All seeing, all knowing

YOU'D THINK IT WOULD BE PRETTY DIFFICULT to lose sight of something as large as an earth excavator. But tracking the whereabouts of the heavy machinery across 14 states had become a cumbersome process for Houston-based Tellepsen Services Co. (TEPSCO). So the construction management services company turned to a Web-based system that now allows the company to quickly and easily locate its equipment and monitor usage -- saving both money and time. n "It's not for the theft issue, but because we're concerned about asset utilization," says Tadd Tellepsen, IT director of the family-owned company. "We've been tracking it manually, but we're planning to become decentralized so that people closest to the equipment can hop on the Internet and input information. We want to make sure [equipment] is not sitting idle and be able to figure out if we can schedule it somewhere else."

When TEPSCO fully implements the new tracking system, Tellepsen says he expects to realize a savings of about $250,000 annually. The savings will come in several areas of improved efficiency, including no longer wasting money on renting equipment that could be more quickly deployed from other construction sites. Using asset management tools that have been honed in IS, TEPSCO construction managers will simply log on to the website to do status checks on where equipment is located at any given time.

Whether it's construction trucks, hospital equipment or even building space, asset management is not just for tracking IT resources any longer. Although some industry observers say asset management software was originally developed for financial departments to track depreciating assets, the Y2K problem focused the tools squarely in the IT realm, because IT needed to know everything it had and what would be affected by the date conversion. As a result, IT became the watchdog for its assets and began tracking hardware and software leases and maintenance agreements.

But today the tools have evolved into ways to manage other corporate assets throughout their life cycle -- and again IT is leading the way. With companies under constant pressure to reduce costs and improve productivity, the ability to figure out what you own, where it is and whether it's being used is a process of growing importance to enterprises. Using the principles of asset management beyond IT can help companies avoid redundancies in procurement and track resources like lease deadlines more efficiently.

And this is an area where CIOs have an opportunity to shine. An asset management system is still a tool used primarily by IT organizations. But by being an evangelist for asset management

This story, "All seeing, all knowing" was originally published by CIO.

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