There are many options regarding how to manage the asset inventory data, such as commercially available software, generic database software, spreadsheet software, GIS software, or handwritten inventories.  The key to a useful asset inventory is to structure it to provide the information the system needs in an easy to retrieve fashion.  If the data is not easily accessible, the system will not use it and the inventory ceases to have as much value as it could. 

Table 8: Software Comparison

Commercially Available Software
Specifically programmed for asset management
Higher cost
Data can be searched, costs tracked, budget developed
Generic Database Software
Must be able to program internally
Lower cost
Data can be searched, costs tracked, budget developed
Spreadsheet Software
Creates a list of assets
Standard on most computers
Limited searching and tracking capabilities
Handwritten Inventories
List of assets
Only useful if software is not available
No searching or tracking capabilities

A work order system can be tied to an Asset Management inventory program so that the information put into the work order comes from the asset inventory and so that following the completion of the work order, the information from the repair goes back into the asset inventory. If a system is considering purchasing asset inventory software, some consideration should also be given as to whether the system wishes to buy software that integrates a work order system with the asset inventory. The use of GIS software to manage the asset inventory carries the added benefit of visualizing your data in a map format, as well as the ability to integrate with many forms of Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software.

If a system opts to use a commercially available software, there are many factors to consider. The most important consideration is what the system wishes to use the software for. The system should choose the software that meets its asset management program needs rather than letting the software define the asset management. The system should determine what software attributes are absolutely necessary, which are desirable, and which are only needed if they come with the software. The CMMS Software Selection Tool will likely be helpful.  There is also a blog series (part1, part 2, part 3) that discusses software selection in detail.