvement: Use the data gathered to improve preventive or predictive maintenance schedules. If this functionality doesn’t exist, work with the vendor on a solution.
  • Budget: Use the CMMS to figure out where the organization’s budget is going awry by tracking vendor costs, parts costs, and overtime. This can be a vital statistic to help an organization maintain peak profitability and lower overall maintenance costs.

Throughout the entire CMMS implementation process, lean on the CMMS vendor to help you. During pre-implementation, have them perform product demonstrations for your entire team to make sure the product is a good fit for everyone. During implementation, get their help with data migration. And during post-implementation, ask them for ways to use the data you’ve collected.

By following these steps, you’ll join the 30% of companies that are successful in implementing a CMMS.