The Institute of Asset Management (IAM) is a global authority on asset management with a mission to advance the science of managing physical assets such as critical infrastructure. Its priorities are to promote and enable knowledge, training and good practice, and to help asset management practitioners become better in their roles for the public benefit.
IAM’s growing membership - principally global corporations heavily investing in asset management as well as individual asset management professionals - all use the IAM website at www.theiam.org for guidance and support. Development of this into a truly world-class resource has been made possible with support from Helastel.
Having reported modest growth for two decades, the IAM’s development of a revolutionary ISO standard for asset management (ISO55000) was set to become the catalyst for extraordinary new global demand for its unique information resources. The IAM felt passionately that significant improvements to its online user experience needed to be made, while work should be done simultaneously to develop new software-driven, revenue-generating services. From a business process optimisation perspective, the IAM also recognised the need for more robust and scalable software provision for internal operations.
In essence, the IAM wanted to have their brand backed by a self-service website fostering a global community of their users, whereby any members or organisations could have access to knowledge, collaborate with other members or use any of IAM's services.
Helastel was commissioned to carry out a holistic, strategic analysis of the IAM’s IT strategy and the 25+ software systems that were in place within the organisation. The consultancy process concluded with strategic and technical advice on the optimum systems integration for the benefit of the IAM and its people. An assessment of the IAM’s enduring objectives, business objectives and software strategy lead to the creation of a comprehensive set of recommendations to shape the IAM’s IT strategy for the next 5–10 years.
The vision for the website was to provide a comprehensive knowledge base for potential and existing IAM members, accessible globally in many different languages, and deliver a platform for future development as David McKeown, Chief Executive of IAM, explains: “People will decide for themselves if asset management is what they’re interested in, so the website needed to give them a high level of understanding.”
Some of the key challenges for the website were as follows:
- Going into the project, the IAM had around multiple systems supporting its daily operations. Helastel were tasked with creating new self-service facilities online that would tightly link with the current IAM infrastructure.
- An intensive scoping exercise, involving research with real users, targeted functionality improvements and changes to the user interface. Helastel would need to define a new capability called ‘The Expert Panel’ to log the skill sets of each member, and make it easier for specific questions to be answered rapidly.
- To support the implementation of its ISO55000 standard, Helastel were required to deliver e-learning software to certify qualified assessors and practitioners. This element of the project would be especially critical in meeting the anticipated global demand for IAM services, and deliver significant revenues accordingly.
The IAM has experienced exponential growth since the release of its ISO55000 standard, and benefited from the foresight of a strategic IT plan delivered by Helastel. As well as addressing the external facing aspects of the IAM’s web infrastructure to cope with this growth, Helastel have also brought innovation to back-end software processes including a major refresh of its CRM system.
Helastel has achieved the IAM’s big vision, fulfilling a smooth global roll-out including customer support and migration. The care taken to perfect the online user interface has delivered a high satisfaction rate, enabling members engage self-service resources - including e-learning - , no matter how diverse or complex, and irrespective of their language or location. Members have been pivotal to the evolution of the website since its launch, with new features implemented as part of a continuous feedback loop of ongoing development lead by their needs.
Overall the project has been an outstanding success, with thousands of the IAM’s members using its online services every day. The IAM website is now widely recognised as the “one stop portal” for all of its members' asset management needs, contributing directly to the enhancement of the IAM’s reputation and an associated expansion in its membership.
Helastel’s consultancy continues to successfully optimise existing incumbent systems to ensure that future developments are possible and further automated self-service applications can be developed.