Daan Oostinga, (Semmtech) on the growing importance of digital assets in the evolution towards sustainability in the infrastructure business.

‘Sustainability is a bit of a container concept. It encompasses a variety of beliefs and definitions. But if you define it as a vision to make the world more stable, that gives us a useful definition or starting point. 

Two dimensions are crucial in that reflection. First, you need to know - as a company - where  your assets are, what you have, what is available and what not. Most companies simply don’t know that. It’s a s simple as that. There’s no way that you can start thinking about reuse or upcycling if you don’t have your basics right. And that basis is asset management, combined with IT infrastructure. 

In doing so, you move into the second dimension. Now we’re talking about optimization. Intelligent steering of energy usage, and spaces, to name but a few. This is not new, asset management in combination with IT is used already for more than 30, 40 years. But the world is changing, it becomes more complete, more complex and all encompassing, and that’s why you need specialized players, who have the knowledge and the know how to combine standards, protocols, and database structures and to extract useful steering information out of that mass of data. 

There’s a huge difference between registering data, knowing the implications of those data gatherings and the active steering of your actions based on those data. A proactive attitude rather than a passive or reactive one is fundamental.

It’s nice to know that you have a certain resource in an asset, but to be able to extract that resource, you need to become precise, you need to know and to be able to simulate, it’s not enough to have ‘a hunch’. That’s not how business decisions should be made. 

In my opinion the public sector plays a huge role in this evolution towards sustainability. Increasing demands towards a more intelligent use of assets and resources is now a reality and will force every player to rethink its fundamental working methods, more specifically in terms of digital assets and resource planning. We’re no longer talking about national levels of decision making, we’re talking about European and worldwide levels of planning and regulation. That’s what makes it both interesting, complex and a challenge for traditional companies. 

Companies like Neanex were never set out to manage the sustainability aspect of the business, they started out as an information management solution, capable of accelerating the automatization of assets. But that is the basis to start with the next level, the management of expectations and approaches around sustainability.

Don’t forget that structuring the way you manage projects from the start is also a way to improve sustainability. Platforms like Neanex offer the possibility to optimize the processes right from the gate, offering huge efficiencies and possibilities to streamline operations.

Don’t think of asset management and digitalization as a passive tool on the side, it’s an active approach to gain a competitive advantage. 

Failure to notice that means failure to survive in the business. 

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