Asset Management is the art and science of making the right decisions and optimising the delivery of value. A common objective is to minimise the whole life cost of assets but there may be other critical factors such as risk or business continuity to be considered objectively in this decision making.

Asset Management involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets, to achieve the organisational objectives. This balancing might need to be considered over diffrerent timeframes.

Asset management also enables an organzation to examine the need for, and performance of, assets and asset systems at different levels. Additionally, it enables the application of analytical approaches towards managing an asset over the different stages of its life cycle (which can start with the conception of the need for the asset, through to its disposal, and includes the managing of any potential post disposal liabilities).

Alternative views of asset management in the engineering environment are: the practice of managing assets to achieve the greatest return (particularly useful for productive assets such as plant and equipment), and the process of monitoring and maintaining facilities systems, with the objective of providing the best possible service to users (appropriate for public infrastructure assets).