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Who Needs Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Anyway?

Written By: Gabriel Gheorghiu
Published On: December 29 2009

What is EAM?

As the acronym implies, EAM is used to manage assets in a company, which can be a module in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution or a standalone product. EAM is also known as computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), or computerized maintenance management information system (CIMMS), and it is a software package used to plan, control, and monitor assets from acquisition to obsolescence.

Who Needs EAM?

In order to understand who needs this type of system, the definition of  “asset” is required. According to businessdictionary.com, an “asset” is defined as “something valuable that an entity owns, benefits from, or has use of, in generating income.” This means that people and know-how can also be considered assets, but EAM manages physical (or tangible) assets, such as vehicles, machinery, buildings, etc. There are exceptions when non-tangible assets are managed for industries such as IT or media.

Another thing worth mentioning is the value and the importance of the assets you intend to manage using EAM. If you have 50 computers, a few printers, and a fax machine, an EAM solution will not be very helpful. Of course, companies using vehicle fleets or heavy machinery will find it very useful.

Who Offers EAM?

There are business software vendors who specialize in EAM (Champs, Corrigo, etc.) but also ERP vendors that offer EAM functionality (Pronto, Lawson, Oracle, SAP, etc). You can find both categories in our Vendor Showcase and even compare them in our EAM Evaluation Center. Other vendors call EAM asset lifecycle management (ALM), and the difference between EAM and ALM is not very clear. To make the asset management landscape even more complicated, some software vendors offer solutions for specific industries like IT asset lifecycle management (ITALM), media asset lifecycle management, and healthcare EAM (HEAM).

Vendors like JDA, InfoTrak, and Jobscope offer maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) software for aircraft and fleet vehicles, which has very similar functionality to EAM.  Finally, vendors like Thales combined EAM with product lifecycle management (PLM) software and the result is product and asset lifecycle management (PALM).

What Does EAM Do?

In a nutshell, EAM should handle maintenance management, work order management, preventive maintenance, calibration management, asset purchasing and inventory management, risk management, inspections, etc.
Some vendors offer financial or human resources (HR) functionality and the integration with other business software types (ERP, PLM, etc.) is very important. In a future blog post I will describe the functionality an EAM product should provide and I will also describe the offerings of the main players in the EAM space.
 
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