Here I am again with another brain teasing question. I like those type of questions because it makes us think differently rather than thinking like everybody else. It allows us to question the way we are doing things and asking ourselves if what we are doing is good enough or should we change things around to get different results.
Well, let’s get to the point.
Is coordinated asset management activity in organizations sufficient to realize value from assets? This is based on the definition of asset management as per ISO 55000 standards.
By definition “Coordinate” means to bring the different elements of a complex activity or organization into a relationship that will ensure efficiency or harmony.
We all agree that asset management consists of different elements and organizations are complex entities. As an asset management practitioner, over the years I have noticed that coordinating activities can only achieve so much. We do achieve a lot at the tactical and operational levels, but we know that the scope of asset management is much more than that based on the context of the organization. At the strategic level, asset management involves leadership, commitment, strategic planning, alignment, among other things.
At that level coordinated activity will not cut it.
I came to this conclusion when we were rolling out our asset management policy and its guiding principles across the organization. Similarly establishing and operationalizing a strategic asset management plan and other departmental asset management plans require more than just coordinating activities. It requires transforming the organization’s dynamics with deeper cross-departmental interaction and engagement. It requires changing mindset, behaviors and better interoperability.
It entails taking an integrated approach.
An integrated approach helps to navigate the complexity of organizations and the existing interdependencies, blend the different priorities, and foster collaboration among functional areas to make timely and optimal decisions.
By definition “Integrate” means to combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole.
The essential difference between integration and coordination is that integration implies a fusion of components into something new, while coordination is the arrangement of roles and tasks into an organized whole.
As philosopher G. W. F. Hegel put it – “The truth is in the whole”.
From an asset management perspective everybody doing their best and coordinating their activities are not good enough. The truth is in the something new that we are developing – the asset management system spanning across the whole organization from top to bottom and cross-departmental.
How does an asset management system look like? Do you have a visual model of it? Would coordinating activities be enough to build that model or should we “integrate and coordinate asset management activities across the organization to realize value from assets”?