CAFM vs CMMS: unraveling key differences

CAFM encompasses the management of all services related to buildings and their occupants, whereas CMMS focuses on the upkeep of equipment. Opting for CAFM or CMMS depends on a company's specific needs for management and maintenance.

Facility management (FM) software, also known as Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM), and Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), are crucial in optimizing the management of a company’s facilities and equipment. You might be wondering how these two concepts differ, the pros and cons of each solution, and how to choose the most suitable software for your needs? This article aims to clarify CAFM and CMMS by examining their principles, goals, features, and the major differences between them. We will explore concrete examples of use in various sectors and guide you through the essential criteria to consider for making the best software choice, whether you’re managing facilities, services, subcontractors, interventions, preventive maintenance, estimates, or reporting. The goal is to enhance your company’s performance and profitability, providing you with clear answers and expert advice for navigating the world of CAFM and CMMS.


CAFM – CMMS : definition and main objectives

What is CAFM ?

FM (Facility Management) software is a dedicated application for the comprehensive management of services associated with a company’s facilities and their users. It encompasses functions such as maintenance, cleaning, security, energy management, purchasing, and maintenance of green spaces, aiming to improve workplace well-being as well as the efficiency and profitability of infrastructure.

 What is CMMS?

A CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) refers to software specialized in the management of maintenance for company equipment and infrastructure. This targeted solution allows for scheduling, monitoring, and evaluating all types of maintenance interventions, whether they are preventive, corrective, or curative, with the goal of ensuring operability, reliability, and longevity of equipment.

Objectives and Basic Functions

CAFM vs. CMMS Basic-objectives-and-functions The main objectives of a Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software and CMMS are to simplify the management of buildings and equipment, reduce expenses, increase productivity, and ensure compliance with safety and quality standards. By understanding and integrating essential functions such as intervention request management, schedule organization, planned preventive maintenance, estimate management, and performance analysis, CAFM and CMMS optimize site management. However, they are distinguished by their scope and approach, with CAFM offering a holistic outlook that takes into account the needs of occupants and environmental requirements, while CMMS concentrates on the technical and managerial aspects of maintenance.


Comparison of Features : CAFM vs. CMMS

Facility Management vs Maintenance Management

Both Facility Management (FM) software and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) aim to optimize the management of a company’s facilities and equipment. However, their approach differs. CAFM handles the full management of services related to buildings and their occupants, including cleaning, security, energy management, purchasing among others. On the other hand, CMMS primarily focuses on the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure, be it preventive, corrective, or curative.

Building Focus (CAFM) vs Equipment Focus (CMMS)

The distinction between CAFM and CMMS extends beyond their functions. The former provides a more comprehensive perspective that aligns with the needs of occupants while considering environmental and regulatory constraints. The latter, by contrast, adopts a more technical approach, concentrating on maintenance with an operational vision centered on technical details and organization.

Integration with Other Management Systems

Whether it’s for CAFM or CMMS, integration with other management systems is possible, such as with Building Management Systems (BMS) for equipment control, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for client interactions. This interconnectivity enhances the efficiency of facility and equipment management, enables cost savings, increases productivity, and ensures compliance with safety and quality standards.


Areas of Application and Usage Examples

CAFM for Real Estate and General Services

Use-in-real-estate-and-general-services CAFM is essential for the management of real estate portfolios and general services, effectively covering complex processes such as site management and subcontractor management. This digital tool facilitates the management of lease agreements, invoices, various fees, taxes, and insurance, and encompasses service management related to cleanliness, security, catering, and mail, among others. The capability of CAFM to provide a cohesive overview of facility management enables better resource utilization, and optimization of workplace well-being as well as performance and profitability of the facilities.

CMMS Focused on Industrial Maintenance and Engineering

Focused-on-industrial-maintenance-and-engineering CMMS software is primarily used in industrial and engineering sectors, which require meticulous and effective maintenance management of equipment and infrastructure. These digital systems allow for precise planning, tracking, and analysis of maintenance operations, whether they are preventive, corrective, or curative. They also facilitate the management of spare parts inventory, orders, and suppliers. With a CMMS, maintenance becomes technical and operational, ensuring the flawless operation, increased reliability, and extended durability of equipment.

Concrete Examples of Usage Across Different Sectors

Here are some practical examples of the use of FM and CMMS software in different sectors:

In healthcare, CAFM can facilitate the management of essential services such as cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, catering, and laundry. CMMS can contribute to the maintenance of medical equipment, such as scanners, radiology devices, and respirators.

In hospitality, CAFM is useful for managing services like reception, concierge, room service, and spa. CMMS helps to maintain hotel equipment, including air conditioning units, elevators, and security systems.

In education, CAFM can simplify the management of services like childcare, canteens, libraries, and transport. Meanwhile, CMMS facilitates the maintenance of educational equipment such as computers, projectors, and interactive whiteboards.



This article has presented a comparison between Facility Management software (CAFM) and Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). You have explored their definitions, objectives, functionalities, methodologies, and their scope of application with practical examples from various fields.

You have also learned how CAFM and CMMS software can be integrated with other management systems like BMS or CRM to improve the management of buildings and equipment. The criteria for selecting an FM or CMMS software suitable for your specific needs were also discussed.

We hope to have enlightened your understanding of these software solutions and their importance in the efficient management of facilities and equipment. For more information on Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM), or to try a tailored solution for free, we invite you to contact us. With the right tools, site management, subcontractor management, and planned preventive maintenance will no longer be a burden, but a performance lever for your company.


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