How digital estates revolutionise asset data management

Posted by GroupBC on 8 March 2017

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How digital estates revolutionise asset data management

For many businesses, the sheer amount of data they possess has become unmanageable. Historical assets, and the physically stored information about them, have led to bloated folders of disorganised papers that simply cannot integrate with their modern digital equivalents. 

Asset and project data management is a problem that has crippled the UK construction industry in particular for years. During the 2000s, successive UK government reports had identified the construction sector as inefficient and wasteful with deep fragmentation.

It’s a problem that can be explained by the metaphor of a disorganised garage. Asset management has become like your old garage. It was fine when you first moved in but has since had so many items added that you cannot remember what you have, or find any of them. Ultimately you end up wasting time and resources scouring through all the things you own. 

Data management is a problem that needs to be tackled. Digital estates provide the solution.

What are digital estates and how can they be implemented?

A filing cabinet for the 21st century. That’s essentially what digital estates are because they contain the entirety of your data. Just like how your physical estate comprises of all the physical assets you own, a digital estate comprises of all the digital assets you own. 

Well maintained digital estates are co-ordinated and well-structured. They enable colleagues to quickly and easily answer questions, gain insights and find relevant information. They are forever current to provide businesses with up-to-date data and position them well for the future.

Just like a filing cabinet to manage data, sharing and preservation are key. The ultimate goal of a digital estate is to ensure future decision making is easier through being well-informed.

Where have digital estates been implemented?

One of the most ambitious, best-built and best-maintained digital estates has been implemented by GroupBC for Sainsbury’s PLC. Since 1869, the chain has expanded from a single corner-shop run by family members to over 600 stores plus petrol stations and unused land.

The problem was Sainsbury’s had many dispersed assets but no central hub of data on them. This meant that when they needed information on any asset they either had to locate relevant paperwork or rely on testimony from colleagues familiar with them. 

The issue was confounded when Sainsbury’s decided to integrate their Argos and Habitat businesses into existing Sainsbury’s stores – a massive construction project. The company suddenly needed a lot of data for a lot of sites and had no easy way of getting it without re-surveying every site anytime they wanted to make a change to a store. 

They had to find a solution to prevent this ever happening again. They turned to digital estates.

How Sainsbury’s implemented a digital estate for asset data management

1. Decided what information they needed

To figure this out Sainsbury’s needed to think about what it wanted, namely the ability to quickly and assuredly answer questions about their assets. From this, they knew that blueprints of estates, operational data and a comprehensive list of assets were essential.

2. Found the correct information

To obtain the information they needed, Sainsbury’s had to go through their usual process of finding out where it was stored or who knew about it, for the final time. 

3. Digitalised the information

As most of the data they wanted in their digital estate was either in siloed systems, personal computers or on paper, Sainsbury’s had to spend the time putting it into the correct format.

4. Filed the information appropriately

To ensure that once the digital estate was built the information would be easy to find, Sainsbury’s had to make sure a proper filing process was structured and implemented.

5. Made the information accessible

Sainsbury’s had to make sure their digital estate was usable. GroupBC developed a solution which allowed colleagues to easily find the relevant information quickly.

How its digital estate revolutionised Sainsbury’s asset data management

Once they had their digital estate in place and the software to make it usable, Sainsbury’s managed to solve their data management issues to become:
  • Organised – They have all the information about all their assets in one place.
  • Efficient – All relevant colleagues are able to access the information they need when they need it, allowing them to quickly and easily make informed decisions.
  • Confidence – As there’s always one recent version of every file, the information becomes trustworthy and colleagues have confidence in it.
  • Communicative – As everyone access exactly the same information, communication becomes seamless.
  • Higher value – Information about their assets is easy to monitor which allows financial decisions to be made about future investments with the best insight possible.
  • Long term preservation – All of the data will forever be available. This makes the digital estate an investment in the company’s future.

By comprehensively digitalising their asset information and creating a proper system for storing it, Sainsbury’s overhauled their asset data management. They went from what was essentially a disorganised garage to a state of the art showroom. Thanks to the guidance of GroupBC, their digital estate revolutionised their asset data management.

If you need any advice about implementing your own digital estate, head to GroupBC who are experts in information management and can guide you in creating one for your own business.