Why Experience Counts
Written by: Dr. Shiv Iyer
Your municipality finally got the needed funding to implement a long-awaited asset management program. You already are anticipating the complexity of weaving together your disparate systems—engineering, information technology, operations, maintenance, risk management, finance and more—and the unknowns seem countless.
With numerous consultants to choose from, how do you know which one is the best fit for your project? What will it take to bring them up to speed? How well do they know your business and the pain points that your asset management program is intended to address? How much experience do they have in helping municipalities like you? Will they invest in your project like it was their own? What about price, size or software affiliation?
And how much does experience really matter?
The simplest question to answer is the final one. EXPERIENCE COUNTS. BIG TIME.
I can’t stress enough the value of experience when it comes to choosing an asset management implementation consultant. A strong, relevant background can make all the difference in your project’s outcome. It can transform a basic implementation into a successful and sustainable organizational change that positively impacts your employees, processes and technology, and results in improved cost efficiency, enhanced customer service and a cohesive working environment.
Experience shapes project success by managing risk, instilling confidence in project stakeholders and leveraging in-depth working knowledge of complex environments.
Implementing a new asset management program naturally involves risk, and the first step toward managing that risk is learning the industry and the client. An experienced consultant has a leg up on a newer consultant, who will require valuable project hours to become acquainted with you and your specific needs. The consultant also must be adept at implementing software solutions that will enable you to manage your assets and improve productivity. Strong, time-tested relationships with software vendors enable experienced consultants to provide uninterrupted service throughout the duration of the project and beyond. Additionally, consultants well-versed in ISO 55000 Standards for Asset Management greatly mitigate the risk of implementing solutions without adequate contexts of people and process elements.
There is a time for everything, including taking a chance on a new or inexperienced consultant. Call me crazy, but the implementation of a new, high-value asset management program is NOT one of those times. The implementation process can be complex and daunting, and you need a consultant in whom you can be totally confident. Experience begets confidence—and eliminates many of the uncertainties inherent to projects of this nature. The longer and more varied the consultant’s resume, the more secure you, your employees and your constituents will feel about the project.
While an experienced consultant can hit the ground running with a well-versed understanding of your specific business processes, integrations and work flows, a novice may not possess that same high level of understanding. That missing background can cause a cascading series of missteps—from scope creep and schedule delays to budget overruns and even employee mutiny. An experienced consultant can help you visualize your project from start to finish, starting with high-level, overarching goals and zooming into the smallest details.
Sure, any decent consultant can learn the industry; they can even learn their clients. But that education takes time—time that often isn’t available. And it leaves you wondering exactly what else they don’t know
In the complex world of asset management program implementation, what consultants know and how they’ve handled similar situations can make the difference between success and failure. Experience counts.
Dr. Shiv Iyer is a project manager with Woolpert’s Information Technology and Management Consulting (ITMC) group. With more than 20 years of experience in engineering and asset management, both practical and academic, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the team. While Shiv’s primary role is project manager, his experience allows him to also serve as an SME for enterprise asset management.