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Integration
Integration is defined by the dictionary as combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole.

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" (I. Smuts).


What is being integrated
Listed below are the many types of things that the organization needs to integrate:
  • Estimating, Budgeting and financing
  • Planning
  • Maintenance
  • Operations
  • etcetera


Knots in the Organization
"We learn the rope of life by untying its knots" -- Jean Toomer.

Problems sometimes manifest themselves as "knots." Knots can be tight or loose; deliberate or accidental; composed of many ropes or just one; and visible or concealed. Regardless, all knots require focus, patience and finesse in order to be untangled. In my experience working with different organizations, I have found that knots tend to arrange themselves in five areas.

1.  Financial Knots
Here are some examples of financial knotty-problems I have seen organizations try to untangle:
  • Budget deficits
  • Inaccurate estimates
  • Inefficient operations
  • Outdated forecasts
  • Low Return on Investment (ROI)
The untangling of these financial knots cannot be rushed. If we are not careful, the knot may tighten and even more effort will be required.

2.  Legal Knots
Here is a list of some examples of legal knotty-problems I have seen organizations try to untangle:
  • Unsafe site conditions
  • Escalating lawsuits
  • Unfavourable contract terms
  • Unidentified risks
  • Misaligned policies
Legal knots are particularly insidious. Sometimes the organization may not even be aware that the knot exists until it suddenly reveals itself.

3.  Political knots
Here is a list of some examples of political knotty-problems I have seen organizations try to untangle:
  • Low staff morale
  • Uncommitted (and opaque) leadership
  • Dissatisfied stakeholders
  • Organizational silos
  • Poor reputation
Political knots are often made up of many smaller knots that come together to form a tightly woven mass. Each individual knot needs to be unravelled with mindfulness of all the other interconnected knots.

4.  Technical & Physical Knots
Here is a list of some examples of technical knotty-problems I have seen organizations try to untangle:
  • Aged and obsolete assets
  • High levels of deferred maintenance
  • Unreliable equipment
  • Retiring technical experts
  • Unknown asset failure modes
Technical knots often require an information gathering exercise to reveal the deeper structures of the knot before trying to untangle the outer threads.

5.  Administrative & HR Knots
Here is a list of some examples of administrative and human resource (HR) type knotty-problems I have seen organizations try to untangle:
  • Incomplete records
  • Disjointed systems
  • Inconsistent data
  • Unskilled staff
  • Overly competitive labour market
Knotty problems almost always have more than one cause and generally require more than a simple solution.

Knots hold Negative Energy that Needs to Teased Out...
The knot is what holds the problem together. The knot is therefore the manifestation of the energy in the problem. By untying the knot the negative energy is released.

It may be helpful to look at the knot from multiple angles to get a sense of its internal structure before attempting to pull at one of the threads:
  • The number of threads that make up the knot
  • The tension in the knot (how tight)
  • Whether there are multiple knots wound together or interconnected somehow
  • The type of knot(s) weave - A reef knot? A sheepshank? A bowline? A clove hitch?
  • The age of the knot - is it new or has been tightly wound for a long time.  They say that rope has memory in its coils.
  • Should the organization start with the looser threads first and then proceed to the tighter ones? Or, should the organization pull on all the threads at the same time?
If we do not approach the knot with the right skill and finesse, the organization may inadvertently tighten the knot or create a new knot.

What knots have you had to untangle in your organization? What approach worked best to loosening your knots?



Management of Integration
Listed below are some of the keys steps and core principles in the management of the integration process in an organzation:
  • Understand the organization's goals
  • Understand the division of roles and responsibilities
  • Set up the necessary capacity building
  • Motivation
  • Team Building
  • Line of Sight
  • Set up the necessary business processes/procedures
A process is set of interrelated or interacting activities which transforms inputs into outputs

Asset management requires the integration of several activities to realize value from assets. ISO 55001 helps with the alignment
Fig. Asset management requires the integration of several activities to realize value from assets. ISO 55001 helps with the alignment.


Political "knots" trap negative energy in the organization
Fig. Some examples of political "knots" that trap negative energy in the organization and need to be untangled with finesse.


Clearly defined roles, responsibilities and authorities are one of the signs of good leadership
Fig. Clearly defined roles, responsibilities and authorities are one of the signs of good leadership. In accordance with ISO 55000, these must be coupled with appropriate structures and relationships to establish the asset.


Functional silos will defeat the organization. Rather, integration, collaboration and alignment are some of the critical success factors.
Fig. Is your department pushing on a rope or caught in a tug of war? Functional silos will defeat the organization. All kinds of rope wars are futile. Once we put the ropes away we can focus on integration, collaboration and alignment are some of the critical success factors. How do you get all your departments to alignt to align to the risk register.


Asset management requires integration across all the W-Questions
Fig. Asset management requires integration across all the W-Questions.


As we dig deeper into ISO55001 we find the rich fabric of concepts woven into each chapter.
Fig. As we dig deeper into ISO 55001 we find the rich fabric of concepts woven into the seven chapters. This is where the nuances and complexities of asset management start to reveal themselves.


The journey to asset management maturity may sometimes feel like a maze
Fig. The journey to asset management maturity may sometimes feel like a maze.


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Fig. The journey to asset management maturity may sometimes feel like a knot that needs to be untied.

See also:
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Stewardship


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