MRO Magazine

Bridging the Gap: Five considerations when choosing an asset management solution


October 4, 2010
By PEM Magazine

By now, managers in mining, oil and gas fields have either considered using or already implemented an engineering content management (ECM) or other asset information management (AIM) solution. Everyone understands the benefits of organizing crucial engineering and design data electronically for universal access and control across the enterprise — but what do the strongest solutions have in common? Below are five considerations for picking out an effective ECM/AIM solution.

1. Bridge the gap between engineering and maintenance teams.
From the beginning of the engineering process, keeping a record of engineering content requires establishing a relationship between the asset and related documents. This master data is crucial to the daily operations of the maintenance and operations teams.

For example, the maintenance team performs a work order for a pump. The standard operating procedure for replacing parts applies and should be stored in the ECM — but what if that pump is no longer available from the manufacturer? Maintenance has to replace the part with one from another vendor. When this happens, maintenance and operations can redline and make remarks on the documentation. This data is then transferred to the engineering group via a robust ECM/AIM solution. At that point, the engineering manager can determine whether the change can be made.

2. Configurable support for concurrent projects.
In line with bridging engineering and maintenance, certain documents are required concurrently for multiple projects. For instance, more than one capital project might require the same P&ID controller. Any design changes must be consolidated into a master document, and the solution’s ability to monitor and record these changes should be configurable and flexible to meet the project’s business requirements.


In the example above, what if the engineering manager is involved in a project that may require large changes as a result of the pump replacement? Notifications and collaboration are necessary until all teams can reconcile the discrepancy.

3. Simple global collaboration.
It is important to be able to engage all parties involved in a project, whether they are located internally or externally. Usually, the best way to accomplish this is through a secure portal for contractors and other external teams where data exchange occurs. This raises the level of participation for contractors while keeping engineering data consistent across all aspects of the project.

4. Easy proof of compliance.
Compliance is a crucial part of daily operations for mining, oil and gas organizations. If you have a high-temp, high-pressure system, there are plenty of safety classes the design and components of the system must meet. Of course, this is a core basis for asset management in general, so it’s crucial the ECM makes accessing these documents as simple as possible. The availability of defining tag-doc relationships, for instance, makes it easy to demonstrate “hazard classifications.” With that kind of flexibility, checking for and securing compliance with safety, health and environment guidelines is much simpler.

5. Integration with other systems.
With what kind of platforms, systems and solutions does your ECM/AIM system integrate? The easier it is to upload information into your asset management solution, the better. Therefore, enterprise asset management systems should easily integrate with CAD systems like AutoCAD and Microstation; Microsoft Office; ERPs like SAP; CMS solutions; and maintenance and asset management systems.

Finally, your AIM solution needs to be flexible. All companies are different with different document types, workflows and processes. Make sure you AIM solution is highly configurable and can adapt to your unique environment.

Brian Sallade is the North American COO for BlueCielo ECM Solutions, a leader in software solutions in asset information management and engineering content management. For more information, visit This was originally published in REM magazine.