Knowledge Library


Below is provided the English version to the IAM Glossary. IAM Members may also enjoy a translated version of the IAM Glossary in Dutch. If you are interested in learning more about similar projects and how to get involved in them, please see 'translating the IAM knowledge'. 

Key asset management terms and definitions

Terms and definitions from international standards ISO 55000, PAS 55 and other key sources.





Item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization.

  1. Value can be tangible or intangible, financial or non-financial, and includes consideration of risks and liabilities. It can be positive or negative at different stages of the asset life.
  2. Physical assets usually refer to equipment, inventory and properties owned by the organization. Physical assets are the opposite of intangible assets, which are non-physical assets such as leases, brands, digital assets, use rights, licences, intellectual property rights, reputation or agreements.
  3. A grouping of assets referred to as an asset system could also be considered as an asset.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.1)

asset life

Period from asset creation to asset end-of-life.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.2)

asset management

Coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from assets.


  1. Realization of value will normally involve a balancing of costs, risks, opportunities and performance benefits.
  2. Activity can also refer to the application of the elements of the assetmanagement system.
  3. The term “activity” has a broad meaning and can include, for example, the approach, the planning, the plans and their implementation.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.3.1)

asset management plan

Documented information that specifies the activities, resources and timescales required for an individual asset, or a grouping of assets, to achieve the organization’s asset management objectives.


  1. The grouping of assets may be by asset type, asset class, asset system or asset portfolio.
  2. An asset management plan is derived from the strategic asset management plan.
  3. An asset management plan may be contained in, or may be a subsidiary plan of, the strategic asset management plan.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.3.3)

asset management system

Management system for asset management whose function is to establish the asset management policy and asset management objectives.


The asset management system is a subset of asset management.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.4.3)

asset management strategy (also refer to definition for the SAMP)

Long-term optimised approach to management of the assets, derived from, and with, the organizational strategic plan and the asset management policy.


  1. The asset management strategy converts the objectives of the organizational strategic plan and the asset management policy into a high-level, long-term action plan for the assets and/or asset system(s), the asset portfolios and/or the asset management system.
  2. The high-level, long-term action plans for the assets and the asset management objectives are normally the outputs of the asset management strategy. These elements together form the basis for developing more specific and detailed asset management plan(s).
PAS 55-1:2008 (3.9)

asset portfolio

Assets that are within the scope of the asset management system.


  1. A portfolio is typically established and assigned for managerial control purposes. Portfolios for physical hardware might be defined by category (e.g. plant, equipment, tools, land). Software portfolios might be defined by software publisher, or by platform (e.g. PC, server, mainframe).
  2. (An asset management system can encompass multiple asset portfolios. Where multiple asset portfolios and asset management systems are employed, asset management activities should be coordinated between the portfolios and systems.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.5)

asset system

Set of assets that interact or are interrelated.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.6)

asset type

Grouping of assets having common characteristics that distinguish those assets as a group or class e.g. physical assets, information assets, intangible assets, critical assets, enabling assets, linear assets, information and communications technology (ICT) assets, infrastructure assets, moveable assets.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.7)


<asset management> measure of capacity and the ability of an entity (system, person or organization) to achieve its objectives.


Asset management capabilities include processes, resources, competences and technologies to enable the effective and efficient development and delivery of asset management plans and asset life activities, and their continual improvement.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.2)


Ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.3)

critical asset

Asset having potential to significantly impact on the achievement of the organization’s objectives.


  1. Assets can be safety-critical, environment-critical or performance-critical and can relate to legal, regulatory or statutory requirements.
  2. Critical assets can refer to those assets necessary to provide services to critical customers.
  3. Asset systems can be distinguished as being critical in a similar manner to individual assets.

ISO 55000:2014



Extent to which planned activities are realized and planned results achieved.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.7)


Failure Mode and Effects Analysis – A step-by-step approach for identifying potential failures of an asset, or process, and analysing the consequences of the failures.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.2.6)


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

A set of rules, conventions, standards, and procedures for reporting financial information, as established by the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).



International Financial Reporting Standards.

Guidelines and rules set by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) that companies and organizations can follow when compiling financial statements. The creation of international standards allows investors, organizations and governments to compare the IFRS-supported financial statements. All listed EU companies have beenrequired to use IFRS since 2005.


Unplanned event or occurrence resulting in damage or other loss.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.8)

level of service

Parameters, or combination of parameters, which reflect social, political,environmental and economic outcomes that the organization delivers.


The parameters can include safety, customer satisfaction, quality, quantity, capacity, reliability, responsiveness, environmental acceptability, cost and availability.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.3.6)

management system

Set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organization to establish policies and objectives and processes to achieve those objectives.


  1. A management system can address a single discipline or several disciplines.
  2. The system elements include the organization’s structure, role sand responsibilities, planning, operation, etc.
  3. The scope of a management system may include the whole of the organization, specific and identified functions of the organization, specific and identified sections ofthe organization, or one or more functions across a group of organizations.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.4.2)


Determining the status of a system, a process or an activity.


  1. To determine the status, there may be a need to check, supervise or critically observe.
  2. For the purposes of asset management, monitoring may also refer to determining the status of an asset. This is typically referred to as “condition monitoring ” or“ performance monitoring”.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.9)


Result to be achieved.


  1. An objective can be strategic, tactical or operational.
  2. Objectives can relate to different disciplines (such as financial, health and safety, and environmental goals) and can apply at different levels (such as strategic, organization-wide, project, product and process).
  3. An objective can be expressed in other ways, eg as an intended outcome, a purpose, an operational criterion, an asset management objective or by the use of other wordswith similar meaning (e.g. aim, goal, or target).
  4. In the context of asset management systems, asset management objectives are set by the organization, consistent with the organizational objectives and asset management policy, to achieve specific measurable results.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.12)


Achieve by a quantitative or qualitative method, as appropriate, the best value compromise between conflicting factors such as performance, costs and retained risk within any non-negotiable constraints.

PAS 55-1:2008 (3.23)

organizational (strategic) plan

Documented information that specifies the programmes to achieve the organizational objectives.


  1. ISO 55000 uses the term organizational plan
  2. PAS 55 uses the term organizational strategic plan (OSP).
  3. The terms mean the same. This term OSP is used in places in the Anatomy and other documentation produced by the IAM.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.15)

organizational objective

Overarching objective that sets the context and direction for an organization’s activities.


Organizational objectives are established through the strategic level planning activities of the organization.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.14)


Make an arrangement where an external organization performs part of an organization’s function or process.


An external organization is outside the scope of the management system, although the outsourced function or process is within the scope if its activities influence the effectiveness of the asset management system.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.16)


Measurable result.


  1. Performance can relate either to quantitative or qualitative findings.
  2. Performance can relate to the management of activities, processes, products (including services), systems or organizations.
  3. For the purposes of asset management, performance can relate to assetsin their ability to fulfil requirements or objectives.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.17)


Intentions and direction of an organization as formally expressed by its top management.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.18)

process safety

Process Safety is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing catastrophic accidents, particularly explosions, fires, and toxic releases, associated with the use of chemicals and petroleum products.

Centre for Chemica Process Safety (American Institute of Chemical Engineers)


There are 2 commonly used definitions for a project:
1. Unique process consisting of a set of co-ordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements, including constraints of time, cost and resources.

ISO 10006:2003 (3.5)

2. A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service.

Project Management Institute (PM Body of Knowledge, Section 1.2)

Property, Plant and Equipment

According to International Accounting Standard 16 (IAS16), “Property, Plant and Equipment” comprise tangible assets held by an entity for use in the production or supply of goods or services, for rental to others, of for administrative purposes that are expected to be used for more than one period. Depending on the applicable financial reporting framework, another definition of “Property, Plant and Equipment” might be appropriate.

International Accounting Standard 16 (IAS16)


Effect of uncertainty on objectives.


  1. An effect is a deviation from the expected – positive and/or negative.
  2. Objectives can relate to different disciplines (such as financial, health and safety, and environmental goals) and can apply at different levels (such as strategic, organization-wide, project, product and process).
  3. Risk is often characterized by reference to potential “events” (as defined in ISO Guide 73:2009, and “consequences” (as defined in ISO Guide 73:2009,, or a combination of these.
  4. Risk is often expressed in terms of a combination of the consequences of an event (including changes in circumstances) and the associated “likelihood” (ISO Guide 73:2009, of occurrence.
  5. Uncertainty is the state, even partial, of deficiency of information related to, understanding or knowledge of, an event, its consequence, or likelihood.

ISO Guide 73:2009 (1.1)


Person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by a decision or activity.


A “stakeholder” can also be referred to as an “interested party”.

ISO 55000:2014 (3.1.22)

strategic asset management plan (SAMP)

(also refer to: asset management strategy)

Documented information that specifies how organizational objectives are to be converted into asset management objectives, the approach for developing asset management plans, and the role of the asset management system in supporting achievement of the asset management objectives.


  1. A strategic asset management plan is derived from the organizational (strategic) plan.
  2. A strategic asset management plan may be contained in, or may be a subsidiary plan of, the organizational plan.
ISO 55000:2014 (3.3.2)


Achieving or retaining an optimum compromise between performance, costs and risksover the Life Cycle, whilst avoiding adverse long-term impacts to the organization from short-term decisions.

PAS 55-1:2008 (3.32)

value chain

“A set of activities that an organization carries out to create value for its customers”.

Porter, Michael E., “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance“. 1985

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