Asset Management vs Technological Change

Hint: Good Practice is still Good Practice (just with more data)

The evolution of technology has played a vital role in managing assets, including developing more reliable equipment, improved data capture and analysis systems, and training evolution to support these advances. However, whilst each advancement in technology adds to our ability to deliver value from our assets, it doesn’t replace the fundamentals of effective asset management. Experienced asset management professionals have seen the development and implementation of numerous new technologies over the years. Unfortunately, many fail to live up to their promises, resulting in additional cost and complexity with minimal benefit. In this article, Andrew Curry, EnterpriseIS Asset Management Leader, provides his thoughts on implementing new technology related to good asset management.

Manning vs Automation

Managing assets in the fast-paced, globally connected business world we live in is a significant challenge no matter what sector you work within. Asset operators seek to maximise the returns they can generate from their assets. Whilst asset maintainers seek to minimise the costs associated with unplanned breakdowns and ongoing maintenance. Meanwhile, company executives are bombarded with the latest information on new technologies by service providers, equipment manufacturers and start-ups.

While it is easy to get lost in all of the new jargon, acronyms, and technical information, it is often worth taking a step back to look at how far we have come regarding developing and adopting technology to give us some perspective. As you can see from diagram 1, the adoption of new technology in households (the USA in the diagram) has been relatively steady over the past 100 years.  In this time, we have moved from predominantly manual industries, where the machinery was operated by single or multiple operators, to automate production lines and today’s autonomous vehicles. The result is significant improvements in productivity at a site level, accompanied by reductions in manning and improvements to safety and cost. 

AM-VS-Technological-Change
Diagram 1. Technology adoption in US Households, source: https://ourworldindata.org/technology-adoption/

The Technological Change

Experienced asset owners, operators and maintainers have seen these changes numerous times. Introducing computerised management systems (CMMS), advances in site communications technologies, management practices, training and safety systems. Some of these technologies have delivered significant benefits, but often the promises are far more extensive than the actual deliverables. As Asset Management professionals, we need to stay in touch with technological developments that can assist us in improving the way we manage assets without being carried away. However, regardless of the technology available, the essence of good asset management remains the same:

  • A thorough understanding of the assets you are responsible for managing
  • Expertise in the application of asset management theory and methodology
  • Real-world experience managing assets


At their roots, all businesses are people businesses. Whilst plant, systems, equipment, tools etc., are all vital parts of the company, at each end (and sometimes in the middle) of these assets are the people who operate and maintain them. Including every technological innovation that has been implemented and likely, will be implemented. But that doesn’t mean we should be ignorant of technology. We need to be part of the process, including wherever possible, lending our knowledge to those developing these new systems, services and equipment to make sure they are relevant to the industry.

Final Thoughts

So when the next “new technology” turns up at your work, jumps into your inbox, appears in your feed or industry conference, embrace the idea for what it is, an evolution (not necessarily a revolution) in the process.

Additionally, you can learn about it, discuss it with your peers, and determine whether it is something worthwhile, new and valuable for your business. If you can provide feedback to the developer, make it clear, relevant and detailed enough so they can take it back to the drawing board. And then go about managing assets in the best way you can for your business or clients. As a good friend often says, “Technological change is always the same, it’s only the advertising that changes…”.

Let us know about your experiences with Technological Change, contact us through our LinkedIn page: https://au.linkedin.com/company/enterprise-improvement-solutions-australia-pty-ltd or get in touch with us through our contact page

Contact us at the EnterpriseIS office nearest to you or submit an inquiry online.

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