How does Next Generation Asset Management Software differ from traditional ones and what can they do for you?
Asset management software has been around for a long time. Broadly defined, it refers to any system that monitors and maintains things of value to an entity or group. Non-financial assets typically fall under two major types of assets in the enterprise:
- Assets that are used to carry core business functions (e.g. plant machinery)
- Assets that are used in support functions (e.g. company cars, mobile devices, IT equipment)
Companies started to use asset management mainly for inventory purposes and to ensure their availability to users. Such systems also appeared to automate operational and administrative tasks required to manage all of these assets. Things have evolved and in such a competitive landscape companies are now required to find solutions to manage their assets even more efficiently and proactively control their costs.
Emergence of New Needs
Over the years companies needs for an asset management solution seem to have evolved:
From basic inventory to sophisticated cost optimisation
Companies’ interest in asset management started with production/operational assets. Indeed, it was critical for asset intensive industries such as manufacturing and construction to track assets that were at the heart of their business using complex Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems. With cost pressures increasing, companies also started to look after cost of assets used in supporting functions such as vehicles and IT end-user equipment. Asset specific management software such as fleet management and IT asset management solutions became increasingly popular. Initially they were mainly used for inventory purposes, tracking the allocation of users or to facilitate administrative tasks to manage them. However, since purchasing processes have matured and significant savings were already made through negotiation with the asset software provider, companies have started to look for other types of savings. They started to realise that could achieve more by obtaining and controlling the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of their assets.
So, today, companies expect fixed asset management tools to:
- Track location, usage and consumption of assets
- Ensure optimal availability (pool/shared usage is definitely a trend)
- Automate assets operational and cost management
Furthermore, they are now looking for tools that will provide this for all their assets through a single solution. This avoids having multiple projects and duplicated data across their organisation. For them this results in lower project costs and a consolidated view of their assets. In some cases, they are also looking to understand how much a member of staff is costing the business when using their assets. This applies mostly to technicians or field staff (who are equipped with a car, mobile device and costly tools) but there would be no surprise in seeing the same principle being applied more and more often to office staff as well (who also use cars, mobile devices and other office equipment/tools).
Once companies start looking at assets costs per user, and not only global assets costs, then the next logical step is to communicate with users about it. Indeed, interacting with them in a transparent way about data related to the use of their assets, assisting them in better usage of these assets and incentivising them to be better users becomes quite important and they expect their asset management tool to help them do that.
More efficiency through further automation and real-time collaboration
Many traditional asset management systems are built on desktop or “simple web” technologies. But companies are looking for solutions that leverage the benefits of collaboration and mobile usage offered by the latest web technologies (e.g. web apps) to be even more efficient in their day-to-day tasks.
Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing significant opportunities to get real time data from enterprise assets (using tracking devices and sensors) therefore it is critical to invest in a scalable solution that will allow to provide smart data out of all these connecting assets.
“Companies surveyed mentioned “High efficiency” as the top benefit (46%) that IoT will bring to them” *
Companies want smart solutions that will make asset management much more simple and will help them to achieve more savings.
SO WHAT DOES THE NEXT GEN OF ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE BRING?
Here are 5 key things we think you should expect from a Next Generation Asset Management solution:
Superior user experience
- User friendly and intuitive UI.
- “Familiar” B2C experience: enterprise users expect a B2C feeling in the tool they use everyday at work.
Collaborative and mobile solution making it easy for managers, asset users and suppliers to collaborate in real time and on the fly thanks to:
- Use of apps.
- Real-time, actionable notifications/alerts to take action on time and avoid additional costs.
- Integrated and collaborative workflows with user-friendly wizards to work even more efficiently between managers, users and suppliers.
- Ability to manage single or several types of assets, enabling understanding of global costs (across countries when relevant) as well as assets costs per user.
- A single tool that avoids duplication of data and interfaces (e.g. company’s organisational structure, users data, interface with General Ledger) in multiple tools/systems and multiple project setup costs.
Integrated asset tracking and lifecycle management solution
- In addition to common sources of data next generation software will also enable the collection of data from all enterprise connected assets using IoT technologies.
- “Remote asset management and/or asset tracking is the top area where Business Executives think they can benefit from IoT” **
- Strategic analysis capability, forecasts and predictive analysis to provide actionable insight that will help companies use their assets more efficiently and control costs.
Boosted by the rise of IoT and app solutions, the whole industry of asset management is going to witness drastic changes. As assets will connect to the Internet of Things, the need for actionable and insightful data will definitely grow and the first businesses to use leading-edge asset management solutions will create a competitive advantage in their own market.
Your opinion is very valuable! Do you agree with our top 5 selections? What are the features you think that are going to be the next must-haves for any asset management solution?
*Business Insider report – Cisco Survey
**Business Insider – Harvard Business Review