So, you are looking to purchase a new, enterprise-wide asset management system that can track asset life-cycle costs as well as track preventive maintenance and repair work on the assets in your organization. There are many things that should be taken into account when walking into a decision of this magnitude that can assist in making the right decision for your organization. The first thing to think about is how do you track your assets now? Do you use GIS extensively? Are your assets stored in multiple databases within each department? A little of both? The below decision matrix outlines some of the things to think about and how that can impact your software decisions:
If your assets are managed within your GIS...
Think about: Are all of the assets you want to track spatial, i.e. that they have a latitude and longitude value? If not, then GIS is not the right place to track these assets (such as computers or vehicles).
Options: There are many EAM software systems available. If you have all of your assets in GIS and do not track non-spatial assets, you could purchase an Esri specific management solution.
If you track both spatial and non-spatial assets, you should review the options for software that does not require a connection to GIS but can connect and share data with the existing infrastructure for your spatial assets.
If some of your assets are managed in GIS and some are in databases throughout the organization...
Think about: If you do not have a robust GIS asset inventory, do you want to pay a contractor to complete the inventory before purchasing an asset management software program or use a software program that will allow completing asset inventory in the field?
Options: EAM software like AssetWorks EAM does not require the organization to have all of their assets in GIS but is flexible enough that it can support non-spatial assets such as computers and vehicles, as well as spatial assets, like roads and sewers.
If all of your assets are in disparate databases throughout the organization...
Think about: Do you want to create a GIS inventory? Are you ok with not using maps in your EAM solution? Are none of your assets spatial in nature?
Options: If you would like to purchase an EAM system now and wait until later to purchase a GIS system, ensure that the EAM application you get supports both requirements. They should not force the use of GIS but offer a road to assisting your organization in creating their asset inventory with GIS at a later time.
If you do not have an asset inventory for all of your assets, so some are in GIS, some are in databases and the rest are a mystery...
Think about: Do you want to pay a contractor to complete the inventory before purchasing an asset management software program or use a software program that will allow completing asset inventory in the field?
Options: Some software programs allow the creation of assets and work orders in a mobile application for those organizations still building their asset inventory. The work doesn’t stop just because you asset inventory is out of date. Choose a product that is flexible enough to support the assets you know as well as assets that may have been lost for a bit
Now that you have a starting point for your software decisions, you probably want to get a little more in-depth into these scenarios and explore the possible situations and outcomes that apply to your organization.