If you work in the field of enterprise asset management and maintenance, you have probably used or at least heard the terms CMMS and EAM. They are often used interchangeably and have primarily the same purpose – to maintain and control company assets. However, there are important differences between CMMS and EAM that you may not know and would need to.

CMMS: Computerized Maintenance Management Software

CMMS stands for Computerized Maintenance Management Software. In Spanish, the term GMAO (Gestión de Mantenimiento Asistida por Ordenador) is frequently used.

CMMS is a concept older than EAM. The first CMMS came into play in the 80s with the aim of replacing manual maintenance systems and focused on work order management, inventory management, maintenance planning and asset records.

CMMS systems come into play when the asset is created or acquired, and focus on operations control, preventive maintenance, inventory, reporting, etc. The focus of the CMMS is therefore on maintenance, helping to develop and automate the various processes in this area and managing communications in maintenance-related activities.

CMMS focuses on the operational part of the day-to-day activity, the relations with the facilities and between the different actors involved in maintenance.

EAM: Enterprise Asset Management

EAM stands for Enterprise Asset Management, and emerged in the 1990s as a natural evolution of CMMS into a global management model, not limited to a single department. Thus, EAM systems traditionally include everything that CMMSs include, but add additional functionality such as root cause analysis systems, predictive maintenance, asset life cycle analysis, or financial cost analysis.

With EAM, managers have a broader view of the asset’s life cycle and its relationship to operations, and can include financial issues such as lease dates, depreciation, repair vs. replacement costs, asset cost of ownership calculations, etc. in their analyses.

In summary, the goal of an EAM is to manage assets throughout their life cycle to maximize their potential use in business strategy. This relationship with the asset’s life cycle means that they are sometimes also known as LCMS (Life Cycle Management System).

Differences between CMMS and EAM

An EAM can be considered a CMMS that includes more functions, especially management in the asset life cycle. CMMS includes inventory and materials control and helps to forecast maintenance costs. EAM does all this, but also adds asset planning, i.e., it considers the asset’s life cycle, how often it needs to be repaired or other maintenance, etc. It also considers an asset’s workflows from start to finish, not just maintenance.

This is true a priori, because CMMS software has been adding more and more functions. Now, any CMMS software includes part or all of what it considers to be EAM software as well, making the two concepts similar and sometimes indistinguishable.

What is Retain, EAM or CMMS?

Retain is a complete EAM solution for Strategic Enterprise Asset Management, which includes all the functionalities that a CMMS needs, but provides powerful analysis and management tools in the life cycle that respond to the most demanding needs.

In any case, when choosing a CMMS or EAM software what you should consider is what you need, what you want to solve, what assets you are going to control or if the software is going to adapt to your needs. This is much more important than the label we put on the software you are analyzing.


Do you want to know if Retain fits your needs? Contact us and an expert will answer your questions and show you what Retain can do for your company.