Home Topics What is enterprise asset management (EAM)? What is enterprise asset management (EAM)?
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What is EAM?

Enterprise asset management (EAM) is the combination of software, systems and services that maintain and control operational assets and equipment. The aim of EAM 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 by 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 are asset intensive, which means they have hundreds, thousands or even millions of assets.

Assets come in many shapes and sizes—such as railroads, pipelines, manufacturing equipment, transportation fleets and 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
  • Resolve issues before they happen
  • Monitor assets smarter
  • Maximize asset utilization
  • Manage aging assets and infrastructure
  • Elevate maintenance management
  • Consolidate operational applications

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 EHS 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

See the IBM EAM solutions

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

Manage both planned and unplanned work centrally, 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, when repairs are scheduled, and predictive maintenance, when repairs are made because data indicates imminent failure.

Planning and scheduling

View work orders and preventive maintenance schedules graphically on a Gantt chart. Intuitively handle work order management to help dispatchers manage task and work dependencies.

Supply chain management

Integrate assets and their maintenance materials into the supply chain, from sourcing to usage. Effective tools should incorporate IoT technologies that help integrate EAM with supply chain management systems.

Health and safety

Document and report EHS 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 radio frequency identification. 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 to automate the planning, scheduling and work management processes based on analysis.


Support software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud-based deployment or hybrid cloud deployment to control costs, improve system flexibility and decrease dependency on IT.

Explore Maximo Application Suite
EAM and SaaS

The future of EAM might be in the cloud. Hosted in the cloud, SaaS EAM offers the flexibility to expand and contract with data demands. Users pay only 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.

Service providers make upgrades 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 emphasize the importance of managing work and assets to adhere to regulations, focusing on precise state management, workflows, escalations and electronic signatures. These strategies are designed to meet strict regulatory requirements for health, safety and security.

EAM optimizes operations across industries

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

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EAM case studies Amsterdam Airport 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. Use 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 EAM to manage any asset, anytime, any place.

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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.

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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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