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Using Asset Management to Improve Processes, Achieve Objectives, and Mitigate Risks

Arthur Kurland, Director, Capital & Asset Management, University Health System
Arthur Kurland, Director, Capital & Asset Management, University Health System

Arthur Kurland, Director, Capital & Asset Management, University Health System

In December 2014 the International Standards Organization (ISO) published a series of standards for managing assets numbered ISO 55000, ISO 55001, and ISO 55002. These standards were developed primarily by engineers under the premise that when assets are well maintained they will function predictably and last longer. An asset as defined by the standard is:“something that has potential or actual value to an organization”. Further, the standard explicitly states that the organization determines to which of its assets this International Standard applies. In November 2017, University Health System in San Antonio, Texas became the first hospital globally to be certified to the ISO 55001 standard for its asset management system as it relates to its personal property, which includes IT assets.

Based on my experience in taking a lead role in achieving this milestone, managing the life cycle of an organization’s assets has no downside. No additional hires need to be made. What is required is senior leadership involvement and collaboration with stakeholders to develop processes and procedures that will get the most value from organizational assets.

Obtaining ISO 55001 certification is not a simple task,but as stated in the standard and by my personal experience, adhering to the standard can result in improved financial performance; managed risk; improved services and outputs; demonstrated social responsibility; demonstrated compliance; enhanced reputation; improved organizational sustainability; improved efficiency and effectiveness.

 Following the established guidelines in the ISO Asset Management standards can be a useful tool for your IT department in making significant process improvements​​ 

coming familiar with the standards and using them as a guideline to “self-certify” is an option for organizations or departments that want the benefits of asset management without independent verification of conforming to the standards. In either instance, an IT department wanting the benefits of asset management will need to state its objectives and define its scope. Its objective will need to be in alignment with the overall objectives of the organization. Its scope can be any number of things related to the management of the IT assets. Look for areas that are in need of improvement. Examples of a defined scope include:

• Management of the acquisition of IT assets

• Management of the maintenance of IT assets

• Management of the tracking of IT assets

• Management of the transfer of IT assets

• Management of the disposal of IT assets

And so on and so forth.

I recommend forming an IT Asset Governance Committee to regularly meet with all stakeholders to focus on satisfying the needs of the organization. Stakeholders are anyone who can either directly or indirectly effect the desired outcomes of the defined scope and objectives. They can be external; a third party data destruction company for example. Or they can be internal; the Logistics and Accounting departments for example.

Once all stakeholders have been identified and a committee representative of all stakeholders is formed, meeting agendas should be fashioned around risks and opportunities. Discussing all IT asset related risks with representative stakeholders will lead to improvement opportunities in mitigating those risks. Sometimes mitigating risks involve changes. When stakeholders are involved in improving organizational processes, necessary change becomes more palatable.

Every department within an organization has room for improvement. Following the established guidelines in the ISO Asset Management standards can be a useful tool for your IT department in making significant process improvements to help your organization be more effective in achieving its objectives more efficiently.

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