Do you remember seeing some films from the 1950’s, the ones where they tried to describe what life would be like in the 21st century? Robots in the kitchen, travelling to work in flying cars? How much of that came true? It is easy to look back at our parents, or grandparents view of what they thought life would be like for us in 2013 and smile.
I believe many of us attending the EAM conference in Copenhagen are in a similar position to our parents or grandparents. Asset Management, as a professional discipline is still emerging. We have some legitimacy in the form of PAS55, soon ISO55000 and growing recognition of the value it can bring to business transformation by the increasing number of business choosing to adopt a formal asset management programme, yet the true value of what it can bring is still to be fully quantified (or at least publicised) by those more advanced in their journey.
What is clear, and what we share as AM professionals, is the recognition that AM has the potential to change modern business beyond current recognition and we share a sense of faith that we are ‘on the right path’ even if the map is not completely drawn yet. I think the relative immaturity of our field presents a unique and exciting opportunity for us to describe a vision of business in the future where Asset Management and EAM systems are as embedded in business as finance systems and connected to every part of the business.
AM describes a management system framework that brings together inputs from many sources. Formal AM standards tell us what to do but not how to do it. The attempt to bring together enormous amounts of data to help us with the ‘how to’ in our decision making presents an enormous challenge for us. How do we know what is and isn’t relevant? Do we collect and measure too much data even if we don’t know what to do with most of it? What if we measure the wrong information or find we have neglected to record the one piece of information that could solve a problem we are struggling to solve in 5 years’ time? In the UK we have a saying ‘You know what you know. You don’t know what you don’t know’.
The challenge we face in support of AM decision making is handling BIG data, probably more data than we have ever had to deal with before as businesses. However, the role EAM will play in data capture, handling and decision making is becoming clearer by the day. For this reason, conferences such as the EAM Platform are not just essential but vital in sharing knowledge, best practice in the application and use of AM techniques to ensuring the journey we are on is not only the correct path but the shortest before we start to collect real business benefits along the way.
The science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke wrote ‘It’s easy to overestimate technology in the short term and underestimate technology in the long term’. Today, in 2013, robots may not do our housework for us and we don’t fly to the office each morning. However, we regularly fly for business all over the world. We take more data with us in our phones than our parents could pack in a suitcase and yet we all still have printers at home and in the office. We have a vision for what AM will bring to each of our own businesses in 5 years and 10 years time but what’s your vision of Asset Management in 2028?
Chairman: Jason Smith, Enterprise Asset Management Platform 2013