As we are welcoming the New Year 2011, I tried to figure out what Asset Management software users (mainly Asset Intensive organizations) should look for from their Asset Management implementation in next few years. Based on my experience from some direct & indirect client interactions in last couple of years, I tried putting together a list of trends and here is the synopsis.
In my view, Asset management software trends would vary based on the geography or economy. I see two different kinds of geographies/economies: (i) Matured Market (ii) Emerging Market. These two markets would have significant differences in Asset Management Software needs.
Matured Market - Most of the organizations in these markets have been using asset management applications for some time and now they should look for value adds to their existing implementations. Typical value adds, they should consider are:
• Consolidation & Upgrade - Many organizations in these markets have been using multiple applications, instances or versions of asset management applications due to various technology & applications limitations, acquisition of new plants using different applications, geographical spread etc. These organizations should look for consolidating their disparate systems into one platform of a single version of one application. This consolidation would help these organizations in harmonizing their business processes, reducing redundancy & inconsistency across applications, reduction in overall cost of operations, improvement in operational efficiency etc to name few of the benefits.
• Predictive Maintenance - Most of the organizations in these markets are still mainly using asset management software for Preventive & corrective maintenance. They use Predictive maintenance to some extent but are not taking full advantage. Predictive Maintenance should be the next area of improvement for them to move one level higher in asset management maturity model.
• Mobility Solutions - Though few of the organizations use mobile solutions for their asset management users, but Mobile solutions usage is still not reached the maturity levels as it should have. Maintenance users are not the back-office users and they work most of the time in the field working with machines, hence in order to increase their efficiency, organizations should look for equipping them with application enabled mobile devices where they should be able to access & use all features of asset management application quickly & easily.
• Integration with sensors, smart devices, GIS - Organizations in this market should start exploring the usage of integrating their asset management applications with smart devices to increase the uptime of their assets. Few organizations have integration with RFID tags, GIS etc. Advancement in technology fuelled by increased awareness in market & resource availability has mad
• Visualization, Optimization & Usability - End users for asset management applications are mainly the maintenance technicians & field engineers who are more comfortable with their production machines than the computer systems running software applications. Hence these users would look for an enhanced usability from asset management applications which would help them in using the software with fewer clicks in less time. Touch Screens, easier navigations etc could be some solutions for these users.
Emerging Market- Lots of new infrastructure is being developed for this market. Airports, Rail & Road infrastructure, Power Plants, Oil & Gas Refineries are coming up, which all need asset management applications to manage their heavy & critical assets. Hence these markets would take time to reach the level of asset management software usages as in matured economies. These markets have different needs:
• Master Data Management- These organizations would focus more on having a reliable, usable master data in their asset management software. Asset management softwares need an extensive planning for master data management. Even a small inefficiency in master data may lead to an unusable application. These organizations would focus on defining asset registers, standard operating procedures based on OEM supplier's recommendations. An interesting trend here for Greenfield project situation could be integration with EPC systems which would help them in automatically populating Asset register, BOM, spare parts, SOPs etc from EPC software.
• Preventive Maintenance to start with - These organizations would focus on corrective & preventive maintenance practices to start with and should wait for integration with SCADA systems. Once their corrective & preventive maintenance work strategies are in place and system & users get maturity, they should plan for to move the Predictive maintenance.
• Mobility Solutions - Mobile solutions are no longer considered an advanced technology in today's scenario. In order to have an effective & efficient usage of asset management application, companies should look for implementing mobile solutions in the initial phases of implementation. Usage of mobile solution would increase the acceptability of asset management applications among field users.
Emerging markets certainly have most of the Matured Markets' requirements (except for consolidation & upgrade) as well but not in next few years. Emerging market initially would need to have basic software usage in place and then look for attaining next level of asset management maturity but certainly these markets would less time to reach the next maturity level as compared to time taken by matured market.