A commissioning management system (CMS; sometimes referred to as a completions and commissioning management system or CCMS) is often used on upstream and downstream installations due to the large quantity of activities and data affiliated with the entire process. These software systems allow complex operational planning to be better organized and provide an extensive management overview to project leads. They also act as data feeds, monitoring design, construction, and testing processes to gauge efficiency as well as the likelihood of cost overruns. A web-based CMS provides additional flexibility to on-site workers needing to contribute or analyze data remotely. System integration with other tools like design software and enterprise asset management systems gives a CMS additional support for data integration and operational readiness.
A LinkedIn discussion on these systems in late 2014 revealed wide varieties are on the market today, each with their own unique functionality. However, the consensus opinion among responders is the better CMSs offer planning management, procedure management, custom reporting, tag management and validation, and a user-friendly interface that doesn’t require a major time investment to learn. Other functionality like competency and training tracking, quality management, and document management are also vital to a quality CMS. However, system functionality does not necessarily make for a successful completion. Competent, well-trained personnel, an initial database setup with clean asset data, and appropriate business rules are required to implement and use a CMS to its full potential.
Business development manager Glenn Boyko raised another good point in the previously mentioned discussion: regardless of which system you acquire, you’ll have to customize it appropriately. “Typically a CCMS application will require customization to meet the business requirements of your organization,” said Boyko, “so to get a good handle on what the true cost is, an internal vendor questionnaire should be developed and provided to the software vendor when you are in [t]he qualification process.” The questionnaire may be as simple as asking about your business needs or as complex as a specifications document detailing customer requirements and how they’re satisfied by the system.