What is Asset Management Software?

Asset management software is a computer program or digital system that helps keep track of an organization’s stuff. That stuff can be machines, vehicles, products, or pretty much any physical item that matters in terms of cost or revenue. Asset management is needed because things – large and small – have value. Losing and item is costly in terms of the capital cost of replacing the item, the man-time spent searching for misplaced items, and the opportunity-cost of not using that asset for productive work when it would otherwise be utilized.

Small organizations typically start out with a simple spreadsheet to track their items. This may works with a small number of items and a few employees, but limited systems quickly gets out of hand as organizations grow larger. Asset Management Software helps organizations keep track of their items by automating data entry, facilitating information sharing, and providing automated alerts and reports. Modern asset management software for distributed organizations usually runs in the cloud, acting as a single system of record that can be securely accessed from any location.

Industrial and Construction Asset Management Software

Every industry has its own unique tracking requirements so a variety asset management software tools exist that are customized for distinct industry needs. Businesses such as construction, oil & gas, waste management, landscaping, and industrial manufacturers often have a wide variety of assets that are geographically distributed and often on the move between locations with different teams sharing and reusing equipment. While there is some similarities, specialized software for these businesses often will look very different than asset management software designed for other industries like Information Technology tracking (i.e. computers, printers, etc.) or tracking work-in-progress products through an assembly line for a manufacturer.

Automating Data Entry

The time savings benefits of asset management should also factor the time spent entering and updating items. Shortened search time is not much benefit if it is offset by long data entry times. In addition, if it is difficult to enter and update an asset’s status, users will avoid doing it, leaving the system underutilized or partly populated. To avoid these problems, asset management systems usually provides an easy or automated means of data entry to minimizes the amount of time required to accurately track an asset.

To facilitate simple data entry, modern asset management systems often include technology integration options such as:

  • Mobile phone software that can run on employees’ mobile devices for viewing inventory, mobile data entry, and scanning items
  • Asset tags like using barcode, QR code, or RFID technology that allow for quick tagging and scanning of items
  • Wireless technologies for transmitting data
  • GPS for identifying item locations
  • Telematics for gathering vehicle data

Combined with alerting and reporting software, these asset tracking technologies help to form a compressive Asset Management System.

Additional Use Cases

Many asset management software solutions leverage their data and field trackers to provide insight into other areas of the organization. This may include additional capabilities such as:


As tracking technology becomes more affordable, the economics of tracking smaller, less expensive items becomes viable leading to larger and larger quantities of items tracked. In addition, embedded computer technology is finding its way into more objects – often referred to the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices may have built-in tracking technologies that simplify managing their large quantities.  As the number of assets tracked grows, software systems are improving their search and coordination capabilities so that usage of the software does not grow in difficulty .

The Evolution of Asset Tracking Usage

The basic start to today’s complex industrial asset management systems probably started with a simple question like, “Where the heck is that skip loader when we need it?” It was driven by frustrated foremen or site managers who were tired of wasting time and money conducting labor-intensive searches for tools, vehicles and equipment that weren’t where they were supposed to be.

From one simple question, a multi-billion-dollar industry has emerged that is transforming the way industrial companies operate. Asset management may have started by making it faster and easier for supervisors to answer the “Where is it?” question. However, today’s fully integrated asset management platforms are letting people at all levels of the organization answer questions that enable industrial businesses to unlock more value from their capital assets and make better business decisions.

Advances in Wireless Technologies to Support IoT

With each technological advancement, asset tracking was transformed from pen and paper to spreadsheets, and now onto web-based, mobile IoT platforms using various technologies such as QR readers, RFID scanners, Bluetooth beacons and cellular devices.

The latest big advancement in asset management is the integration of wireless cellular communications into asset tracking systems. Using GPS trackers, companies can now track assets anywhere at any time with a cellular signal. LoRaWAN, or long-range, wide area network, trackers recently followed, allowing for GPS tracking in areas without cellular coverage to maintain the transmission of IoT data.

To make IoT tracking technologies more useful and usable, cellular companies are now introducing tracking devices that take into account the unique challenges of IoT tracking. For example, unlike cell phones and other cellular devices, IoT asset trackers tend to transmit small, infrequent bursts of data. They also frequently operate in remote mobile locations, which often require off-the-grid power sources. Those that do have access to grid power need reliable backup battery power in case the grid goes down.

The next generation of cellular technologies – LTE Cat M1 and Narrow Band for IoT and LTE Cat NB1 – are specifically designed to address these issues. Lower in cost compared to 3G and 4G coverage, these tracking devices use existing cellular networks to connect to a global navigation satellite system in order to provide asset location, navigation and timing services. These trackers offer almost unlimited geographic range. Their lower data cost enables flexible pricing, and the trackers come with batteries that last almost twice as long as earlier generations of mobile tracking devices.

Slower data speeds make the rate plans more affordable, and the longer-life batteries reduce power outages. As a result, industrial companies can get more efficient and cost-effective asset tracking anywhere at any time with reliable cellular coverage.

It’s Not Just Having the Data, It’s What You Do With It

With each advancement in asset tracking technology, the benefits of using the system spread and began to permeate more levels of management. Today, everyone from superintendents and operations managers to CFOs and other senior executives use asset tracking to make critical decisions that affect operations, the future direction of the company and their bottom lines.

  1. By making decisions based on real-time asset tracking data, onsite managers can move assets in a timely manner to complete daily tasks while reducing downtime, mistakes and rework.
  2. From the office, operations managers can oversee timely completion of projects, help to resolve onsite problems and improve overall management of company assets.
  3. Armed with accurate data on operational costs, senior financial officers can better manage those costs, minimize financial risk and generate optimal returns on financial investments.
  1. At the ownership level, digital asset management offers a powerful tool for increasing transparency throughout the organization, generating new business growth, planning the future direction of the business and putting more money on the bottom line.

From Basic Tracking Tags to Internet of Things (IoT) Technology

Perhaps the biggest advantage of IoT asset tracking is the way it connects all your asset data into one integrated system. In the early days of asset tracking, companies tended to use one or two types of asset trackers to solve specific problems.

While there is no “one size fits all” solution, companies can use today’s varying technologies together to connect all of their assets through IoT.

By connecting all assets using a variety of asset tracking technologies, you can now get more value from your assets and more data to support critical business decisions at all levels of the organization.

Having one integrated platform like Tenna’s allows you to dramatically reduce costs and improve efficiencies by automating asset management through every stage of an asset’s lifecycle. All of this leads to smarter business decisions based on data derived from online dashboards, customized reporting and seamless data sharing throughout the organization.

With today’s new generation of cellular trackers, industrial companies can boldly go where they have never gone before in terms of opening up new opportunities for growth and profits.

3 Hidden Costs Construction Companies Can Prevent

There are a lot of articles that talk about the hidden costs in construction. Many of these are associated with the building of the project and are out of a contractor’s control: fees associated with the state or municipality, environmental delays, incomplete designs, unanticipated site conditions and others. Most companies now anticipate these unknowns and attempt to mitigate them by building buffers into their schedule and budget. (more…)

How RFID Works

Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a nifty technology with a multitude of applications in commerce and everyday life. First used in World War II by the British to track enemy aircraft, RFID has since integrated itself into our world in ways most people aren’t even aware of.

For example, every time you drive through an automatic highway toll booth without having to wait for change, you can thank RFID. If you scan a badge to gain entry to your workplace or some other restricted area, chances are you’re using RFID. If you’ve ever exited a retail store to the unwanted sound of a loud security beep, that’s also RFID. (more…)

Asset Tracking FAQs

Digital asset tracking is growing by leaps and bounds as more companies in the construction, oil and gas and other industrial industries learn about the business management benefits of this powerful technology. These days, management in most industrial companies has a basic understanding of what asset tracking technology is and what it can do. Yet, many companies that could (and should) be using asset tracking are still in the dark when it comes to understanding how asset tracking works and what kind of return on investment the technology produces. When companies interested in learning about our asset tracking system contact Tenna for the first time, we hear the following questions more than any others.

General Asset Tracking

How does digital asset tracking work?

Asset tracking uses high-tech tracking devices to monitor the location, status and performance of company assets ranging from large equipment and fleet vehicles to smaller tools and equipment and more. This information is then transmitted to a sophisticated software system, usually cloud-based, that allows managers to easily review and analyze the data to make better asset management decisions. Asset tracking enables companies to get more out of their assets by providing 24/7 visibility into when, where and how the company uses them.

Does digital asset management require buying new software and/or hardware?

In the early days of asset management technology, this was often the case. These days, the answer is a resounding “no.” Today’s sophisticated asset management solutions offer turnkey solutions that include all the hardware and software needed to get the full return on investment from the system. If an asset tracking system can’t do everything you need on one integrated platform that doesn’t require third-party add-ons, look for one that can.

Is it better to have the asset tracking data on our own internal system or in the cloud?

Cloud-based asset tracking, where the vendor hosts and manages the software, offers many advantages over managing the data on your own server system. It reduces IT costs by eliminating the problems associated with owning and operating your own server, which includes everything from installation and ongoing maintenance to troubleshooting, upgrades and system security. Cloud-based solutions also make it easier to share data throughout the company. You don’t have to worry about performing daily backups to prevent loss of data because the vendor does that for you. Most important, working in the cloud is no different than working on a program installed on desktop PCs. Users won’t notice any difference.

How long does it take to install and train people to use an asset tracking system?

That depends. If you decide to host the system on your own hardware, it can take weeks or even months to install an asset tracking system and work out all the bugs. You then have to invest the time to train personnel on the software.

If you take the cloud-based approach there is no software to install. You simply log into the software using the vendor’s secure web portal, take a short training course, and you’re ready to go. At Tenna, our 30-minute training session is usually enough for field and office personnel to learn the basic skills required to use the system.

What’s the typical return on investment?

ROI depends on many different factors, including the size and type of your company as well as the current state of your asset management process. In general, companies typically see quick and significant improvements in two key areas: reductions in operational cost and more efficient asset utilization. From reducing maintenance, labor and equipment replacement costs to bidding for and winning more jobs through improved customer service, asset management software quickly pays for itself while driving more dollars to your bottom line.

Asset Tracking Security

How secure are the devices used to track equipment and vehicles?

Digital asset management offers many features to make your data safe and secure, including the tracking devices themselves. Most asset tracking systems offer the ability to encrypt and password-protect the data on the devices. They also allow you to remotely delete data from laptops, tablets or other mobile devices that get lost or stolen.

At the same time, no technology is 100% safe from determined hackers. For example, technology-savvy criminals can use GPS “signal jammers” to disable GPS tracking devices in order to commit theft. However, using encryption and password protection features will provide a high level of data security with most asset trackers.

How secure is the software that stores the data?

That depends on the security systems and procedures employed by your service provider. At Tenna, we use a variety of security procedures to protect your data. For example, we host your data on Amazon Web Services, while utilizing HTTPS-level browser protection and hashed passwords for all users.  We protect our back-end database with secure passwords and very limited access. We perform daily back-ups of all data, employ virus scanning on all laptops used at Tenna, and lock down all access to Tenna through our firewall. As a result of these and other security measures, we are A+ rated by QUALYS SSL LABS, which verifies proper use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.

Note: for you IT folks who want the details non-techies don’t understand, we’ll be posting a blog soon that covers our security measures in more depth.

Is my data safer stored on my own servers or in the cloud?

Storing your asset tracking data in the cloud tends to be safer for several reasons. Because asset management vendors specialize in developing and managing software, they have more IT resources and expertise than most companies. They use the latest data security techniques to protect their systems against hackers, and they use multiple servers to ensure your data is properly backed up. Unless you have a sophisticated IT team that has the discipline to take the proper steps to prevent data breaches and back up the data every day, you’re better off going with the cloud.

What is the biggest security mistake companies make when tracking assets?

Failure to follow basic Internet security protocols. These include having secure passwords, changing those passwords on a regular basis, encrypting and backing up the data, and limiting access to your most sensitive data. Every company should have written data security procedures and make sure they are followed without exception.

What should I do to improve the security of my asset tracking system?

Take a disciplined approach to IoT security. Stay up to date on data security best practices. Constantly communicate with employees about the importance of data security and how to protect it. For example, never share user passwords, even among fellow employees. Make it a policy to change passwords on a regular basis. Remove former employees from the system as soon as they leave the company so they no longer have access.

At Tenna, we protect the safety and integrity of our customers’ data as rigorously as we protect our own. Use our system correctly, employ good cybersecurity procedures, and at the end of the day you can have confidence in knowing that your data is as safe and secure as today’s technology can make it.

Tracking Sites and Yards

Tracking tools, equipment and other assets in laydown yards and job sites used to be an inefficient and time-consuming task for construction and other large industrial companies. Manual processes for checking equipment in and out of sites made it difficult to determine their location and status. Yard inventories were often inaccurate and out of date. Misidentification, loss and theft of assets increased operational costs in addition to making it difficult to complete projects on time. Plus, the lack of real-time data forced managers to constantly work behind the curve rather than ahead of it. With the advent of digital tracking technologies over the past decade, today’s asset managers have it much easier. (more…)

The Value of Fleet Tracking for Construction Companies

Companies rely on their fleet of vehicles to get equipment and materials to job sites, finish projects on time & stay within budget. From heavy civil contractors to utility contractors and more, construction companies rely on their fleet of vehicles, trucks and trailers to get equipment and materials to job sites, finish projects on time and stay within budget. That’s why more and more construction firms are employing digital asset management systems like Tenna to capture the data they need to efficiently manage their fleets. (more…)

How Growing Construction Companies Can Build Their Business And Protect Their Bottom Line Through Cloud-Based Asset Management

For the past two decades, digital asset management has enabled construction companies to track their assets anywhere at any time with a minimum of manual involvement. This has produced significant improvements in operational efficiencies, lower costs and healthier bottom lines for construction companies of all types and sizes. (more…)