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FREE preventive maintenance software

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The Unfiltered Truth about Free Preventive Maintenance Software

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With a quick Google search for “preventive maintenance software,” you’ll quickly find numerous options. Software Advice shows 192 results for preventive maintenance software. To initiate trial use and make purchasing less risky, many B2B software providers include free plans or “Freemiums” among their offerings. While appealing, Freemiums can be misleading since they often don’t include the functional requirements to manage preventive maintenance effectively at most maintenance operations. Most Freemiums come with scaled-down features or limit the volume of work orders or usage, so most subscribers must upgrade to a paid plan.  In addition to Freemiums, another option for free preventive maintenance software is open source alternatives. Open-source options tend to be on-premise deployments, have less appealing user interfaces, offer lower levels of support, and are better suited for more tech-savvy users. 

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This article explores why maintenance professionals should be cautious when subscribing to free preventive maintenance software.  On the surface, free options are very attractive; they don’t require funding, and in some cases, they deliver enough features to improve maintenance operations, especially for users transitioning from paper and pen or spreadsheets. In many cases, users will find the product depth and vendor support that comes with free versions insufficient. It’s wise that CMMS users manage expectations based on Freemiums’ limitations.

Examining Google search data concerning the intent surrounding free preventive maintenance software reveals valuable insights. Additionally, the central architect in this discussion – the open source environment around preventive maintenance – plays a significant role in shaping this narrative of "free." We, therefore, recommend that those considering free preventive maintenance software take the first step by thoroughly researching and weighing each option's advantages and disadvantages before committing to  Free software.

Google “Free Preventive Maintenance Software”

Most SaaS solutions, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, are sold online through remote methods. This trend also holds for preventive maintenance software. Consequently, examining how individuals use Google to search for such software is reasonable, emphasizing using free preventive maintenance options. Valuable statistics can be obtained from a reliable source such as Google Keyword Planner. Interestingly, it appears that those seeking preventive maintenance software do not exhibit a strong preference for the complimentary alternatives. While the market likes “Free,” it does not seem to prefer it.

 

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1 in 6 Searchers Want Free Preventive Maintenance Software

Going by the keyword search volume, the demand for “free” is less than 16% of the overall search for preventive maintenance software. This number is reflected for September 2023 and the 3rd quarter of 2023 (July to September). 

Sept 2023

US

%

World

%

free preventive maintenance software

90

15.79%

170

14.53%

preventive maintenance software

480

84.21%

1,000

85.47%

Total (Search Volume)

570

 

1,170

 

July - Sept 2023 (Q3)

US

%

World

%

free preventive maintenance software

250

15.63%

450

14.02%

preventive maintenance software

1,350

84.38%

2,760

85.98%

Total (Search Volume)

1,600

 

3,210

 

What does this point to? It appears that consumers do not find material value in the free preventative maintenance software proposition. Only a handful are looking for a complimentary option. Moreover, as seen below, the number has remained FLAT over the past few years.

Demand for Free Preventive Maintenance Software is Stagnant

From the Google Keyword Planner, the search volume trend has been flat. If we look at the following 2 tables showing search volume for the United States and global, we see that search volume (an indicator of demand) has been stable since October 2019. 

free preventive maintenance software search volume for the us

free preventive maintenance software search volume for the world

The graphs above also show that search volume for “preventive maintenance software” has remained stable except for a spike in the first half of 2022. The takeaway is that the demand for FREE software hasn’t grown in the last 4 years and except for an increase in 2022, the demand for preventive maintenance software as a whole has remained stable..

Not Surprising…

Upon examining the results from a Google search using the keyword "free preventive maintenance," the findings are telling. When searching for "free preventive maintenance software," one might expect to discover actual free options, which businesses can use to manage preventive maintenance at no cost. However, the top search results direct you to websites where Free PM software is not the focus. Search results direct you to content where free preventive maintenance software  is a loss-leader.

Search results show freemium preventive maintenance software, but they are very limited in functionality, making them not a realistic option for most maintenance operations. Paid subscription plans are positioned next to no cost options to get eyeballs and initiate trials and demos.  

This observation raises questions about what can be inferred from these search results, which predominantly display commercial options despite the initial query for free solutions. It is also noteworthy that many of the websites appearing in the first few results claim to list free preventive maintenance software but instead feature commercial (subscription at a cost) products. As mentioned already, loss-leader and we can even go so far as “Click Bait” best describes this marketing strategy.

A valuable takeaway from this investigation is that there is no “free lunch”. The pursuit of free preventive maintenance software is unlikely to yield the desired results for most maintenance professionals. There are however, a few open-source, free maintenance software options such as Apache OFbiz and CalemEAM. These open-source options are feature-rich and can deliver great value especially given that there is no cost. Open-source options tend to offer less in user interface, mobile capabilities and customer support. Check out this article on free CMMS software for more information thes open-source platforms. 

Challenges with open source preventive maintenance software

At the outset, the open source software sounds promising. Open source preventive maintenance software that’s free and is feature-rich is very attractive. Open-source options comes with challenges; TCO and user support, that are barriers for many.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

In evaluating preventive maintenance software open source, for streamlining maintenance processes, numerous businesses are enticed by the prospect of free or low-cost solutions. However, it is essential to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO), encompassing developer resources, customization necessities, training, and time-to-market. To make an informed decision between freemium or open-source options, TCO factors such as development costs (e.g., salaries), project management expenditures (e.g., server costs), overhead (e.g., training), and upgrading fees (e.g., security updates) must be considered.

Going forward with open-source preventive maintenance software is not an easy decision. The upfront cost of accessing open-source is ZERO, but the development and consequent maintenance add to the total cost of ownership (TCO). 

  • Development costs include the salaries of the development team, project management, server costs, and overhead.
  • Maintenance costs include training, upgrading, security, troubleshooting, and unforeseen issues.

A Thriving Support Community is Critical to Success

Open-source options have contributed to global growth and created collaborative communities composed of contributors and volunteers. Linux (operating system), Drupal, and WordPress (CMS) are some examples of great software applications that started as open-source and continue to be community-led. But, open-source hasn’t taken off the same way in the asset maintenance and maintenance management arena. If you see the CalemEAM CMMS example, the open-source model is a loss-leader for their commercial cloud version.

Focus on ROI, Less on Subscription Fees

Most maintenance teams are advised to direct their efforts toward identifying reliable and credible preventive maintenance software options rather than expending time searching for a viable free alternative. Driving speed to value and generating a return on investment (ROI) from the chosen software is more sensible than seeking free options. While it is acknowledged that budget constraints may be a reason for exploring free alternatives, they are unlikely to achieve the results most organizations are seeking.

To address budget challenges, freemiums offer an excellent opportunity for maintenance teams to conduct trials and proof of concepts before fully committing to a preventive maintenance software investment. Smaller maintenance teams might require focused point solutions and may be hesitant to undertake comprehensive software implementation. If preventive maintenance is the priority rather than extensive asset maintenance, point solution software should be considered. Click Maint is an example of software that provides this option and has been designed with this purpose in mind.

We at  Click Maint suggest that  maintenance professionals considering  CMMS should concentrate on finding viable options capable of generating ROI and speed to value, rather than spending time evaluating free options. The free software option is best thought of as a stepping stone to a more sophisticated option or to be used by small organizations with limited assets. If getting executive buy-in is a challenge, check on this article; How to Get Executive Buy-in for CMMS.

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