For many organizations, especially in the social infrastructure industries, it’s important to look at return on investment in broader terms rather than purely financial. While the dollars saved or earned by an initiative remain crucial, other non-financial values such as social, community, cultural or environmental benefits need to also be factored in.
For ROI on asset management software in community housing for example, the focus is how the system supports them to manage risks better and provide a better level of service to the community or customers rather than the financial returns. Organizations can use this broader sense of return in terms of impact on its stakeholders, improved performance and of course financial gains, typically in the form of reduced costs or doing more effective projects for the same expenditure.
With this grain of salt deposited, what should you consider to gauge whether your asset management software is delivering value?
Asset management software should support this process - making it faster, easier and more transparent. The best AM software available will only deliver value if there is a strong underlying asset management framework.
Collecting and maintaining asset data is what fuels the asset management process. An effective technology solution will help organizations manage this data – having the technology specifically configured to the business needs.
For example, a customer of SPM Assets maintains residential healthcare locations across Australia. A traditional condition assessment would require visiting literally hundreds of rooms to describe the components that make up a facility.
Using advanced asset management software, the organization can record a thorough survey of a representative sample of rooms then intelligently clone that data across the rest of the facility to develop a comprehensive picture of that facility’s condition. This significantly reduces asset inspection time, allowing an inspector to focus on the highest value, most critical components.
An organization makes a compromise in terms of getting an overall assessment that is at least 80% accurate, as opposed to 100% accuracy if every room of every facility was assessed individually. But the return in terms of cost reduction and time to complete is significantly improved, and the data gathered is still a strong foundation that will be improved on in a targeted way over time – this is what’s needed for good project level decision-making.
Asset management software will also deliver a return on the investment if the process of turning data into insights is improved.
Field staff might traditionally have used systems such as spreadsheets or other simple data collection tools to record assessments. All that does is provide a repository for the data, then it has to be determined how it can be stored for future reference and how it can flow into downstream apps for analysis.
Using a single platform for gathering, analysing and presenting asset management data means that reliable information is immediately available through BI tools and preconfigured reports and dashboards. Asset Managers, Asset Analysts and Facility Managers can make better informed decisions and are better placed to move more towards a planned approach which avoids a more costly, reactive approach.
A key benefit of effective asset management software is that you are equipped with the knowledge that the right projects are being done at the right time for the right reasons. That can both create cost savings and equip your asset management team to gain more budget over time.
Economies of scale in procurement is one example where decisions can be made that reduce property costs. With a clear view of what components might need to be upgraded across a property portfolio, and which projects are more important, you have the power to get favourable pricing from providers.
For instance, an SPM Assets’ customer identified a need to replace several air conditioning units at one site. By using their software to do analysis across all 17 sites they could identify the total number of replacements required over a two year period and obtain an excellent price for a much larger order.
A broader example of ROI could be a property management team being able to bid for more budget in a cost-constrained environment – possibly competing with other departments. Where public funding is involved there are always several competing demands, and being able to build a compelling business case, along with clear evidence, is more likely to attract funding. To give an example, if an Asset Manager can provide evidence that a 5% increase in annual budget will better identify and manage risks, help prolong the life of critical assets, while optimising costs, decision-makers are more likely to be convinced.
Whether it is saving real dollars on property assessments, or making much longer term strategic decisions, having the right asset management software in place to enable good asset management practices, will provide a positive return.
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