Considering Critical Assets

An engineer wearing high vis and a white hard hat smiles at the camera with crossed arms

For many organisations, one of the objectives of strategic asset management is to minimise the risk of a critical asset failure. In order to achieve this goal, organisations must be able to identify critical systems, and understand the risk, and consequence of a system failure.

Critical assets are those that are essential to meeting the needs and expectations of stakeholders. These may or may not be represented by physical assets, and can include anything that brings value to the organisation.

Thinking about how asset failures might impact the organisation can be confronting. However, it is important, as it offers the opportunity to be proactive, and minimise the chance of failures.

Identifying critical assets

A critical asset is one whose failure is likely to result in significant financial, environmental, or social costs, relative to organisation objectives. These critical assets may be physical assets, or might be represented by services, such as security.

Your organisation’s risk register should identify systems critical to service delivery. Once you know which systems carry the greatest risk, you can shine a light on the assets that support those systems.

Those critical systems, and the assets that support them, should be clearly identified in the company’s risk register.

Why consider asset failure

Organisations don’t usually have the budget, or resources, to perform every possible piece of work on every single asset. Working within a resource constrained environment means asset managers often have to decide what works have to happen now, and which can be deferred.

Comparing the risk register, against the current state of assets, is a great place to start when it comes to prioritising work.

For asset managers vying for budget, illustrating the consequences of under-investment can create a compelling argument for the C-suite.