A participant asked what the most user-friendly software they can use in their infrastructure asset management practice is.
Ross said that the primary question should be “What outputs do I need for my asset system?” instead of asking about a user-friendly software.
He advised that once you are able to sort out the answers, you evaluate and determine which of those output needs would require.
Ross added that there’s a need for the government and management of your organization to agree with the outputs that you have collected.
Whether it’s a regulatory requirement or a state reporting or a federal reporting requirement, you need to get a list of the outputs you need.
He explained that if everybody has agreed, then you need to look, sit down and say, “What inputs do I need to answer those outputs?”
There’s no point in collecting information that you’re never going to use, Ross said.
Another question to ask is “What are my business processes?”
Ross explained that the business process is around quality assurance; a business process is around updating data and other related stuff.
Ross concluded that when you’ve got all of that lined up, then go for some infrastructure asset management software.
He further said that you’ll know what the answer is at that point too because you have a fairly good idea of what it is you want, and how much you want to use it, and how you want to need to use it.
Heather opined that the question about the most user-friendly asset management software is hard to answer because what’s user-friendly to one is not necessarily user-friendly to another.
She explained that there’s no one right answer to what user-friendly because somebody understands a database better than a spreadsheet; somebody else understands a spreadsheet better than a database.
Heather said that somebody else might prefer to use a piece of paper because that’s what they understand.
Affirming what Ross said, Heather revealed that quite a few folks she had worked actually with over the years have jumped right away to buying the infrastructure management software.
Heather speculated that maybe such people have been at a conference, may have heard about some good infrastructure asset management software to use, maybe their neighbor has that software, attracted to the name or who knows what, and they jump right away to buying and investing on that software.
Heather said that they haven’t really examined what they actually wanted to do. Then they find out that the software doesn’t actually meet the needs or the requirements of what they really wanted to do.
Heather concluded that it’s really important, as Ross said, to do the thinking part first — what do you want the infrastructure asset management software to actually do for you?
PHOTO CREDIT: 2013 Esri International User Conference – San Diego, CA by Kris Krug via Flickr Creative Commons License. The photo has been cropped to fit the size requirement of this post.