Flying on Cloud with EAM
Cloud computing is impacting us in various forms and means in our day to day life in recent times. We may miss to realize the fact that the Social Media application such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube we use day in and out are utilizing the Cloud computing technology to manage the vast user community across the globe. Cloud computing paved the way to provide the stake of Infrastructure (IaaS), Platform (PaaS) and Software (SaaS) as hosted services, which are being capitalized by Business giants who use Internet as the working ground. We are seeing lot of developments happening on this technology where eventually we may enjoy 'Everything-as-a-Service' in near future.
This disruptive technology has invaded all facets of our life, not leaving the asset management business function alone. In this blog, I wanted to take you through a virtual tour on EAM on cloud.
To start with, let me give a quick snapshot, which many of us are familiar with, on Cloud computing: It is the technology where the IT infrastructure (servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics) required to run the applications are hosted by an external agency and users can access the applications in a pay per use model instead of setting up their own infrastructure (called as On-Premise). An easy analogy is our electricity consumption for household. We pay as per our electricity usage while the generation, distribution and maintenance is managed by the Electricity board.
Cloud deployments can be classified into:
• Public: Services are provided by an external vendor, who supports many similar clients. Infrastructure is managed and operated by the external vendor. Top examples are Infosys Cloud Services, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWZ), IBM Softlayer and Google Cloud. As the Public cloud offerings cater to multiple customers, it comes with a cost advantage for the customers
• Private: Services are provided by external vendor exclusively for a specific client who want their operations to be within a controlled boundary. However, as it is a dedicated facility, it adds up to the cost compared to Public cloud.
• Hybrid: A mix of both Public and Private Cloud - To capitalize the cost advantage of Public cloud but also ensuring privacy. Organizations are moving towards the hybrid offering where - Development and QA environments are hosted in Public and Production environment is hosted in Private cloud.
With this context, let me take you through the transitions happened in Enterprise Asset Management area and how to fly over cloud with it. It all started with EAM applications moving ahead from Client Server based installation to Web Based solutions (with lot of known benefits). However, IT infrastructure establishment was still an additional area of investment for Asset intensive industries. Many larger organizations created a new IT department to manage the EAM applications and their support infrastructure where-as smaller organizations requested IT companies to help in such activities. While IT investments (CAPEX as well as OPEX) posed to be a challenge for Asset Intensive industries, Cloud Computing came as a breakthrough solution by shifting the responsibility for operating and maintaining the IT infrastructure to IT vendors. Major benefits of having the EAM solution on cloud are:
• Reduced IT investments as there will be only minimum IT set up required
• Pay as per usage licenses with flexibility to scale up / down resulting in cost benefits
• All IT related upgrades, patches and EAM Solution related patches are managed by Service provider
• Better accessibility across globe over internet as the applications are available hosted.
IBM being a leader in EAM arena with Maximo suite of applications, introduced Maximo EAM Cloud offering to its customers few years back. Customers got the benefits of the Product Vendor also being the IT vendor for the solution. The major advantage for the organizations is that they move out from license charges to pay per use mode, significantly reducing the cost. IBM introduced Maximo SaaS Fundamentals targeting smaller organization. They then expanded the offering with Core modules and configurations available over cloud, however with a limitation for Customizations. Later, IBM came up with latest Maximo SaaS Flex offering where the flexibility of Customization, Configuration and access to development environments are provided to the customers on cloud. IBM has enabled availability of Industry add-ons on cloud offering as well. The best part is - attractive per user / per month pay licensing options as given below:
• Authorized User - Individual logins to access Maximo applications on cloud.
• Concurrent User - User license which can be used by multiple users concurrently but will be considered as a single usage.
IBM Maximo cloud offerings are picking up the market share faster now a days as the existing customers as well new customers have started realizing the benefits.
Few key aspects for choosing a Cloud based EAM offerings are:
Cost Benefits: When the EAM solution is deployed on-premises, the entire IT infrastructure and maintenance has to be managed by the Organization. This is an overhead most of the organizations willing to avoid as it is not their core business. Cloud Offerings provide the way out of this overhead by shifting the responsibility the service provided and concentrate on core asset management functions.
Mobility: Most of the EAM solutions are now available as Mobile applications. For example IBM Maximo Anywhere and Everywhere. Cloud based solution provide the framework to support such mobile applications both in online and offline mode.
Integration with 3rd Party systems: Organization who are using EAM application normally have integrations established with their Finance, SCM, HR or CRM systems. Having these 3rd Part system On-Premise and moving on with EAM application to cloud was a challenge. However, the latest advancements in Cloud computing has enabled seamless integrations with 3rd Party system even if they are On-premises.
Data Privacy: Many Governmental and larger Organizations who are excited about the cloud offering had a hesitation to move on due to the stringent data privacy requirements. However, Cloud service providers have come up with data protection techniques like encryption keys, data loss protection, data backup, vulnerability check and audits to ensure that data privacy for client data is protected on priority.
Choosing the right option:
Asset Intensive Organization can fall into any of the below category on cloud requirements -
1. Organization looking for implementing EAM solutions first time
2. Organization already having EAM Solution On-Premises and want to move to SaaS model without any integration
3. Organization having EAM solutions On-Premises and have many integrations with 3rd Party systems.
4. Organization want to have Production environments On-Premises but to have Development / QA environments on Public / Private Cloud.
5. Organizations who wants to have Development and QA environments in Public cloud, but have the Production environment in Private cloud (Hybrid cloud)
Now as the platform is set before the Asset Intensive Organizations to judge the best option suitable for them and to take the decision to move ahead that option, it becomes a bit challenging to choose the best fit. Few points to consider are
• Organizational set up
• Number of users
• Application module usage
• Data privacy
• Integration requirements
• Data migration requirements
As the cloud offerings are available with varied options to choose from, above mentioned organizational requirements can be easily met and Infosys can also help the customers to choose the best fit for their requirements.
Cloud computing has started slashing its rainfall on the users to change their lives. It time for the organizations to pull up their socks, fasten the belts and prepare for take-off to witness on the Cloud to feel the high altitude experience. It would be awesome to fly on cloud with EAM!!!