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Why sewerage is keeping vice chancellors up at night

We recently brought together hundreds of university professionals for a series of technology user groups. I asked one Vice Chancellor who was there what was keeping him up at night, and his answer surprised me – sewerage and pipes.   

And he wasn’t the only person who said this. Facility maintenance and concern over assets and the ability to forecast funding was a hot topic.

In essence, effective asset management is crucial for higher education institutions to optimise the use of resources, meet their legislative and regulatory compliance, support planning and budgeting, manage risks, and promote sustainability.

Naturally, student retention, wellbeing, and international rankings were also mentioned, but - after periods of empty classrooms and underutilised student accommodation there was serious uncertainty for that VC over whether the pipes (and sewerage!) would be able to continue to manage the onslaught of students returning to campus. 

The ticking time bomb of how long they would last before needing a financial injection (and where this would come from) was real. 

In a data driven world, and a time when every single dollar is needed, an asset management solution that connects and talks to the rest of the organisation is vital. 

So here are my five tips for organisations looking to improve their asset management with technology: 

  1. Asset management solutions that plug in to the rest of your systems (including finance, HR and student management) is a no-brainer. Integrated solutions – such as those available to universities running on ERP software, provides accurate, consolidated data from across the organisation. Data from a single point of truth allows universities to reduce operational costs, make a strong case for new capital investment, and manage facilities in ways that maximises return on investment - not to mention keep students and staff safe and happy. 
  1. Plans based on great data ensure facilities can be funded and actually support the services you want to provide. How will your facilities keep pace with rapid changes in the programs and technologies shaping student demand and growth in research fields? Your solution should help you to make informed investment decisions. That means being able to predict long-term asset costs, prioritise building projects, and use best practice modelling to plan capital works based on different financial scenarios.
  1. If you don’t have an integrated asset register – get one. An integrated asset register allows universities to classify and accurately monitor all types of buildings, equipment, utilities, and green spaces. High-level visibility should combine with sophisticated management and cost analysis tools. That way, you can optimise availability, reduce wear and tear, and more easily determine how assets can be used to solve new problems or support new revenue streams in the future.
  1. Offer self-service so students and staff can flag facilities management issues and get feedback. An ideal solution also enhances communication with workers. For instance, an asset register that harnesses spatial information so you can manage assets visually, which helps field staff and contractors quickly find the location of problems and get to work. Plus integrated apps to record work completed on-the-go.
  1. Smart tools that do the hard work exist – use them. Choose software that gives you a clear picture of costs about developing capital projects; the maintenance, renewal and operation of assets over their entire lifecycle; and how well spaces are being utilised. For accurate insights, facilities management costs must dovetail with supply chain management transactions—like inventory, purchasing and contractors—and also feed into overarching financial planning tools.

If there is anyone else out there losing sleep over sewerage, pipes, or the ability to maintain their assets on campus, please don’t. 

TechnologyOne has a market leading Enterprise Asset Management solution which is fit for purpose for higher education and is integrated.

Because it’s delivered via Software as a Service (SaaS) it also reduces internal IT costs and the burden of managing your infrastructure. 

TechnologyOne’s Enterprise Asset Management allows you to make informed, evidence-based asset investment decisions with rich, comprehensive data insights to guide you.

Using spreadsheets for portfolio, program and project management is like a puzzle, a piece goes missing and you don’t get the full picture.

To make sure you can see the full picture of your assets, visit here for more information.  

Peter Nikoletatos, Adjunct Professor and Industry General Manager for Education at TechnologyOne

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