What is the Difference Between CAFM and CMMS?

Discover the differences between CAFM and CMMS systems to ensure you select the right solution for your needs.

Navigating the world of facilities management software can be confusing, not least because of all the acronyms you encounter along the way. This can make it hard to decipher the differences between the various systems out there, and to determine the right solution for your requirements.

Here, we will clear the air between two of the most prominent acronyms in this landscape: CAFM (Computer Aided Facilities Management) and CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System).

While some people consider these terms interchangeable, there are actually key differences in terms of scope and application that are crucial to know before you commit to a system. This clear, concise guide will help you understand those changes so you know exactly what to look for from your FM solution.

What is CAFM software?

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software is a sophisticated tool designed to enable facility managers to efficiently plan, manage and report on all activities related to the upkeep and optimisation of their properties and buildings.

By centralising facilities data from multiple locations, CAFM software streamlines the entire process of facilities management and maintenance, thereby driving greater efficiency and significantly boosting business performance.

Key aspects/features of CAFM software include property management, space management, asset management, maintenance planning, resource scheduling, workflow management, energy and sustainability, enabling the planning, execution and monitoring of all facility management tasks.

Uses of CAFM software:

CAFM software is suitable for and used by a wide range of organisation types, meeting the specific requirements of different forms of facilities. Below we explore these main categories in more detail.

Key types of users:

Property occupiers

Workplaces, sites and public places must provide a positive experience for occupants. CAFM technology aids FM teams in gaining process efficiencies, delivering exceptional internal service and ensuring compliance. By streamlining operations and maintaining high service standards, CAFM elevates the strategic importance of FM within organisations, contributing to a positive experience for all occupants.

Service providers & contractors

Service providers and contractors leverage CAFM solutions to offer clients fully automated service accounts. This provides a competitive edge by enabling rapid contract mobilisation, regardless of size—from single-user instances to global property portfolios. CAFM software ensures efficient, transparent and scalable service delivery, meeting diverse client needs and enhancing service quality.

Property owners

Delivering excellent service to tenants, ensuring safety and maintaining regulatory compliance are priorities for property owners. A robust FM and building operations platform enhances these capabilities, boosting income streams through additional service offerings, tenant retention and superior maintenance of common areas. CAFM software enables effective asset management, providing a safe and pleasant environment that fosters tenant satisfaction and loyalty.

Key types of CAFM use:

Maintenance management

CAFM software provides comprehensive systems for planned and reactive maintenance, ensuring efficient scheduling, tracking and completion of tasks to minimise downtime and extend asset lifespan. Detailed reporting and analytics enable proactive management of maintenance requirements, reducing the risk of unexpected failures and associated costs.

Building operations & maintenance

CAFM solutions streamline the management of all activities necessary to operate and maintain commercial buildings. These platforms facilitate coordination of building operations, ensuring optimal performance and occupant comfort by integrating various management aspects such as HVAC systems, lighting and security.

Enterprise facilities management

CAFM software fully integrates people, places and processes within buildings or estates, enhancing overall quality of life and occupancy for residents or businesses. This holistic approach improves efficiency, space utilisation and productivity for occupants.

Housing repairs & maintenance

Specialised CAFM systems for housing providers offer end-to-end management of repairs and maintenance tasks, ensuring properties are well-maintained, safe and compliant. Efficient management of repair requests and maintenance schedules enhances the resident experience and supports long-term property value.

What are the benefits of a CAFM?

CAFM software offers numerous benefits for facilities management:

Asset management: CAFM capabilities enhance asset management by increasing the lifespan of assets, improving their performance, lowering downtime, reducing costs and ensuring safety and compliance.

Audit and inspection control: CAFM provides greater control over audits and inspections, with mobile capabilities that help future-proof businesses by ensuring all compliance measures are up-to-date and easily accessible.

Reactive maintenance: The software enables efficient, cost-effective and transparent reactive maintenance. It allows customers to self-serve and stay informed about the progress of maintenance activities, enhancing satisfaction and reducing downtime.

Resource planning: Better resource planning ensures that work is completed on time and within budget. This includes scheduling, resource allocation and tracking progress to optimise the use of available resources.

Contractor compliance: CAFM helps to ensure that all contractors possess the necessary permits and that compliance requirements are met.

Supply chain communication: Effective communication with the entire supply chain ensures that everyone has access to the necessary information.

Other notable benefits include:

  • Operational efficiencies: CAFM accelerates maintenance processes, allowing clients to focus on core business operations.
  • Risk reduction: The software minimises human error, ensuring data accuracy and reliability.
  • Data transparency: It offers high-quality information, enhancing decision-making and supporting your target system.
  • Customer satisfaction: CAFM enhances satisfaction and fosters strong relationships through improved service and communication.
  • Cost savings and revenue insights: The software identifies opportunities for cost savings and increased revenues, improving financial performance.

What is CMMS software?

CMMS, short for Computerised Maintenance Management System, is a software solution designed to streamline and enhance maintenance operations within organisations. It focuses on managing the entire maintenance lifecycle of each asset efficiently and effectively.

Primarily utilised by industries heavily reliant on physical infrastructure, such as manufacturing, engineering, oil and gas and construction, a CMMS plays a vital role in optimising the utilisation and availability of physical equipment, including vehicles and machinery. It facilitates the management of all maintenance, repair and replacement activities associated with these assets, ensuring optimal performance and longevity.

Uses of CMMS software:

A CMMS is used by organisations and industries that depend on workflow management, asset uptime, asset monitoring and operational costs. Common usage environments include:


Manufacturing facilities rely heavily on machinery and equipment to maintain production processes. CMMSs help manage preventive maintenance schedules, track equipment performance and minimise downtime, ensuring uninterrupted production and optimal asset utilisation.

Facilities management
CMMSs are essential for managing maintenance activities in commercial buildings, hospitals, educational institutions and other facilities. They facilitate the upkeep of infrastructure, utilities and systems such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical, ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for occupants.

Transportation and logistics
In transportation and logistics, CMMSs are used to maintain vehicles, aircraft and other transportation assets. They schedule preventive maintenance, track vehicle usage and performance and manage repairs and inspections to ensure compliance with safety regulations and minimise disruptions to operations.

Utilities and energy
Utilities companies rely on CMMSs to maintain infrastructure such as power plants, water treatment facilities and distribution networks. These systems help manage maintenance tasks for critical equipment, monitor asset health and ensure reliability and efficiency in delivering essential services.

What are the benefits of a CMMS?

CMMS software offers numerous benefits which include:

Reduced maintenance costs: By capturing data on maintenance activities, expenses and resource usage, a CMMS facilitates cost analysis and identifies opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvements.

Reduced equipment downtime: With preventive maintenance schedules and real-time alerts for potential issues, organisations can address maintenance needs before they escalate into costly breakdowns, ensuring uninterrupted operations.

Extended lifespan of equipment and assets: By implementing preventive maintenance strategies, CMMS software helps extend the lifespan of equipment and assets. Regular inspections and timely repairs prevent premature wear and deterioration, maximising the longevity and performance of assets.

Compliance with health and safety standards: CMMS software ensures that maintenance activities adhere to regulatory requirements, inspections are conducted on schedule and necessary documentation is maintained, reducing the risk of compliance-related penalties and incidents.

Enhanced asset visibility: With a centralised and detailed asset register, CMMS software offers enhanced visibility into organisational assets. Organisations can access comprehensive asset information, including specifications, maintenance history and warranty details, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic asset management.

Scheduled preventive maintenance initiatives: CMMS software streamlines preventive maintenance initiatives by automating preventive maintenance schedules and reminders. Organisations can proactively address maintenance needs, reduce unplanned downtime and improve asset reliability.

Streamlined/automated processes and improved workflows: From work order generation and assignment to resource allocation and task completion tracking, the software optimises every stage of the maintenance lifecycle, reducing manual effort and enhancing productivity.

Improved workforce management: CMMS software provides visibility into resource availability, skill sets and workload distribution. Organisations can allocate resources effectively, balance workloads and track labour productivity, ensuring optimal workforce utilisation and performance.


A CMMS and a CAFM solution share some similarities but differ in their focus.

A CMMS is primarily geared towards assisting with maintenance work and asset management, making it well-suited for environments with a heavy reliance on equipment.

On the other hand, a CAFM solution encompasses a broader range of facility management functions beyond maintenance. It addresses everything from managing physical office space to asset tracking and space management/occupancy.

Typically, businesses with large office spaces find CAFM solutions more beneficial, while CMMS is better suited to environments with significant equipment usage.

Contact MRI Software

If you would like to find out more about how MRI’s facilities management software can help your organisation maintain a well-run facility and control its repairs and maintenance operations to deliver a first-class service, contact us today.

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