Be careful when converting data to new CMMS, expert warns

Be careful when converting data to new CMMS, expert warns

When facilities replace their old CMMS system for a new, more modern one, it will entail converting all older data – a process many facilities managers believe will go on without a hitch. The truth is, however, data conversions are often much more complex than managers expect, for a wide range of reasons. 

According to Plant Services, bringing data from one CMMS to another entails transferring information that could potentially be obsolete, inaccurate or incomplete, and in some cases, the data won't even be in the right format for the new system. If a manager goes through with a data conversion without first checking for these factors, they could soon be in a heap of trouble. 

David Berger, a Certified Management Consultant and principal of Western Management Consultants, says it is important to understand the various kinds of data that are found within condition based maintenance software systems, and how easily it can be transferred. Sometimes, only partial bits of data will need to be transferred.

"Typically, companies are reluctant to spend the time and money needed to convert transactional/historical data, especially when data quality is suspect," he wrote in the news source. "Many companies prefer to start with a clean slate and are quite happy to retrieve historical information in other ways within the first few years following the implementation of the replacement CMMS."

Static data, on the other hand, will need to be transferred, as this houses information like asset functions, reorder information for spare parts, supplier contact information and employee certification – all of which are crucial for boosting plant uptime. 

"[A] final decision should not be made as to which data to convert and how until the selection process is completed and detailed implementation workshops have begun," Berger added. "This is to ensure sufficient rigor in evaluating data collection requirements for the new processes and CMMS."

Berger wrote that more than 50 percent of the time, he runs into companies that replaced their CMMS too quickly, and had to face daunting, tedious work when it came time to determine which data were applicable to the new system and which should be trashed. There are, however, ways to collect old data that don't require such intense scrubbing. If the data is well-kept, firms will most likely be able to use data migration tools to electronically export the information to the new system. 

According to a separate article in Plant Services, if facilities managers are surprised by the reports that are generated by CMMS, much of the time it is because of poor data quality. This can significantly affect a data transfer, and also suggests the CMMS may not be worth the cost of the computer it takes to run the program. 

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