What Are the Criteria for Good Asset Management Technologies?

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Organizations have been putting up with bad asset management technologies for a long time. We all see that. It pains me every day to see big companies using excel sheets to track thousands of moving assets. “Excel sheets are bad technology for asset management.” I said it in my LinkedIn Post.

So let’s not put up with bad asset management technologies. Then the question is “What Are Good Asset Management Technologies?”

I believe Usability should be a table stake. In today’s world, users should expect their business software easy to use – intuitive user interface, minimal key strokes to accomplish a standard workflow, and easy to customize. The implementation of new software should be simple and straightforward. It should be predictable, with transparent cost.

In addition, Asset Management technologies should meet three key criteria:

  1. Flexible – Users can customize data fields, workflows, and reports. They should be able to accomplish those even they have no database or programming expertise.
  2. Extendable – Users should expect the Asset Management technology to easily exchange data with other systems, such as procurement, IT Network Discovery tools, etc. The business processes in the organization will dictate the protocol for data exchange, but the technology should support the data exchange efficiently.
  3. Mobile – Users should be able to use smartphones, tablet computers to manage assets in the field. For example, take a picture and audit an asset, transfer and receive an asset. Also, the Asset Management technology should support all the mobile asset tracking technologies, such as RFID, GPS, and remote sensors.

These three criteria are essential for the Asset Management technology to support the organization’s asset management practices.

Asset management practices require the coordination among many stakeholders, frequent monitoring of Key Performance Indicators of assets, and regular audits of assets in fixed locations and in the fields. Asset Management, as defined in British Standards Institute Publically Available Specification (PAS) 55, is:

Systematic and coordinated activities and practices through which an organization optimally and sustainably manages its assets and asset systems, their associated performance, risks and expenditures over their life cycles for the purpose of achieving its organizational strategic plan.”

Using the Flexible, Extendable, and Mobile criteria, we can easily see why “Excel sheets” or “Client Server type of asset management applications” are bad technologies.

Technologies are only useful if they support the strategic goals of an organization. As I have argued here before, organizations need to take a disciplined approach to managing their assets. They also need to carefully select the right technologies to support their asset management goals.

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