Comparing digital asset registers

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Comparing digital asset registers

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The comparison of digital asset registries is laborious and complex. Digital asset registry services vary significantly in functionality, so it is good to start the comparison by carefully considering the specific purpose for which the digital registry is being considered.

We’ve collected a few key questions to support in the evaluation:

  • Is there a need to centralize all assets and related information in digital form?
  • Is there a need to digitally record maintenance procedures or breakdowns?
  • Is there a need to assess the amount of insurance premiums for the equipment?
  • Is there a need to maintain a registry so that, in the event of damage, information about the assets can be found location-specifically?
  • Is there a need to manage the movement of equipment among different employees?
  • Is there a need to import information from elsewhere into the device registry or export equipment data to another system?
  • Are there known recurring reporting needs related to equipment?

To make the best possible decision, a comparison must be made in at least the following areas:

  • Functionalities
  • Integratability
  • Information security
  • Price
  • Usability and user rights management
  • Ease of tracking assets

Digital asset register gathers all information into one centralised location.


One of the key functionalities of the asset registry is search capabilities. Even in a comprehensive item registry, it should be possible to quickly find the exact item needed. In addition to search functions, the most common functionalities provided by asset registries are related to the use of equipment. Planning and managing maintenance for devices are good examples. Another aspect involves reserving equipment for a predetermined period to avoid inconvenient double bookings.

One important element to compare among functionalities is the currency of information and the means to maintain it. Is there a way in the system to quickly register new information as it arises (for example, can a fault report be immediately created in case of a breakdown, sending the information to all relevant parties)? Or is the updating of information a task that must be carried out by a limited and named group with access to the system and the necessary expertise?

The necessary functionalities depend primarily on the operating environment and the significance of the asset registry within that environment. First, it is advisable to consider what the critical functionalities are, and only after that, to make a comparison from the perspective of these functionalities.


Today, easy integratability is a key factor in any system. Essential information must flow seamlessly between systems to prevent updating the same data multiple times, threatening data integrity each time.

Open interfaces provide an opportunity for flexible integration between systems. By utilising available interface documentation, it is possible to assess the integratability of a system.

Information security

Information security is a crucial aspect of system evaluation and selection. It is advisable to determine whether the company developing the system has thoroughly considered security in the system's architecture, as well as in all other aspects of the operations.


Price is a very important criterion for comparison when choosing a system. The pricing of the asset registry may be fixed, based on functionalities, the number of users, the number of devices, or a combination of these. Price may, therefore, also impose limitations on the use of the system, for example, through user-based pricing. In such cases, only designated users can update information, making it more challenging to ensure the timeliness of the data.

Typically, a low price is enticing as a selection criterion, but it is crucial to assess whether it provides the necessary functionalities for one's operations. Unexpected costs during usage are always unwelcome surprises that can be easily avoided by comparing system acquisitions proactively.

Customer service and user support are often aspects of system usage that are not thoroughly evaluated in connection with the price. It is advisable to inquire with the vendor whether the ongoing monthly fee includes customer service and preferably in the user's own language.

Instead of price, one possible method of comparison is to evaluate the system's return on investment. System acquisitions typically aim to achieve either time or cost savings over time. These savings have value, so it is good to assess how quickly the purchased system will pay back its investment.

Usability and user rights management

From the end-user's perspective, the most important comparison in system selection is usability testing. What does the system enable, is it user-friendly, does it provide easy access to all necessary features, does it support the existing interfaces, languages, etc.? If it is possible to obtain a demo environment of the system for testing with one's own data, this is the best way to evaluate the system's clarity and user experience.

User rights management is another factor directly affecting usability. Information related to equipment can arise anywhere and at any time, especially if it involves portable hardware. Breakdowns can occur or be detected by multiple individuals. It is crucial that new information is updated immediately so that all system users can rely on the timeliness of the data. This means that the system should allow a large number of users but with smartly restricted rights. Therefore, it is important that user management operates flexibly and offers different levels of access.

The ease of use of the system should also be evaluated. If the system is not intuitive, it is particularly important to ensure that the user documentation is comprehensive and clear.

Tracking assets

The system does not provide operational support if assets have no form of tracking. For the physical world and the system to match, assets registered in the asset registry need to be tracked in some way. Tracking can be as simple as a serial number or something more advanced, such as active signal-emitting tags. Cost-effective tracking is provided by passive identification marks, such as linear or QR code labels that can be associated with the equipment.

There are multiple methods for smart asset tracking.


At its simplest, the asset registry provides users with visibility into all equipment and their detailed information. On the other hand, the asset registry can also serve as the user's operational tool for registering and tracking all activities related to the individual items. Sometimes, the asset registry is used to support billing, while other times it is used for tracking maintenance tasks.

We want to make the comparison of systems easy, and that's why you can find a free downloadable comparison table for comparing asset registries here. It makes it easy to prepare for, for example, a demo meeting with a service offering an asset registry.

For over a decade, Trail has been focused on building an innovative solution in the field of equipment management. We are happy to provide more information about the use of the Trail Equipment Management System and the efficiency it brings. You can schedule a demo meeting directly from here.