The importance of Information Requirements to a successful Asset Information Management (AIM) System

Introduction

One of the challenges is the Appointing Party’s difficulties with the development of successful Operational Information Requirements in relation to asset management.

Understanding the business challenges that define the fundamental aspect of a company is needed to allow the development of prioritised goals that are consistent with business objectives.[1] The Operational Information Requirements discussed here correlate to the business strategic operational and asset management objectives as well as activities such as portfolio planning, governing responsibilities or policymaking. [2]

To understand the difficulties in the development of operational information requirements, it is critical to understand the attributes of an asset and asset management system.

An asset is anything that has value, whether a resource or a value that can be converted into capital. Organisation or individual expects the asset to provide future benefits to its owners, employees, customers, or environment. [3]

The Asset Management system enables organisations to realise the value of the asset to achieve their organisational goal.  An asset is something that has potential or actual value for the organisation. Organisations use asset management systems to direct, coordinate and control asset management activities in line with the purpose of the organisation. [4]

Organisations can be a public limited company, a non-profit organisation, or a private company, small, medium-sized, large, multinational, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Importance of Organisational strategy

According to a study by the Institute of Management, setting and achieving organisational goals can help to increase organisational effectiveness by improving efficiency, productivity and profitability. [5]

These organisational goals should be aligned with the organisation’s long-term strategic objectives and supported in their implementation by an Asset Management System.

The term “organisational effectiveness” implies the ability to adapt future strategies and behaviours to environmental change and to optimise the contribution of technology and human resources. [6]

To be able to adapt future strategy, first, the organisation must have a scheme in place, the framework to be useful it must have a purpose.

At the organisation level, the targeted approach can be strategic, project-wide, or relate to a product or process.

While developing targets organisation should create a basis which will allow a modification of objectives proved to be unrealistic or be a result of business strategy change. [5]

The success or failure of the strategy can be understood only when the intended outcome expressed as a purpose, an operational principle, or asset management goal is recorded measured and analysed.

Therefore, the goal should be consistent with the overreaching organisational objectives, clearly defined in the asset management policy so its intended function can be quantified and evaluated. [7]

Information activities during operation of an Asset  

It is essential to understand the information management activities occurring during the asset life cycle. The typical activities include short and long-term objectives such as:

  • planning of maintenance,
  • forecasting of needs in terms of services,
  • monitoring and assessment to allow optimisation of processes,
  • the budgets required to cater to the needs of the business. [8]

The most common and complicated part is the management of functioning data. In terms of a built asset, a majority have several automatic monitoring and control systems. The asset must comply with various environmental standards such as Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), to name a few. The assets have Building Monitoring Systems (BMS), used to monitor and control plant, energy consumption or a lighting control system. Such systems produce a lot of data which need to be securely stored, accessed, and managed. [9]

Thus an information technology (software and hardware) play a crucial role in information infrastructure management; however, the variety of solutions available for a wide range of industries is staggering this, in turn, can lead to unnecessary complexity. 

Moreover, depending on the size of an organisation, the volume of assets can be overwhelming, especially in the case of large investment stakeholders. 

To manage the assets effectively, the organisations must have an up-to-date inventory list, respective maintenance plans, equipment upgrade plans and budget plans. [10]

The responsibility of Appointing Party

The recently published BS EN ISO 19650-3 standard intended for the operational phase of the assets illustrates the information management process and include examples of activities requiring asset information and Organisational Information Requirements (OIR)

The expected users of the standards are the asset and facilities managers, the appointed parties and task teams such as contractors. [11]

The ISO 19650 Part 3 standard describes principal rationales to manage Information in line with ISO 19650 framework an include general responsibilities of the Appointed Party, for example, the requirements to establish an Asset Information Model (AIM) or to ensure processes are in place to maintain it.

However, in terms of OIR’s purpose related to asset performance, the guidance is very limited.

To summarise

I believe that one of the difficulties in developing successful operational information requirements is the lack of reliable evaluation of the currently available asset information.

If the feedback is available, the various systems are often incompatible, and the data lose the ability to provide the appointing party with informative feedback and ability to measure outcome against its purpose.

In such a scenario, the appointing party is unable to make an informed decision based on historical data for the benefit of its unique organisation. It must instead rely heavily on the guidance of experts and standards.

Yet, a suitable information management system closely linked to the size and character of the organisation can help to transform information about assets into actionable data that can be used to increase the life span of an asset, profits and reduce risk. [12], like ways, it can assist in the provision of better realisation of the organisational assessment of need

While considering what adjustments can be made to BS EN ISO 19650 framework to assist the appointing party with the development of an asset management system. I believe that although the principles confined within ISO 19650 can support appointing parties with an effective and efficient set-up and production of the OIR requirements, the framework defines the high-level information management only.  Therefore, companies should look into ISO 55000, 55001 & 55002 standards for further guidance on the development of asset management systems.


[1]        Reflective, “4 Steps for Aligning Your Organizational Goals.” (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[2]        British Standards Institution, BS EN ISO 19650‑1:2018. BSI, 2018.

[3]        Indeed, “What Is an Asset,” Feb. 04, 2020. (accessed Nov. 24, 2020).

[4]        British Standards Institution., BS ISO 55002:2018 Asset management – Management Systems. BSI Standards Ltd, 2018.

[5]        M. Rouse, “What is organizational goals? – Definition from WhatIs.com,” Nov. 2018. (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[6]        J. Arnold, “Four Reasons You Need to be Thinking About Goal Alignment,” May 01, 2019. (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[7]        J. Wityk, “objective,” Digital Construction, Nov. 23, 2020. (accessed Nov. 23, 2020).

[8]        R. Nickl, “Why is Facility Management Software Important for Productivity?” (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[9]        G. Banos, “20 Assets Every Facilities Manager Should Be Tracking Today,” Mar. 14, 2019. (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[10]       C. Roush, “Asset and Facility Management: The Right Solution Can Mean Better Service for Your Clients – Asset Panda,” Oct. 24, 2018. (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

[11]       UKBIM ALLIANCE, “Guidance Part 3: Operational phase of the asset life-cycle,” 2020. [Online].

[12]       Enasys, “Facility Asset Management & Inventory Tracking Software.” https://www.enasys-usa.com/industries-facilities-management-asset-tracking (accessed Nov. 21, 2020).

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