The typical definition of Enterprise Asset Management is horribly incomplete. They usually point out correctly that EAM is an organization’s system related to its physical assets. To date none explain that an EAM system incorporates all its, and the organization’s, past, along with their futures. Sometimes an EAM definition considers the impact of an EAM system on customers and consumers, but it is unlikely it includes doing market and consumer research to inform the organization what its EAM future needs to address to keep their customers contented. The late quality guru, W. Edwards Deming, rightly taught that a holistic business system design includes the impact on clients and their future, and how the customer’s future will impact the organization’s own systems. An excellent, inclusive Enterprise Asset Management definition would embrace all holistic and temporal requirements.

Keywords: Enterprise Asset Management definition, EAM defined, asset lifecycle management, engineering asset management, physical asset management, operating asset wellness

Top 3 EAM system insights this article helps you to appreciate:

    •  Most Enterprise Asset Management definitions are incomplete in their coverage of holistic and temporal dynamics.
    • False and limiting organizational EAM policy and asset life cycle management paradigms can remain unchallenged and forever embedded when an EAM definition is inadequate.
    • Show a picture of your organisation’s definition of enterprise asset management since words will never define EAM well enough.

A Complete and Accurate Definition of Enterprise Asset Management, EAM

Enterprise Asset Management, EAM, has other names: asset lifecycle management, engineering asset management, and physical asset management are different names for the same organizational purpose. In this article EAM means all versions of names for enterprise asset management.

The important aspect of EAM that a definition of enterprise asset management usually misses is the extent of time, range of decisions, and variety of events an integrated EAM system covers. The assets are not what is most important in an effective EAM system—top asset condition and reliability are system outputs only produced when you use a holistically designed and operated asset lifecycle management system. The EAM system delivers the performance, not the assets. An EAM system defined to focus on the physical assets will not optimise the long-term profitability of the enterprise as it limits perspectives and considerations.

Holistic EAM considers all that can impact an organization because of its physical assets—past, present, and future; internal and external. Starting from before the idea for an asset formed in the original designer’s mind; to what is in the asset and how each part is manufactured; what decisions were taken about its design and use; what happens to it during its service life; getting access to its spare parts; how it will be disposed of, and its environmental impacts rectified and restored; and even into the future beyond that for the organization.

Many an EAM definition mentions ‘asset lifecycle management’ and hopes that the word lifecycle is enough to explain the extent an EAM system covers, but it is far from all that needs consideration in a comprehensive definition of enterprise asset management.

Even ISO 55000, and ISO 55001 – asset management standard, currently limit the extent and coverage of an EAM system to what relates to the lifecycle of physical assets. Those documents define an asset life cycle to encompass the period and phases from asset creation to end-of-life—there is zero about effects before and after that time, or about non-lifecycle factors impacting operating asset performance and company success. For example, incorrect paradigms and beliefs embedded into the workplace culture brought into organizations by managers, supervisors, and key others would get no consideration in an ISO 55001 EAM definition. Yet the organization and its assets will forever suffer badly from those false paradigms if uncorrected.

No one wants a wordy, convoluted definition of enterprise asset management. It is much clearer to show and see what an EAM system definition needs to cover than describe it, such as the image below. Writing words to specify enterprise asset management will never define EAM well enough


The definition of enterprise asset management is what is in the definition drawing. You can expand the EAM explanation drawing content to incorporate all issues your organization’s EAM definition has to cover. Rather than writing a definition of enterprise asset management, which will be inadequate, confusing, and incomplete, show a picture that fully defines what EAM really is meant to be in your enterprise.


Mike Sondalini
PWWEAM System-of-Reliability
20 June 2022