Customer Onboarding – A Critical Part of CMMS Success

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If you’ve started the process of adding a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS software) to your operation, then you already know that it involves much more than a financial investment.  It also requires a commitment to the time and energy needed to ensure that the system does what it’s designed to do. What needs to be understood is that any CMMS on its own, no matter how many bells and whistles it has, won’t perform to its potential unless the users understand its purpose, value and method of operation. Without consistent and appropriate user involvement, a CMMS runs the risk of falling short of its intended mark.

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The term “onboarding” refers to the process of implementing a company’s maintenance management software to ensure that it’s ready to use and can be operated by all designated users. The process of onboarding is multifaceted, and involves regular consultations, data integration, software configuration and customer training that meets the specific needs of each organization. The goal of the onboarding process is to educate users on the system implementation, and in doing so, it motivates and encourages them to adopt the system into their daily work routines.

Here are 5 reasons why onboarding is an indispensable tool in successful implementation of a CMMS:

1. Onboarding Increases the Users’ Understanding of the CMMS Software Features and Capabilities

CMMSs are highly sophisticated software systems that utilize thousands of data points which, at any given time, can provide an overview of a facility’s operations or, alternatively, the status of an individual piece of equipment. Maintenance management software are extremely powerful systems when used to their full potential. However, new users are often resistant to trading in well-established work routines for an unfamiliar and outwardly challenging new process. Users’ reluctance to regularly use a maintenance management system degrades the system’s overall effectiveness. One way to overcome user resistance is through the onboarding training component. With step-by-step instruction on CMMS implementation, ongoing support and a comprehensive system setup, user hesitation can be replaced with confidence in a system’s value and operation.

2. Onboarding Increases User Adoption of the Software

The term “adoption,” as it relates to maintenance management systems, refers to its actual use. Using a CMMS effectively goes well beyond simply providing users with usernames and passwords. To perform optimally, all users must regularly login and engage with the CMMS software. The onboarding process provides users with a full understanding of the scope of a CMMS and its operation. When users are well trained in CMMS operation, they’re more likely to make the most of all of its features, including mobile access, email and digital photo uploads. When a CMMS is fully adopted by users, the software can be used as its intended, resulting in a higher return on investment (ROI) for a company.

3. Onboarding Increases Buy-In from Users in the Organization

The term “buy-in” refers to a user embracing the implementation of a CMMS system, as well as the decision to use it. User buy-in is an essential and necessary step in achieving user adoption, as previously noted. The buy-in phase in the onboarding process helps a reluctant user overcome his/her initial resistance to making changes to an established routine. This is done by exposing the user to the value of the software, and showing them why the change needed to be made. When a user sees that a CMMS is easy to use, saves time and is more efficient, they’ll view the time and energy involved in learning how to use it as well worth the effort.

4. Onboarding Establishes a Better Relationship Between the Customer and the CMMS Vendor

Ongoing support to clients is another service offered by many CMMS vendors. The belief is that when users are properly educated about their software system, they’ll be motivated to continue using it. Having access to ongoing support is also an important step in building a better relationship between the customer and the software vendor. The security in knowing that when there’s a need to reach out to support services, CMMS users can interact with a knowledgeable technician who’s able to attend to their concerns in a timely fashion.  A successful onboarding process informs users about support services and how to access it, as well as when and how to use it.

5. The More Invested in Onboarding, the Higher the Probability of CMMS Success

User adoption of CMMS systems, when assisted by effective onboarding, leads to increased efficiency and a greater ROI. On the other hand, CMMS failure may result from not having invested sufficient time in the onboarding process. A research review by Bryan Weir of Perspective CMMS supported this notion. He reported that rates of CMMS failure range from 40-80%. Additionally, MRO Today magazine reported that approximately 80% of CMMS users in the US do not use all the available functions of their systems. These findings raise a question: how many companies avail themselves of onboarding services? It appears that without effective onboarding, the potential for fully benefiting from a CMMS is greatly reduced, because fewer users may be motivated to invest in its regular use. Moreover, without the necessary set up and user training, users are unable to fully make use of the maintenance management system as it was designed.


There’s no doubt that CMMSs have tremendous potential, which is greatly enhanced by onboarding services. Investing in onboarding leads to increased user adoption, which in turn leads to a higher ROI. All considered, it’s a definite win-win for both users and vendors.

Hippo CMMS Onboarding Infographic

Source: Hippo CMMS


This article was written by guest blogger Reena Sommer. Reena originally hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently resides in the Houston, Texas area. In 1994, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Ph.D. in Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies. Over the years, she’s had diverse careers as a researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, a mental health consultant to First Nations communities and as a self employed trial consultant. Now retired, Dr. Sommer spends her time traveling, visiting her Winnipeg family and providing content writing for Hippo CMMS.

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Hippo CMMSCustomer Onboarding – A Critical Part of CMMS Success

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