A data-first mindset to critical asset management

1. A shift in tradition

With Australia looking to technology and the knowledge economy in a COVID19 recovery, is our progress as a more resilient economy compromised by poor performing regulations, focus on risk management and over- regulation.

COVID19 was that once in a lifetime opportunity to prove our economy can do more with less. Our community embraced remote systems of work. We dissolved the traditional thinking about how we work, and we embraced diversity and flexibility. These are all values that will make our businesses and community more efficient in the long run.


2. The pandemic and risk management

As a professional manager of risk, it’s been fascinating to watch risk management play out during this pandemic across different sectors. We have witnessed, for the most part, a community who have embraced regulation on the run. We have all adapted, for the most part, to the changing rules and in so doing kept Australia one of the best performing nations worldwide in terms of controlling community spread.

Government was focused and able to make quick calls to mitigate risk, relied on science and the community supported this approach in numbers. The votes are in and it’s been a windfall for incumbent state premiers. Often details of this ‘regulation’ weren’t clear, there were many unknowns, but it was proven high effective and popular.


3. Adoption of technology in risk and asset management

As a provider of the science, we run a surveying and geospatial data business informing high risk construction activity, providing data to inform the management of critical assets.

In the past 5 years, our business has embraced the surge in technology which has given birth to new field of science, one of automated surveying geospatial data management. These methods rely heavily on automation, cloud computing, the internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technology.

The benefits of our science have been profound. We’ve delivered economic benefits by adapting contractor behaviour, minimising rework, improving project communication, reducing project timeframes, and eliminated risk of damage. It has preserved economic sustainability, social responsibility, and social harmony. Because we measure and communicate more frequently in ways that were not previously possible, there have been no injuries, and no material damage.

We stand by this commitment to quality and safety – it’s one of our uncompromising values.


4. Regulation

However, in our field until now, we have seen generally the opposite to the behaviours we’ve witnessed in our market in Australia throughout the pandemic. We have seen regulators failing to act, or worse still, acting without understanding this new science. We see many businesses fighting the regulations placed upon them. We see a community who have generally just done the bare minimum to meet a lesser-informed regulatory intervention.

Automated surveying and geospatial data management can support better economic outcomes for everything from heritage buildings to tailings dams, critical infrastructure for water, sewerage, oil, gas, railways, roads bridges, deep excavations and embankment failure – just to name a few.

It is impossible to take advantage of the science and regulate them in a short space of time, as the technology is constantly changing. Like COVID19, regulators cannot keep up with the science. If they attempt to, it’s generally outdated before they have time to get it right.

A new way is needed to think about critical asset risk management. I envision this as being where we see regulation is informed by science, where the community supports the science to inform best practice and in so doing can create new opportunity to add value just like we have witnessed from our experience of COVID19.


5. Data-backed decisions

At Monitum, we’re actively working to get automated surveying and geospatial data management at the forefront of decision making.

Regional and local regulators could enable greater levels of investment in new science, through informing behaviours that are conducive to growth of new ideas and investment. It’s simply not feasible for regulators to focus on the minutia of the science (such as standards and limits for tolerances) as the science is constantly changing. Rely on the advice of qualified experts to deliver an optimal outcome.


We’ve invested significantly in this new data science and it’s a field which is a rapidly growing area of our economy. It can make construction and asset risk management more agile and productive.

If a data-informed, value add approach is something you’re looking for to enhance your decision making, please contact us here.


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