Applied Science, Inc (USA)

My client Applied Science, Inc., a United States leading supplier of medical devices, assigned me to research and evaluate a variety of Asset Management Systems for use in servicing their U.S. and international business. The following is a brief overview of the types of asset management systems I researched for them and how, at the end of this process, they came to select CMDBuild as the best option available.

I began the evaluation process with IBM’s Maximo. This was an incredibly flexible and robust enterprise grade SaaS (Software as a Service). I had no doubt that Maximo could be configured to fit their business model. IBM is very proud of Maximo. We calculated that the user based licensing fees would run $200,000 per year—at a minimum. Ouch! From my viewpoint, this is affordable by only 2 types of businesses.  If your business tracks assets with very high profit margins, or you have a very low ratio of administrative users to assets, you may be able to afford this solution. It was not a good fit for them.

Next, I researched a series of asset management systems that could best be described as “homegrown”. Most of these started out as custom web applications for a single customer. Later, this code base was repurposed for a 2nd and a 3rd and a 4th customer. At some point, the developers decided their code base was a “product”. They also made a lot of assumptions about your business model. If they started off as an asset management tool for an architectural firm, and your business happens to be an architectural firm, then chances are that tool could be a good fit for your business at a very affordable price. However, if your business model differs from the assumptions this software is based on, then trying to making it fit your business model is going to be like shoe horning a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe—very difficult and painful.

Thankfully, I discovered a different class of tools. CMDBuild is a Configuration Management Database. It makes no assumptions about your business model. It abstracts the power of a fully relational database and makes it available through a web interface that’s already been tested and vetted against a wide variety of browsers. You can create your own tables and define relationships between the tables. You can create your own work flow processes and define the logic which takes users from one stage of the process to another. It has a powerful permissions system that can be incredibly granular. You can define permissions by group or even by user, by data class (table) data process (work flow) and even by column (field).

My client has very specific business processes. Providing service and support for medical devices is heavily regulated and trying to shoehorn this business process into somebody else’s software assumptions was just not going to work. CMDBuild’s flexibility seemed ideal for them. CMDBuild is also an open source application. You can deploy it without user based licensing fees!

CMDBuild is meant to be tailor fit to your business model. It starts off as a blank slate and you (with some help from Tecnoteca) define the classes, properties and workflows that match your business needs. You can define almost all of its functions through a web based administrative interface. If you are technically savvy, there’s no reason why you can’t do all of the configuration yourself. For the majority of folks that are not that technically savvy, Tecnoteca is there to support all of your needs. They can provide training for you to configure the system yourself or they can do the configuration for you.

I would recommend CMDBuild and Tecnoteca for any company exploring asset management systems.

Posted on: 31 January 2016

Posted by: Michael Collins

Office/Role: ICT Consultant

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