By Brian Devlin

Most mature organisations recognise that a unified, whole-of-organisation approach to asset lifecycle management is critical to achieve best practice alignment and maximise the value of assets across their lifecycle.

This ‘big picture’ approach should seamlessly integrate people, process, data and technology across disparate business functions. It should enable organisations to make informed decisions about how, when and where to allocate resources (whether it be people, money or otherwise), to effectively manage assets and guarantee the delivery of essential services.

But what does this translate to when selecting the software and technology to enable this whole-of-organisation approach?

While it’s important to check off the specific asset lifecycle management features and functions that your solution provides, it’s critical to consider how well it enables your broader organisational requirements and strategic objectives.

Here’s the must-have elements that can’t be overlooked for an effective, enterprise-wide asset lifecycle management solution.

1. Comprehensive

As asset managers are continually being driven to do more with less, every decision about how much, where and when to invest in your assets needs to be justified. This requires comprehensive, consolidated data from across your organisation – including finance, purchasing, contracting, procurement, logistics, maintenance, operations and human resources – to create a single source of truth about your assets.  

International standards like ISO 55000 endorse a whole-of-organisation approach to managing assets. For the benefits of any asset lifecycle management solution to be truly realised, you need to ensure it’s integrated and interrelated.

Your asset lifecycle management solution shouldn’t be separate to your ERP, it should be a central component of your ERP.

What to look for:

  • A solution that covers all key business domains from finance to HR and maintenance/operations
  • Modular by design, allowing you to adopt an implementation strategy that matches your organisations maturity and capability, and build on this as you go
  • Integrated by design, providing genuine real-time information sharing and seamless integration of people, process, data and technology

2. Mobile

Today’s workforce expect access to the business solutions they use anywhere, any time and on any device. Being tied to a desk to complete your day-to-day job just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially if you’ve got geographically dispersed assets or teams.

You also can’t afford to sacrifice useability or functionality on a mobile device. A solution that prioritises workforce mobilisation, as opposed to it being an afterthought, empowers organisations to adopt new and more agile work practices.

For instance, when your field crews no longer need to return to the office for new work instructions, to update asset information or complete a work order, you can expect significant cost reductions and productivity gains.

What to look for:

  • An intuitive and unified user experience, regardless of the device
  • Access to a full set of capabilities on any device, anywhere and at any time
  • Field-based capabilities that can function in connected and disconnected modes

3. Intelligent

Research group IDC forecasts a ten-fold increase in worldwide data by 2025, and 60 per cent of that data will be owned by businesses. Coupled with advances in things like IoT, geospatial tagging and intelligent networks, copious amounts of data about your assets will be generated.

More information presents an opportunity, but only if you can access and interpret it effectively to produce meaningful insights.

A smart software solution connects and presents asset information at the right time and in the right format, that can be easily interpreted and actioned. Dynamic, real-time analytics that presents data and trends in easy-to-digest formats like charts, word clouds and maps are essential to help you shift from reactive to proactive asset decision-making.

What to look for:

  • Real-time, in-built business intelligence and analytical capabilities
  • Real-time data, models and automation that informs and optimises decision-making
  • The latest asset information at your fingertips, in a format that engages and inspires action
  • Capture of information from multiple sources to allow more meaningful and contextualised insights

4. Customer-centric:

In a 24/7 world where service level expectations are ever increasing, being transparent and responsive to customers is critical.

Ineffective communication often stems from inflexible, complex or highly customised heritage IT landscapes that make it too hard to get the right information out to customers in a timely fashion. It’s vital to invest in connected, user-friendly solutions that enable frontline staff to give customers a positive experience.

Ultimately, you need a solution that enables you to externalise pertinent internal information and digitise services. For example, a searchable map-based view on your website of all current and planned maintenance activities and outages.

What to look for:

  • Easily digitised internal information and make it fit for public consumption
  • Information available from any device, at any time
  • User-friendly interfaces that enable non-technical staff to leverage data

5. Secure and scalable

With the increasing threat of cyber security attacks, coupled with increased awareness of the importance of information as a valuable business asset, it’s imperative your software solution supports sound data governance and sovereignty principles.

Ensuring your organisation’s information is available, complete and secure means you need a trustworthy technology partner with an ingrained awareness and commitment to continuous improvement. You must be confident that the solution will be available and up-to-date whenever you need it, you shouldn’t have to worry about the underlying technology that’s required to run your business and manage your assets effectively.

What to look for:

  • Built on world-class infrastructure
  • A scalable platform and application architecture that is built on ‘defense-in-depth’ security architecture principles
  • Cyclical updates to ensure you’re not only getting the latest and greatest features and functions, but importantly, ongoing compliance to the latest data governance, protection and security regulations and policies

These are the must-have, non-negotiable elements of any enterprise solution you’re considering to help manage your assets.

Software that supports a unified view of asset information is often difficult to find when you’ve got complex processes and decisions within your asset-intensive organisation.

When integrating people, process, data and technology across disparate business functions, you must look beyond traditional best of breed “feature/function” checklists for a compatible asset management solution. It’s critical to take a big picture, whole-of-enterprise approach when it comes to selecting the right software and technology to support your business objectives.   

This partner content is brought to you by TechnologyOne. To read more about the benefits of an integrated approach to asset management, download this eBook from TechnologyOne

About Brian Devlin

Brian Devlin is the Industry Director for Asset Intensive Industries at TechnologyOne. He has over 20 years’ experience in the enterprise software industry, predominantly related to the procurement, supply chain and asset lifecycle management domains. Brian has held a variety of business and IT roles including procurement commodity manager, business analyst, functional consultant, solution architect and solution director.

At TechnologyOne, Brian is responsible for ensuring the Asset Intensive Industry strategy is aligned with customer requirements and industry trends.

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