What Data is the Right Data

In recent years, Asset Managers have been collecting increasing amounts of data and creating huge repositories of information. Interpreting this data and turning it into actionable insights remains challenging. How can you be certain you have the right data to better manage your assets?

The pathway to meaningful interpretation of your asset data is capturing the right data. But what is the "right" data, and how does an organisation choose what to capture to ensure asset data is meaningful and helps make quality business decisions?

In an ideal universe, all asset data sets are perfect and complete. Every data point is captured on every asset and analysis is consistent and pure. But the reality is that a lot of data sets are outdated and unusable. It may be inaccurate, incomplete or irrelevant. It’s frequently stored in different platforms or silos, making it difficult for the right people to access.

Only a fraction of data harvested is ever used. Forrester reports that up to 73% of data within an enterprise is unused and unanalysed. McKinsey, using the example of an oil rig, estimates that only 1% of data gathered gets used. They also observe that a lot of the time and money spent on analysis doesn’t always have the impact hoped for - analysing the wrong data may be a factor in this. 

So capturing the right data is critical: don’t just grab all the data you can. Define your approach and what you’re going to use it for, and then capture that.  Bad data will only waste time and money, and result in bad decisions being made - potentially increasing costs and reducing reliability or even leading to failure.

So how can you clean up your data and what should you consider when doing so?

Define Your Approach to Asset Information

Good asset information starts with your approach to the right base data. To do this, you need to define your organisation’s approach to asset information. Important considerations include:

  • What asset information is needed and why? 

  • How can you measure and assure the quality of the information?

  • What risk is carried if the quality is poor or the content is incorrect and incomplete? 

  • How can you control the creation, standards, management and maintenance of asset information? 

  • How can you ensure the end users of the asset information and other stakeholders understand the importance of the asset information and their role in its lifecycle? 

  • How can you extract better value from the existing systems and processes?

Answering these questions will help you determine the approach that best suits your organisation’s needs. 

Determine your Existing Data Sets

Existing data sets may be stored in completely disparate information systems, such as compliance data being kept elsewhere to asset data. This fragmentation of data sets across different systems often leads to data being stored in different formats.   These can range from spreadsheets and databases to EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) and CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management Systems).  This siloed effect of data across an organisation inevitably leads to duplication and accessibility issues. 

It is  important to determine what data you have, and where it resides. As business drivers change, data needs to evolve, as does the best approach to data capture and storage. Getting data out of spreadsheets and moving it into a formalised Asset Management Platform, where it can be organised and analysed, can significantly relieve the burden of duplication and accessibility, giving you more time to make decisions that matter.

Mapping data to new platforms is easy with a technology platform such as AssetFuture. More data gives you access to better analysis and decision making.  Additional data may need to be captured where current data sets are not valid, specific assets or their attributes do not exist, or there are newly acquired assets. Data managers can cleanse and merge data using machine learning, and using the AssetFuture mobile app, AssetCapture, additional data can be captured easily in the field to underpin evidence-based decisions from your data.

Adhere to Data Capture Standards

The ISO 55000 family is the first set of International Standards for Asset Management. They incorporate the experience of 31 countries spanning four years in implementing asset management systems, and specify everything from the concept and terminology to implementation guidance. ISO 55001 requires an organisation to identify asset information requirements to support the achievement of its organisational objectives. Many of the detailed requirements of this standard can be satisfied through the development and implementation of asset information standards.

A critical element of asset information standards includes how data is captured, which involves the development of a structured Area and Element hierarchy and Item level location-based detail. Adhering to an asset hierarchy structure and naming conventions helps avoid error, confusion and duplication. Inconsistent asset terminology or asset descriptions can lead to inaccurate or incomplete reporting when aggregating asset data, which in turn may affect the quality of decisions made.

It’s also important to set protocols that specify who can modify or update data as part of the process of data cleansing. There needs to be processes in place to delete poor, old or expired information that’s no longer useful. Allocating resource and process to this is critical to the currency of the data.

Assess Risk and Reward

If asset data isn’t being kept up to date, or isn’t sufficiently accurate or complete, it can lead to a range of negative outcomes, such as:

  • An increase in preventable asset failures or reduced asset performance due to a lack of visibility of asset condition or failure data

  • Increased safety risks due to risks not being identified, reported or appropriately communicated 

  • Poor asset performance due to a lack of information 

  • Non-compliance with statutory or safety requirements 

  • Increased whole of life costs of managing the assets due to ill-informed decision making 

AssetFuture can manage existing data sets and help enhance them to make better use of Asset Intelligence. We have experience of identifying and collecting the right data for customers to achieve business outcomes. Our specialists have extensive experience in setting up frameworks, and our customers are empowered to make data-driven decisions.

Good data is accurate, updated and relevant, enabling transparency and a clear line-of-sight in an organisation. It allows for easy visualisation and decision making and overall better performance management. This results in risk reduction and ultimately cost savings and improved asset performance.