Everything you wanted to know about Enterprise Asset Management

April 7, 2017 Barry Kelly

I love idioms, and, when I talk to organizations about asset management, they often express their fear that it represents the equivalent effort of trying to “boil the ocean.” I’ll suggest that you should start with a cup of tea.

The concept of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) has been around for a long time — certainly long before I entered the industry — and probably more has changed in terms of day-to-day EAM than has remained the same. Certainly, many industries have seen regulations driving the expansion of their EAM programs, but the core purpose remains helping those who manage assets make better, more informed decisions.

As technology has been introduced and continues to evolve, the quality, quantity and complexity of information tracked changes too. More and more, the spatial component of an EAM program’s becoming essential to success. Whether you manage a municipality, electric utility, mine site, facility or other infrastructure, most of your assets will have a spatial component.

What Role does GIS Play in Enterprise Asset Management? 

Spatial location’s typically the one common aspect among all the data being tracked today. We can understand the relationship between assets, field work, customers, rehabilitation and replacement plans by their spatial location and interconnection.  A map’s often the easiest way for humans to aggregate many sources of data together to visualize them all and understand how they affect each other.  

When we spatially enable our data, we can then use the analytical power of GIS to gain a better understanding of how our assets are performing, how they affect our customers and the level of service we provide to them.  From years of working with various entities, we’ve seen GIS become the gateway where large amounts of asset data enter the organization and where its basic characteristics (location, size, installation date, material, etc.) is maintained. So, maps from GIS are the natural place to visualize, analyze and explore many pieces of asset related data and enable you to manage your assets better (maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement) and gain operational intelligence.

At the end of 2015, we introduced a series ArcGIS field apps to help users harness the power of location to improve coordination and achieve operational efficiencies in field workforce activities. These apps help reduce or even replace the reliance on paper note taking in the field and ensure that everyone, whether working in the field and the office, uses the same authoritative data to reduce errors, boost productivity and ultimately save money.

See how to improve field operating efficiency with ArcGIS apps. Eliminate your reliance on paper-based workflows to coordinate and monitor field work activities.

From the Field to the Office: Webinar Series

The accompanying webinar prompted a flood of questions and concerns. Here we land back on the “boiling the ocean” idiom. The common view expressed was “EAM is a massive, disruptive undertaking, and we don’t know where to start,” or “we’re already down a certain path and don’t know what to do next. ” My suggestion is to start with tea; boil just one cup of water. Whether you’re at the starting line or mid-program roll out, the best method of moving forward it to focus on achieving a single level of competency, mastering it and then moving on to the next.

To explore this subject in detail, we’ll be hosting a series of webinars and regional presentations throughout the year with focus on the different components of a comprehensive EAM program.  Whether you’re new to asset management or a seasoned veteran, there’ll be topics that can bring new consideration to your approach.

Our first webinar will focus on how to Establish a System of Record to centralize and manage a quality database product. Proper data governance can assist with an ongoing data quality improvement process. The intent is to make the core work you do every day more efficient from all aspects. We’ll look at the concepts and tools that are available to all organizations and outline the core components to ensure success.

The subsequent two webinars will build on those initial pieces as we explore how to “Enable a System Engagement” (June 27) to empower more people with the information they need and how to leverage spatial information to enhance your analysis of issues and trends within a “System of Insight” (October 26).

We’ll use real case studies to talk about the impact each stage of Enterprise Asset Management adoption has brought to organizations of various sizes and industries while sharing specific templates and resources that you can use to elevate your EAM practice.

Join us on April 27 for our first installment.

About the Author

Barry Kelly

Barry Kelly is the Public Works Industry Manager for Esri Canada. A Certified Engineering Technologist, he has over 30 years of experience in both geographic information system (GIS) and computer-aided drafting (CAD) disciplines. His expertise includes implementing maintenance management, automated vehicle location, lifecycle planning, long-term planning and asset valuation solutions. Along with serving on the Ontario Public Works Association’s Executive Board, Barry enjoys camping, skiing, golf and travel.

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