What is EAM?
Enterprise asset management (EAM) combines software, systems and services to help maintain, control and optimize the quality of operational assets throughout their lifecycles
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What is enterprise asset management?

Enterprise asset management (EAM) is a combination of software, systems and services used to maintain and control operational assets and equipment. The aim is to optimize the quality and utilization of assets throughout their lifecycle, increase productive uptime and reduce operational costs.

Enterprise asset management involves work management, asset maintenance, planning and scheduling, supply chain management and environmental, health and safety (EHS) initiatives.

In the Internet of Things (IoT) era — with everything from valves to vehicles connected by sensors and systems — practitioners are incorporating advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) into EAM. Data gathered from instrumented assets is analyzed using AI techniques. The resulting insights help maintenance teams make better decisions, enhance efficiency, perform preventive maintenance and maximize investments in their physical assets.

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What is the difference between EAM and CMMS?

EAM is often associated with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), but a closer look at EAM versus CMMS reveals they are different. A CMMS can be one aspect of EAM. It focuses on centralizing information to facilitate and automate maintenance management processes. EAM is an asset lifecycle management approach that supports asset performance from acquisition to disposal.

Learn more about CMMS
Why is enterprise asset management important?

EAM is important because it helps organizations track, assess, manage and optimize asset quality and reliability. Organizations of all kinds have hundreds, thousands, even millions of assets. They are asset intensive.

Assets come in many shapes and sizes — railroads, pipelines, manufacturing equipment, transportation fleets, windmills — and include virtually any piece of equipment needed to sustain production, services and operations. EAM best practices help maintenance teams gain greater control of complex environments to:

  • Centralize asset information: A CMMS, as part of EAM, tells maintenance managers where an asset is, what it needs, who should work on it and when. It automates critical asset management workflows and makes them accessible and auditable.
  • Resolve issues before they happen: Asset management software supports preventive capabilities to maintain equipment for stable, continuous operations. It helps ensure warranty compliance and preempt issues that disrupt production.
  • Monitor assets smarter: AI-powered remote monitoring delivers actionable insight into current and expected states of assets. It aggregates data across departments and information silos, allowing for fewer, more accurate alerts and enhanced decision-making.
  • Maximize asset utilization: Historical and real-time data collected from IoT devices and analytical and diagnostic tools help extend the availability, reliability and usable life of physical assets.
  • Manage aging assets and infrastructure: Equipment lifecycles are extended through more informed maintenance strategies and by embedding risk management into business processes to improve return on investment.
  • Elevate maintenance management: IoT, AI and analytics enhance equipment maintenance practices. Asset tracking and traceability meet increasingly complex environmental, health and safety requirements.
  • Consolidate operational applications: EAM helps establish a single technology system to manage virtually all asset types. Processes are unified and standardized for wide-ranging asset functions across an enterprise.

See how mobile EAM helps field service management

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CHS evolves from preventive to predictive EAM

John Myers of CHS, Inc. has been working with IBM Maximo® for over 20 years and witnessed the shift in EAM to predictive maintenance. Hear why, with the cloud and IoT, he still sees new possibilities in working with Maximo.

Key features of effective EAM

Work management
Centrally manage planned and unplanned work, from initial request through completion and including the recording of actuals.

Phases of maintenance
Move from corrective maintenance, when repairs are made after a problem occurs, to preventive maintenance (using scheduled repairs) and predictive maintenance, when repairs are made because data indicates imminent failure.

Planning and scheduling
Graphically view work orders and preventive maintenance schedules on a Gantt chart. Intuitively navigate work order management to help dispatchers manage task and work dependencies.

Supply chain management
Assets and the materials used to maintain them are part of the supply chain. Effective solutions should incorporate IoT technologies that help integrate EAM with supply chain management systems.

Health and safety
Document and report environmental, health and safety concerns. Reduce risk by using incident analysis, corrective action traceability and process change management.

Accomplish more from reading meters to capturing electronic signatures to using bar codes and RFID. Take advantage of smartphone capabilities such as photos and voice-to-text to capture information and deliver tools, documentation and collaboration.

Run extended and enhanced analytics, often powered by AI, to gain operational insights. Use optimization models can be used to automate the planning, scheduling and work management processes based on analysis.

Support SaaS, cloud-based deployment or hybrid cloud deployment to control costs, improve system flexibility and decrease dependency on IT.

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EAM and SaaS

The future of EAM may be in the cloud. Hosted in the cloud, SaaS EAM offers the flexibility to expand and contract with data demands. Users only pay for the data resources they need. SaaS requires far less intervention and support from IT than on-premises deployments. As a result, capital expenses related to IT can be converted into operational expenses and resources.

Upgrades are made by service providers in the cloud, so the latest versions and functionality are always applied. SaaS also integrates new technologies faster and with less risk.

Read why IDC positions IBM as a leader for SaaS and cloud-enabled EAM
Applications and industries
Energy and utilities

Transmission and distribution of water, wastewater, gas and electric power requires capabilities for linear assets such as pipelines or powerlines. These systems also need to accommodate complex crew scheduling and consider geospatial information from remote assets.

Chemicals, petroleum and mining

These industries place an emphasis on integrating safety, reliability, compliance and performance into workflows. EAM systems are needed to reduce costs by standardizing and improving maintenance practices and fostering collaboration.


Manufacturing includes an array of sectors: automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, industrial products, consumer products and more. In these contexts, EAM systems become part of overall process management methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma and complement product lifecycle management requirements.


The focus for these applications is providing details about assets and inventory that enable a service or logistic function. Fuel management, driver logs, spare parts, bay schedules and other data are critical to maintaining rail, road and air traffic operations.

Life sciences

These systems monitor, track and manage equipment, facilities and mobile assets. Management of standards, traceability and e-signature is critical. Documentation packages are used to help meet and validate complex regulatory requirements.


Healthcare EAM solutions must manage complex relationships between facilities and equipment readiness. They track and locate critical assets, monitor facility conditions, comply with reporting requirements and integrate with operational health information systems.

Nuclear power

Nuclear organizations stress work and asset management to support regulations through detailed state management, workflows, escalations and e-signature. Solutions consider stringent regulatory compliance for health, safety and security.

EAM optimizes operations across industries

See why asset-intensive industry leaders use IBM Maximo EAM solutions.

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EAM case studies Amsterdam Airport at Schiphol

Avoiding delays due to equipment failure is a big win in the airport business. Schipol deployed a mobile EAM solution that automatically prioritizes incidents and gets them efficiently addressed in the field.

IBM solutions
Asset management

Manage and maintain high-level assets with IBM Maximo Application Suite, using AI and analytics to optimize performance, extend asset lifecycles and reduce operational downtime and costs.

Explore asset management capabilities
Mobile EAM

Empower the connected technician with intelligent mobile enterprise asset management (EAM) to manage any asset, anytime, any place.

Explore mobile EAM
Workplace safety

Turn data into actionable insights to improve workplace safety. Put compliance at the center of safety, making it easier to identify and eliminate hazards.

Explore workplace safety solutions
EAM resources Asset management blog

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Take the next step

Unlock the full potential of your enterprise assets with IBM Maximo Application Suite by unifying maintenance, inspection, and reliability systems into one platform. It’s an integrated cloud-based solution that harnesses the power of AI, IoT, and advanced analytics to maximize asset performance, extend asset lifecycles, minimize operational costs and reduce downtime.

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