By Warren Wilson
State-of-the-art asset management is critical in industries such as oil and gas exploration & production, oil refining and gas processing, and utilities that rely heavily on expensive and aging physical assets. Among other benefits, effective asset management reduces costs and risks, improves process flows and business continuity, increases profit margins, and aids in regulatory compliance. As these industries become more complex and competitive, and as more of their assets reach the end of their useful life, end-to-end or lifecycle tracking of asset data grows steadily more important. So does the need to align this approach with standards and to develop a clear plan or maturity model to guide investment, track progress, and ensure compatibility with overall corporate strategy. Despite its many benefits, however, asset lifecycle information management (ALIM) is an immature discipline and is currently underutilized in asset-intensive industries. Companies that effectively implement a lifecycle model have a substantial opportunity to gain competitive advantage.