How Enterprise Asset Management Helps Enable Digital Transformation

At the end of every year, IT industry analysts and research firms try to predict which technology trends will have the greatest impact in the coming months. Some of the top picks for 2017 include artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, 3-D printing, Blockchain, and wearables. Meanwhile, cloud computing will continue to grow unabated, and billions more objects will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s no question that these technologies are disruptive. In fact, most analysts agree that future success will belong to those organizations that are able to adapt their business processes to take full advantage of these and other IT trends. The concept even has a name: “digital transformation.”

Digital transformation refers to the profound and accelerating impact of technology on business, and IT’s role in increasing agility and creating competitive advantages. It’s no longer enough to implement technologies to support existing business models. Digital transformation means changing the way you do business to address the effect of disruptive technologies.

According to research firm IDC, two-thirds of CEOs at Global 2000 companies will put digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategies by the end of 2017. These CEOs recognize that they must leverage technology more effectively or risk being displaced by more agile competitors.

However, many organizations are only starting to get a handle on digital transformation. IFS recently asked nearly 500 senior decision-makers in manufacturing, construction, retail, oil and gas, energy and utilities, automotive, and other industries their views on the need for digital transformation and the technologies that will drive it. Almost all (86 percent) think that digital transformation will play a key role in their industry sector…but 40 percent lack a clear strategy for it.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) has a role to play in digital transformation, particularly in asset-intensive industry sectors. Done right, EAM is more than just a collection of automated tools for tracking inventory, inspections, maintenance schedules, and work management. EAM, paired with consensus asset management standards and business process frameworks such as ISO 55000, enables organizations to go beyond simply maintaining what they have to optimizing their core infrastructure assets. This not only reduces costs and risks but puts organizations in a better position to drive innovation, meet changing business demands, increase service levels at lower costs, and have a positive impact on both capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX).

EAM also provides the real-time data needed to make faster, more informed decisions. Personnel can access structured and unstructured information throughout the asset life cycle, gaining insights and trends about the asset portfolio to improve communication and collaboration across the value chain.

With the proliferation of sensors and connected physical devices, organizations are beginning to realize the convergence of IT and OT and the value gained by analyzing sensor data from physical assets in order to predict equipment failures and refine maintenance and management strategies. IBM, for example, recently released Maximo Asset Health Insights. This new add-on for Maximo provides customers with the first out-of-box Maximo offering with IoT connectivity. Leveraging the IBM Watson IoT Platform, Maximo is extended beyond the traditional maintenance processes with analytical tools that empower business users to explore real-time data from multiple sources (SCADA, Historian, Weather, IoT devices, etc.) rather than simply relying on static reports.

There’s no question that digital transformation is a long and difficult journey that will fundamentally change the way organizations do business. To be successful, organizations need tools that provide greater visibility into their operations and increase the efficiency of business processes and workflows. By effectively leveraging enterprise asset management solutions, organizations can become smarter, more agile, and better able to leverage technology in all areas of their businesses.


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