The Infosys global supply chain management blog enables leaner supply chains through process and IT related interventions. Discuss the latest trends and solutions across the supply chain management landscape.


December 26, 2017

Design Start Centers to drive Business Performance - Part II

5.     Avoid Vertical Scroll (Rows to Display): Each Resultset comes with an option of configuring "Rows to Display". Multiple factors should be considered while configuring "Rows to Display" for each Resultset since it has a direct impact on Vertical scroll.

a.       Total number of Resultsets for the Start Center; recommended number 3-5 based on the Job responsibilities of the user. If more Resultsets are there, then lesser the number of "Rows to Display" for each Resultset.

b.       Size of the Monitor of the users intended for using this Start Center (typically organizations have standard set of monitors for certain departments if not across complete organization; use this information effectively)

c.       Importance of the Resultsets (In the same Start Center, for some Resultsets you have choose 10 while for some other you can choose 5)

Main objective should be to effectively utilize the screen space; avoiding Vertical Scroll while not leaving any unused white space.

6.       Use Object Structure effectively: One of strongest features of Maximo 7.6 Start Centers is use of the Reporting Object Structures. In simple words, earlier you were able to display columns of only the base table in the Start Centers. However, with 7.6 you can show columns from multiple related tables. This is a great enhancement and can be used effectively to show relevant data from multiple tables together.

7.       Dropping irrelevant records: One of the problems of Resultsets is that the records keep hanging there if the purpose is solved. For example, record is approved or user is informed, however still the records continue to appear in the Resultsets. This leads to clogging and potential risk of missing the relevant information. To deal with it, apply appropriate filter criteria on the basis of status, dates to filter out the irrelevant records and continue to show the relevant information. Again business can provide good insights for this. For example, if you want to show Cancelled Invoices to users so that they are informed about its status. However, since there is no further action on it, they continue to appear there. So applying a filter like showing Cancelled Invoices only for 7 days and then dropping them off will keep the Resultset count under control.

8.       Use Color code effectively: If you want to highlight certain records in a different color like a Critical priority record or a record which missed SLA; then you can choose to highlight them in Red color for immediate attention of user.

9.       Use KPIs for appropriate roles: KPIs should be used when the intent is to monitor the quantity of work rather than the individual work itself. Supervisors, Managers and higher Management are more interested in tracking and monitoring the progress of work. Like Work Orders Progress for the Month or Invoice Ageing Information. Leverage KPIs for this with options like KPI Graph or KPI List View.

KPI are typically on the narrow left side of the Start Center. More number of KPIs may lead to vertical scrolling. Alternative is to provide a COGNOS dashboard.

10.       Performance is key: Users live with Start Centers Day-in and Day-out. If they take more than 3-5 seconds to load, there is a problem in the long run. The problem is aggravated because unless all the Resultsets are completed loaded in the Start Center; launching any application or opening any record won't work. So users are forced to wait till it completely loads. Therefore, avoid long running queries, optimize the queries with right indexes.

You may have certain situation where long running queries are reality and cannot be avoided.

In such case; explain the performance problem to business of the initial load of the Start Centers. And give them alternative that the information is still a click away:

a.       As a Public Query in the application

b.       As a separate Start Center which has this long running Resultset. This is not the default Start Center and users can launch it whenever they need to access it

c.       If the number of Resultsets is becoming more than 6; then also consider a second Start Center for the same Role. Pick more frequently used Resultsets in the first Start Center. You may have to create an additional Security Group just for enabling this Start Center for the Role.

d.       In case users' security profiles enables multiple Start Center tabs for them, it is best to provide rights to users to choose the Default Start Center they want to launch. It is a great feature and helps saving performance by loading the most relevant Start Center in first attempt.

11.       Bulletin Board is great for communication: Bulletin Board is optional however having Bulletin Board at the top of the Start Center is a good idea. It takes less space if nothing is there. It is a great way to communicate common messages like scheduled outages, training issue related messages, critical production issues, etc. The messages come with an expiry date so they automatically fall out after the expiry date. You may choose to post messages to all the users or a specific group of users giving the right control.

12.       Inbox Assignments needs extension: Inbox assignments are great, however they don't provide all the necessary information because Inbox is common for all the objects whether it is Work Order, Asset, DR, PO, Invoice or Service Requests. Secondly, if number of assignments in the Start Center is high, then it is not easy to quickly search through them.

To make the Inbox assignments more relevant for users, augment them with a Resultset. For example, if field users have multiple Work Orders assigned to them in the Inbox then add an associated Resultset for the Work Orders. It will give the leverage to add relevant columns for the users providing them more information which is not directly available from Inbox.

It is not advisable though to do this for all the Objects of the Inbox Assignments. Make the choice wisely based on the primary responsibility of the users.


Designing the Start Centers with above guidelines will ensure that Business is having all the critical and relevant information available to them; and will drive Business Performance.

Continue reading "Design Start Centers to drive Business Performance - Part II" »

Design Start Centers to drive Business Performance - Part I

It is Christmas time, and everyone is busy preparing cupcakes at home and enjoying time with their families. The snow storm outside turned out to be much more intense than it was predicted. With heavy snow, trees started falling down. Some of trees fall on the electrical distribution lines. Now a complete blackout in the area. You are a Maintenance Manager, so you start getting multiples calls. You create emergency work orders to attend the problem and assign them to your crew.

Your crew is disbursed in the field at multiple sub-stations. They use Maximo Start Center to monitor and prioritize their work queue. Due to design gap in the Start Center, these emergency work orders appear last in the priority and gets missed by the crew. Scary right?

Start Center in Maximo (also can be referred as Dashboard or Landing Page) is a very powerful tool. In one place, it provides information about critical tasks, alerts and actions to business users as per their roles and job responsibilities.

However, at the same time, once the Start Center starts showing too much information or irrelevant information, it tends to lose its importance. Often this is the starting point when the users start ignoring the information present there. So it is important to carefully design Start Center so that it displays meaning information which assist users in smoothly running business.

Before starting the requirements discussion for Start Center, it is a good idea to provide a walkthrough to them of the Out of the Box Start Center or a sample explaining the benefits of various Start Center features. If business has Maximo background, it will make the job easier. However still remember that Business may not provide all the information upfront because even they haven't thought through these. They will answer the questions which are asked; so guiding them through the design with the right set of questions will lead to a comprehensive design.

Given below are some guidelines for designing Start Centers which will assist Business Users in driving their Performance:

1.       Identify Roles: Study different Business Roles who will use system and understand their top 3 responsibilities. Their top 3 responsibilities will provide good insights into what the users would be interested in to see in their Start Center. This information directly drives the Resultsets, KPIs, identify Favorite Applications, identify Quick Insert Applications and Report Lists.

Of all these, Resultsets are the most important from business perspective and most frequently used. Name the Resultsets which are intuitive to business.

2.       Apply the right filters: The beauty of the notifications is lost if they are too many. Imagine dealing with 20 records vs 200 records. So discuss with Business, think through diligently and work out appropriate filter criteria which should be applied to show the records. Right set of filters will ensure that the Resultsets are relevant and usability is high

3.       Default Sorting is important: When user login to Maximo, the Start Center is loaded with all the Resultsets. In the Resultsets, most relevant records should appear at the top by default; so that users don't have to sort or search the records again. Therefore, default sorting for Resultsets is important. Most frequently used criteria for sorting is date; typically, with 2 options: Newest record at the top or Oldest record at the top. A good understanding of business is needed to carefully make this choice. If a huge backlog of work is expected for valid business reasons; then going by the oldest record at the top will almost always lead to the newest records getting least attention. On the other hand, having newest record at the top risks the chances of missing the SLAs.

Secondly, try to keep date criteria as the 2nd or 3rd sorting criteria after identifying other critical parameters which business will be more interested to see and address first. It could be based on Priority, $ amount, or Type. Business can provide good insights into it.

4.       Avoid Horizontal Scroll: Select appropriate columns which are most important to business. Keep it to a minimum number of relevant columns to avoid horizontal scrolls. Having 5-8 columns is appropriate based on the screen space available. Label the columns appropriately which makes sense to Business.

......continue on Part II

Continue reading "Design Start Centers to drive Business Performance - Part I" »

September 30, 2015

How will Future Maintenance be?

Tomorrow's enterprise would want to limit their efforts, energies and expertise to the areas of their core competency rather than dwelling on non-core areas. When we look at asset intensive organizations, most of these firms would want to stick to their area of expertise i.e. manufacturing/producing products of value. So, these organizations can spend their resources and energies in innovating and manufacturing products and leave the supporting areas to the experts in those areas like how IT implementations are not carried out in house as it is not their core competency.

Continue reading "How will Future Maintenance be?" »

April 16, 2015

Internet of Asset Maintenance

Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the hot topics much discussed in various forums these days. IoT is considered to be an influencer in transforming the way Objects interact with external world. This arouses a curiosity to know how it influences the Asset Maintenance business function as well. A point of debate is that - 'is it a new concept which can improve the maintenance process or is this something we already do in a different way'. A comparative analysis on the basics of IoT and on the latest trends in Maintenance processes can help to find an answer for this debate.

Continue reading "Internet of Asset Maintenance" »

March 30, 2015

Aspects of Shutdown - Pre & Post Audit

Now that we have seen all the key factors/phases for a successful shutdown such as the scoping, kick off, identification, safety and procurement. A successful execution of shutdown should start with an audit and should be followed by an audit. Let us dive deep now.

Continue reading "Aspects of Shutdown - Pre & Post Audit" »

March 27, 2015

The Expert Talk Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics in the area of Equipment Reliability has been a key focus area within Enterprise Asset Management(EAM) practice in Infosys. Thought papers, frameworks and real-time project experience to reinforce the subject knowledge did not limit us in our pursuit of seeking the ultimate in this domain. Bringing you one among many such pursuits- our interaction with Yuri Gogolitsyn. Read on as Yuri take us through some un-traversed areas within in the domain of Predictive Analytics.

 About The Expert

Yuri Gogolitsyn is an experienced EAI Technical Architect and Consultant who has worked on numerous multinational projects and  has substantial hands-on experience with many leading integration technologies with exposure to real-time assignments involving predictive analytics. He is based out of the UK and before moving into the professional IT was doing brain research dealing with statistical processing of the brain electrical signals.


Welcome to the first edition of Expert Talks, good to have  your with us today. Could you please share with us your tryst with Predictive Analytics?

Thank you! First of all, I think that Predictive Analytics is still much more a research area than a set of tools or products capable of providing quick and immediate solutions to emerging requirements in various industries.

Quite a while ago, before moving into the professional IT, I was doing a scientific research in the area of the brain science. My main interests were, to state it very briefly, in using statistical methods to detect and evaluate brain electrical responses to various stimuli (pictures, words etc.). As a rule, the responses were tiny and buried in the unavoidable background variations and noise. The goal was to obtain a statistical proof that the response actually exists at all and to provide some estimate of the extent it is consistently repeated when you present the same stimulus under the same conditions. This is just one of the examples of a more general area of Pattern Recognition. I believe that Predictive Analytics belongs to the same general area. This area is really huge both in terms of classes of problems it deals with and methods used.


Brain science and its relation to statistics seems fascinating! Do you think we can relate this concept to an Equipment response as well?

 Yes, in fact the concept finds its application in a wider scope. Look around and you will see the science of correlations in all possible aspects of things.  For example, when analyzing large amounts of data on the contents of the supermarket baskets the researchers recently found that when a person buys baby's diapers, there is a good probability that this person would also buy some beer. It was a bit of a surprise! An immediate pragmatic recommendation from the study would be to keep both items close on the shelves to make it more convenient for the customers. However, the researchers did some more digging and found an explanation for this unusual effect. It turned out to be due to young fathers whom their wives ask to buy diapers for their baby on the way home from work. It often implies that the husband expects to spend evening at home with his family, so he also buys beer for himself.

 An example from a completely different area - the width of the annual growth rings on the tree stumps strongly correlates with the annual number of fatalities from heart attacks. However, there is no causal relationship between the two observed variables in this case. The actual driving mechanism underlying this effect is the annual variations in the solar activity.

In the context of Equipment, an example would be to note a response against parameters such as load, pressure, rotations per minutes etc. and try correlating it with the failure pattern. With the objective of optimizing equipment performance, one can study these specific parameters and try channelizing it towards a safer zone. This way, we essentially work on a need based maintenance as we know whether a failure is imminent and could avoid the pit fall of overdoing the maintenance activity.


If you want to describe the Predictive Analytics to a novice in this field, how would it be?


The logic underlying Predictive Analytics could be outlined as follows. A combination of parameters is repeatedly measured for a system under observation. At some moment in time an important event occurs due to an unknown reason - the system noticeably changes its behavior in some way (e.g., breaks or stops functioning). Over a substantial period of observation a large volume of data on the values of parameters that precede the important event's occurrence has been accumulated. The question to answer is to what extent it is possible to predict that the important event is imminent by looking at the current values of the measured parameters.


One fundamental aspect should be stressed here - the repeatability of the important event.  It is impossible to predict events that are unique or occur very rarely indeed - statistical methods just do not work under such scenarios.  On a lighter note, this is nicely illustrated by the following joke.

A University professor is conducting a seminar on telekinesis. He explains to his students that telekinesis is an ability to move objects using just one's will power and says:

-          Let's now all close our eyes, concentrate for one minute and try moving ourselves outside this room into the corridor.

In a minute they open their eyes and are very surprised to see that one person is missing! The professor, stunned not less than his students, asks them for comments. One of the students is doing a course in statistics. He says:

-          I am not sure you would be able to prove that this effect is significant using statistical methods...


 Which industry according to you  would have the most requirements of Predictive Analytics?

Everyone would like to know the future!  The quality of prediction benefits from the careful statistical analysis of the available data. Unfortunately it may often be the case that even the very large volumes of data do not allow prediction with any usable degree of confidence - we do not know if parameters we are monitoring indeed have the required predictive power. You are unfortunately not guaranteed a success when you start dealing with a prediction task. A very good example in this respect is a long history of attempts to predict earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. We are still very far from where we ideally would like to be in this area. You really need not have to put this in an Industrial perspective.


Based on your experience, could you please tell us about the tools/software widely used in the field of Predictive Analytics? Is there a best -of- breed solution available?

There is a huge number of packages for the statistical data analysis available. You can do a lot in Excel, for example, regression models. You can try the machine learning algorithms or even neural networks. In addition to this, there are online courses available on latest analytics tools such as DataStream, Hadoop etc. which can be tried as well. However, I believe that the tools used should be chosen after considering the nature of the problem in details.  You should decide on the approach first, and then pick up the right tool. Also, to work in Predictive Analytics a very good understanding of statistical methods and models is required.


You mentioned about the models, could you please elaborate on this? Is there a best of breed which one can pursue in this regard? According to you, what are the key determinants/factors to ensure accuracy of analysis?


To make a prediction you need a model. A model here is a very general concept. Depending upon the approach and techniques you use the model could be explicitly presented as a formula (e.g., regression models) or, like in neural networks, be not directly visible - embedded in the structure of connections between the neurons in the network. The outline of the general approach used in Pattern Recognition is as follows. Use some part of the data to build a model. Then test the validity of your model by feeding it the data from the other part.  The second step shows how good your model is.

In addition to this, The Data to be analyzed needs to represent an actual behavioral pattern or a trend which can be analyzed using a statistical model forming a basis for drawing meaningful conclusions. It is therefore essential to gather data from a real scenario.


The data gathering aspect is becoming more promising as we move towards the Internet of Things. Utility companies have now started offering the home hubs enabling their domestic customers to monitor energy consumption and control home appliances remotely from smartphones, say, switching on the heating some time before arriving home. Actually, Infosys was already involved in integration aspects of one of such projects.


Everyone is talking about the transition to Strategic Maintenance Practices and the Prescriptive Maintenance practices lately, what are your thoughts on this?

 If we are talking about Prescriptive Maintenance of some expensive equipment in utilities etc., I think that the organizations that should look in this direction are the companies that actually make the equipment. They are in the best position in terms of being able to collect vast amounts of data from many installed pieces of this equipment. They also should have a better understanding of what needs to be monitored. This increases chances of success. 


I am a bit skeptical about quick success in scenarios like "It costs me a lot to maintain my three expensive gadgets/widgets, and one of them failed recently causing me a lot of problems. How nice would it be to use the Predictive Analytics to warn me when one of my gadgets is close to failure? Those guys need to tell me what exactly I should start monitoring. I am sure there are some best practices somewhere".


So quick result is a challenge, what are the other challenges you think one may face while approaching a Predictive Analytics Solution?


From just a task it may develop into a serious research project that would start consuming all your time. Do not expect readily available best practices and universal recipes. You will need to understand a lot about the target process. It takes time and many iterations until (with substantial degree of luck) you arrive to something usable. Furthermore, the most common pitfall I would suggest any analyst is be wary of is generalizing an Asset class, in I think generalizing an Asset class across domains are also not intended. Another common problem I have seen companies struggling with is having huge set of data and having no clue on what to do with them. A predictive data analytic model cannot be generic, it differs case by case. For performing predictive analysis in Asset Management, each Assets specific information needs to be viewed specifically and the asset specific predictive factors determined accordingly.


What are your thoughts on the heavy investments which this area entails? something which Predictive Analytics is infamous for!

I need to make it clear that I am on the side of skeptics in relation to Predictive Analytics, those who tend to believe that the number of scenarios where it is potentially possible to provide a prediction with a reasonable degree of confidence is rather small, definitely much smaller than the number of scenarios where it is not possible. The best negative example we all know about is prediction of the share prices.

The investments in this area should be probably considered as spending on research and development. Usual considerations are valid here - the investments are heavy indeed and in no way they guarantee the desired solution. However, I think that the beneficial side of heavy investments in research is clear - it may lead to better technologies, algorithms etc. that would have much wider usage and substantial benefits.


Besides investments on research, do you think there are other avenues of higher spends which the organization should watch out for?


Certainly the investment cost are higher, the early adopters of predictive analytics would certainly have challenges in substantiating the cost. The investments could range from gathering Instrumentation controls and analytic tools to the company personnel who need to get trained on the using the technology and deciphering the results to act on them. However, looking at the advantages in terms of catching failure before it causes beyond repair damages, the investments seem to be promising.


What would be your advice to Organizations attempting to go the Predicative Analytics route?


Be ready for a trial and error approach albeit at a smaller scale, have some experts who has good qualification in statistical computations. I have often seen companies providing research grants to universities, there is a cost advantage to this. Collaborating with equipment manufacturers also helps as they bring in a consolidation of   data to cover the expanse of operational scenario which is a must thing in predictive analytics. Role of Equipment manufacturer and critical component (e.g. Bearing, Bushes) manufacturer are key and should be partnered with, in the journey of Predictive analytics. Every equipment and machine is different and unique therefore developing predictive analytical model would turn out to be very time consuming and costly at times.
Above all, you also need immense patience to succeed in this domain.  Never expect to master the art and also do not expect a radical result. Taking things one at a time would help and yeah -All the Best!

The future of Manufacturing from an IT perspective

During my MBA days, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain management and of course a lot of other courses in the form of lectures/case studies/web/books. When we spoke about process improvements during those days we spoke more often than not about the lean manufacturing concepts, the six sigma's, the Toyota production systems, the value stream maps, business process reengineering's and all this was not long ago (last decade). Today's organizations when challenged with these issues have started relying more and more on their data and this data is generated from none other than their own backyard "The Shop floor" powered with Big Data. 

Manufacturing Operations has become more complex and intriguing than ever before. The key driver for this has been the ability to generate data from the shop floor, analyze the data and then be able to take the right/much required kind of business/manufacturing decisions.

Continue reading "The future of Manufacturing from an IT perspective" »

March 3, 2015

Best Practices in Facilities Management

Facility management is a business practice that optimises people, processes, assets, and the working environment to support the delivery of the organisation's commercial objectives. It ensures that the customer's facility is in optimum operational condition and that they are receiving services in a prompt and organized manner. The Facility Management Services could range from maintaining building's air conditions, electrical network, plumbing to cleaning building premises, maintaining landscapes, provide catering services etc. It is about improving and maintaining the quality of life within a facility. It is the role of facility management service provider to ensure that everything is available and operating properly for building occupants to do their work.

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March 1, 2015

Importance of Prototying in Package Implementation- I

Catching on latest happenings in LinkedIn; reading through some wonderful posts and getting involved in discussions have been some of my favorite unwinding lately. The guys out here are really cool, there is a lot to learn from them. The knowledge they possess, the experience they have and the way they articulate things have been inspiring. Read a comment from Biju Varughese recently on how a wrongly done requirements gathering could be a precursor to a painful IT Implementation. Actually Biju's note resonated with folks I met recently during a recent customer meet. They had concerns on how requirements are destined for frequent changes. While the folks discussed emphatically on how requirements are changed as late as User Acceptance test, I actually got tele-transported back to my stint in a process optimization exercise at one of the largest utility companies. I would like to share this bit of my tryst with you in a hope that it would add value to your projects.

Continue reading "Importance of Prototying in Package Implementation- I" »

January 22, 2015

Configuration Management for Complex Assets

We are getting into an era where tremendous inventions and engineering marvels taking shape in front of our eyes. At one time flying across continents was considered to be challenge. When this become reality with aircraft, focus shifted to improve the efficiency of these marvels. Latest of the latest aircrafts being designed are expected to offer increased operating efficiency, enhanced passenger comfort and lesser noise. In future hope we will even never realize a takeoff and landing! While it becomes imperative that manufacturing being one side of the coin, maintaining these marvels working for the intended purpose is the other side of it. It is the daunting responsibility of airlines to keep it running. Latest engineering advancements have paved the way to develop huge complex assets like aircrafts, locomotives, automotive, earth movers etc. However, when it comes to maintaining these assets, one important challenge is to manage their whole assembly structure, which we call as 'Configuration Management'.

Some key reasons for this are:
1. Need for visibility of Asset configuration which comprises of various major component assemblies like Engines, Landing gears, Transformers, Traction Motors, Rectifiers etc. This helps in maintaining the Asset configuration up to date which ensures that the asset is intact with all mandatory components
2. Ability to track component and sub components at serial number level inside the major component assemblies with their designated positions on the Main assembly (like Aircraft, Locomotive, etc.). This helps is following the movement of life limited subcomponents across different parent assemblies and implementing engineering changes (Service Bulletins, Directives, Campaigns, etc.)
3. Integrating configuration information with maintenance (includes maintenance programs, inventory optimization for alternates and spares, etc.)
4. Preserving maintenance history of each components for regulatory compliance and warranty tracking


Continue reading "Configuration Management for Complex Assets" »

September 30, 2014

Typical Challenges in a Repair & Return Process - Part 2 ( Analysis)

Analysis & Probable Solution:

The conversation which is mentioned in the blog titled "Typical Challenges in a Repair & Return - Part 1" brings out some of the key issues which are pertinent to a repair & return process. In the following section I have attempted to classify the issues into categories and suggested possible solutions for them.

Continue reading "Typical Challenges in a Repair & Return Process - Part 2 ( Analysis)" »

Typical Challenges in a Repair & Return Process - Part 1

Very recently I was a member of a project team implementing an Asset/Inventory Management system for a well-known pipeline maintenance company in North America. In the course of the implementation I had the opportunity to interact with the business leads managing both operations and inventory functions in the organization.  During these interactions I came across many process related issues like enabling material visibility across the organization, acknowledging service receipts, tracking material movement across warehouses, material reservation by work management teams etc.  But the challenges posed in one process area stood out amongst all these and that was the 'Repair & Return' process.

Continue reading "Typical Challenges in a Repair & Return Process - Part 1" »

September 28, 2014

Automated Workforce Management - Part 2

In service industries, which are mainly dependent on their field force to execute the work, the key ask is to co-ordinate and manage the completion of high volume of work requests that are executed by the field force.  The requirement is to optimize the scheduling and mobility processes which along with the tightly integrated Enterprise Asset Management processes will automatically determine the most appropriate resource to carry out field works and dispatch work orders directly to the responsible engineer and allow for a two way communication flow between the engineers and office support team to provide a real time status update with minimum intervention from office management team.

Continue reading "Automated Workforce Management - Part 2" »

September 15, 2014

Aspects of Shutdown Planning - Safety & Procurement

Safety: There may be many factors contributing to success of the shutdown and the most important is safety. As the safety performance is measured by the number of incidents/accidents, preparation is required to make it nil. So what type of preparation does it require? Identify a team which has experience in plant operations, handling hazardous material and occupational safety to prevent "grinding halt' issues. Team has to review the previous occurred incident/accident and identify the cause for the issue. Segregate the proposed list of activity as Ground work, working at height, Vessel entry and hot work. Do a pre-assessment on the activity that would be carried out and analyze the work area for any worker exposure risk. Safety team has to define the potential loss which is associated with hazards and present the need to eliminate the hazards to Shutdown team. If elimination is not possible detailed plan needs to be framed to deal with the hazards.

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Aspects of Shutdown Planning - Scoping, Kick-off & Identification

Plant Shutdown for a manufacturing or an energy company means a complete halt of operations which means the production lines are closed, hence no produce. But what does a plant shutdown mean to the maintenance function? Does plant shutdown mean that the maintenance operations also come to a halt? -No. On the contrary, plant shutdowns are planned to carry out maintenance and this activity is carried out in full swing. This needs to be carried out in a short time, as the production needs to be restored. To achieve this proper planning is required, as it takes production capacity off-line. Phases in shutdown planning can be broadly classified as PEP Planning, Execution and Post Execution.  This blog focuses on key factors to be considered through various phases of shutdown planning and execution that are put into use for effective plant shutdown.

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September 11, 2014

Planning for EAM Application Consolidation Program

Early millennium saw a burst in various IT applications addressing the needs of Enterprise Asset Management. Over the period it became a strategic application for asset intensive sectors like utilities, oil and gas, transportation etc. However back then, both IT infrastructure and the products were in nascent stage. Typical approach was to have a standalone environments for every site or business unit. Product offered limited functionality and usually there was a small local IT team to support the application. Over the decade IT infrastructure has evolved and so has the product capability. Keeping number of data centers limited and having centralize EAM solutions seems to be a natural choice now. Organizations with multiple standalone installations of EAM solutions are at the point of infliction and consolidations of these standalone instances is proving to be a logical path ahead.

Now that organizations are gearing up for the consolidation the major concern of the stakeholders is to achieve the targeted benefits and planning plays a crucial role in this journey. In this blog I am going to focus on various stages of planning for any EAM consolidation program.

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September 8, 2014

Crafting a Digital Enterprise using SMAC stack

Last week, one of our Senior VPs, Narry, also head of Hyderabad SEZ head, forwarded an invitation for a workshop on Digital Enterprise organized by HYSEA (Hyderabad Software Export Association on 6-Sep-2014. Narry is one of the past presidents of HYSEA. Workshop being planned for a Saturday, initially I thought of ignoring, but considering the topic's relevance on the whole community around us - living and nonliving things on this planet - I decided to register. And this was one of the best learning and stimulating experiences I have had in recent past.

Continue reading "Crafting a Digital Enterprise using SMAC stack" »

September 5, 2014

Asset Management and Dynamic Work Plan-II

There are two aspects of this requirement presented in the scenario; one is the creation of a generic Work Plan while other focuses on making the generic work plan more specific. While Ramkumar Govindaraj, through the MoC fundamentals shares his view on how a change to an Asset and its related Work plan can be organized, I will talk about how we can tailor the "generic plan" to be more "specific"

Continue reading "Asset Management and Dynamic Work Plan-II" »

Asset Management and Dynamic Work Plan-I

My early days as a heavy equipment engineer saw a transition phase marking a shift in the organization from a pure manual maintenance approach to a Computer based Maintenance Management System (CMMS). The growing popularity of CMMS at that time and the organization's experience in ERP for managing its steel manufacturing were enough reason for the management to think on investing in a system to streamline their Maintenance operation in their Heavy Equipment division. To start with, the SMEs were required to identify the must have features in their respective areas. This listed feature was also referred to as the "Wish list". This helped the management to make a decision on procuring the right system fitting the bill.  The business case presented to the Management was that of a "Revolution" which was going to transform the mundane Maintenance process. 

The early results we saw were indeed fascinating; the automation which the CMMS brought seemed to be a true success story across departments it got implemented thereby winning all hands down. When the initial excitement subsided, the concerns started surfacing. What got extrapolated as a fairy tale story bringing wonders to the Maintenance process, soon started showing its shortcomings in addressing our process requirements.  Looking back at some of the items in the "wish list", we realized that they were just a wish which were never got fulfilled or addressed to its fullest potential. The fix we were in - How to question the package capabilities, something which is deemed to be supporting an optimal mix of best maintenance practices? Moreover, questioning the "best of best" would invite more questions about our processes. The solution- Simple, stop complaining, we will have to live with it! 

I still carry the wish list. Having seen multiple ERPs and its respective EAM modules, I juxtapose my list with the feature any leading EAM packages offer; in a hope to map these features in some form or other. With a series of blog I am planning to discuss one such feature per blog to get your perspective/story .To start with, I am putting forward my first in the wish list- A dynamic Work Plan, here it goes..

Continue reading "Asset Management and Dynamic Work Plan-I" »

September 1, 2014

Digitization in Enterprise Asset Management

I have seen Asset Management practice transform a great deal since the time I was first inducted into this domain. From a black board charting the overall equipment status and files holding hundreds of thousands of documents maintaining equipment logs, we have indeed come a long way to have a full-fledged computer systems for our Asset management needs. I may sound like an old school, but actually I have seen this transformation happening within a very short span. Must say that the change has been overwhelming, even better is the rate at which this is continuing to happen. I take a closer look and it seems as if this evolution has been conspiring for a development or should I say a gradual move towards a Digitized framework. I believe that this is not just another technological phenomenon but has something to do with the inherent changes the Asset Management function by itself has been going through lately. Through this blog, I would like to discuss few of these changes which I think has reinforced this digital trajectory in Asset Management.

Traditional asset management v/s the contemporary
Traditionally Asset Management operated in confines of a central Maintenance department. Since the time an Asset was put into operations until it was salvaged or deemed to be discontinued, they were pretty much tagged along departmental boundary. Containing key Asset information such as historical maintenance Logs, Equipment manuals, purchase and registration Information, warranty and lease details etc. which typically existed in an analog forms, in a way met the requirements in a standalone Maintenance scenario. But now, look around and you would see that Asset Management as a practice is increasingly becoming a shared service, shared across multiple departments and sometime across the enterprise boundaries. Asset as an entity has overlap with multiple department within the Organization, be it the purchasing department dealing with the procurement of Asset and its Spares and have responsibilities of tracking critical information on tracking Warranty and Lease information or a safety department retaining critical safety related information such as clearances, permits and certifications. While these departments are not directly involved in the Maintenance functions, they are dependent on it to provide them with the information on Assets on a timely manner to operate their functions more effectively. As Asset Management function leaped the confines of the Maintenance department, it became essential to enable information sharing with external departments. Digitization of Asset Management came as a savior here. It enabled easy capturing and archival of key Asset information such as historical maintenance records, work logs, technical bulletins, safety rule books, the manuals etc. to a format enabling easy storage. Not only this, it also enabling the publishing of information packages which could be exchanged seamless and used by the stake holders as and when they needed it.

Supporting Next- Gen Asset Management through data portability and Smart Infrastructure
Equipment's are getting smarter, even our ever smart Maintenance folks are now equipped with smart devices which helps them to perform their not so easy day to day EAM functions in an effective manner. Digitization thrives on these developments to enable a successful knit of Maintenance functions and these intelligent systems. . Instrumentation controls intertwined within an Assets helps in relaying meaningful Information on Asset performance and health. These information have now become essential in channelizing the Maintenance programs and in some cases cut down on unwanted routine checks and maintenance operations thereby helping in a leaner Asset management functions. Data portability had been an issue within the Asset management space, it would have been a toiling exercise to carry an Asset manual to the repair location for decipher a complex hydraulic oil flow directions. With Digitization, the situation is much easier to manage now with the information within a handheld device, enter marking if needed, as compared to referring an illegible oil drenched manual. As Asset Management witness this new age, it is hard to ignore the much spoken about Asset Management practices such as Predictive and Prescriptive Maintenance. Digitization here helps, for example in converting the signals or distress signs from an Assets into comprehensible messages or indicators of an imminent failure, thus enabling a faster identification and resolution of faults. For enterprise engaging a third party expert for managing their Assets or scenarios involving vendors managing their equipment fleet deployed at Customer facility, the entire Asset Management experience can be enriched a great deal using a digitized maintenance management framework. Real time remote monitoring which has been enabled by virtue of Digitization of Asset information will give Asset Managers a comprehensive of their Asset base. Be it Assets operating in far off sites within the organization or across, the key Asset operational and history information is just a click away.

Though digital asset management may seem like a technological advancement, it is essentially a catalyst to catapult the fast evolving maintenance practice across industries. According to me, the digitization in Asset Management has a strong potential to contribute towards the revival of the domain. However, it is important to understand how Digitization can help to address your organization specific Asset Management needs. This understanding has to be in place before embarking on this journey of Digitization and building any hopes around experiencing a related transformation and a positive contribution towards the Asset Management function.

July 14, 2014

Condition Monitoring- A Case Study

Being currently involved in a research project on Asset Management practice in Construction industries, I have been interacting with folks within the industry to understand the peculiarities involved in their Asset Management practices. One such interaction I think is worth mentioning here and this relates to a sparingly or partially used maintenance practice- The Predictive maintenance in the construction industry. The projects awarded to the construction companies depends largely upon their ability to deliver quality projects in a time effective manner requiring  them to rely heavily on the maintenance functions which drives the reliability parameters and hence governing the upkeep of the equipment. While the industry does reasonably well with the traditional kind of maintenance like preventive and corrective maintenance (CM), the proactive maintenance still lacks the charm.  What do we need for a successful condition monitoring, heaps of operational data? A high profile instrumentation infrastructure? Knowhow of slice and dice data analysis, possibly true but in my opinion these are not comprehensive enough. I think while these are some good enablers, the most important factor for a successful CM is the understanding of reasons behind the every actions which are being performed in the exercise, be it gathering or analyzing a specific set of data or performing a certain set of corrective actions to evade a failure and more importantly spreading this understanding to each and every stake holder involved in the CM exercise. You can witness several CM programs failing because of the limited understanding of holistic program goals. Here's presenting the case study of how a seemingly workable condition monitoring exercise can possibly go wrong.

Continue reading "Condition Monitoring- A Case Study" »

June 16, 2014

Lubrication Management - An Integral part of Asset Management - Part II

The Phases in establishing the Lubrication Program.

Continue reading "Lubrication Management - An Integral part of Asset Management - Part II" »

June 6, 2014

What's your KPI?

Asset Management, a key function, has a strong potential to influence the success of the mainstream business. However, it seems ironical that it has received little or no strategic importance. The scope of Asset Management had been limited to short or midterm goals which seldom tied back to the strategic business goals of the Organisation. Adding to this agony, very few attempts focused on identifying gaps in its orientation towards the overall business goals. One of the reasons for this loose integration I think is the overbearingness with self-centered KPIs. We all know the importance of Metrics, KPIs offers us exactly this. Firstly, it baselines the factors determining the success of an action and finally concludes with the actual measures on how one performed against these set yardsticks. Being comprehensive is very important while aligning the objective span across line of action contributing to overall success of a program. What limits this then? There are few challenges which I think needs to be accounted for

Continue reading "What's your KPI?" »

April 8, 2014

Impact of SMAC on Enterprise Software Applications


Technologies such as Social networking, mobile, analytics and cloud computing have been shaking the IT industry for past several years. But in last couple of years, this combination of technologies together is transforming the business model. IDC calls this combination "Third Platform", Gartner calls it "Nexus of Forces" and Cognizant calls it "SMAC "- Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. This paper uses the word SMAC to represent this technology stack.

SMAC is disrupting the world. No CIO discussion is complete without considering impact of SMAC on business. Faster than ever improvements in this technology stack, are adding value to whole gamut of businesses. Advantages are many and seem very fascinating, with promises being made as large as - predicting future (Analytics), available anywhere (Mobile), everything so simple and networked (Social), and at a fraction of price (Cloud). This new technology stack has started transforming tomorrow's enterprise and has impact on each of the areas of an enterprise, hence subsequently on all the software applications used within and by the organizations.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, SMAC stack will drive more than 26% of the total enterprise software market revenue, an increase from 12% in 2012 - representing over $104 billion new revenue from this stack.

This Point of View delves into this technology stack and finds out how each of the component of this technology stack is impacting enterprise applications.

Continue reading "Impact of SMAC on Enterprise Software Applications" »

March 28, 2014

Lubrication Management - An Integral part of Asset Management - Part I

There was an incident where Alaska Airlines (flight 261) flying from Mexico to Seattle airport plunged into the Pacific Ocean. The accident was caused due to the thread failure on the jackscrew causing loss of pitch control. The jackscrew is responsible for keeping the stabilizer trim in control. The root cause for such a fatal accident was insufficient lubrication.

Continue reading "Lubrication Management - An Integral part of Asset Management - Part I" »

March 6, 2014

ERP in Cloud - Hype or Hope!!!



Until a few years ago, cloud was considered only a marketing hype and did not find many takers. Decision makers and senior IT executives had deep reservations about it- especially running business critical applications such as ERPs. Today, even though cloud has made a measurable inroads into IT roadmap of quite a few organizations around the globe; it still remains untouchable for the majority- primarily for complex ERP functions. There are concerns on data security, privacy, business continuity and control. This Point of View looks at these concerns in details, while highlighting some of the key benefits such as cost advantage, flexibility and rapid time to benefit coming from cloud.

Continue reading "ERP in Cloud - Hype or Hope!!!" »

January 15, 2014

Maintenance Practice- A standard to be followed or adapted?

Preventive Maintenance? - The spine of maintenance philosophy, we all do it, don't we?

Predictive Maintenance? - hmm..gadgets, graphs, analysis etc. heard it's expensive, very expensive,  we don't even go near to it!

Reliability Centered Maintenance? -  Strategy, an engineering framework, failure mode analysis maybe..phew! Which fancy maintenance book are you reading these days by the way?

You might be wondering what is this all about, right? So let me tell you, this is an extract of conversation which I was having with one of my good friends, a Manager at the equipment bank of a leading construction company. Some candid responses which appeared contradictory to what I was thinking about the latest maintenance practices being followed in leading industries. Now what makes these evolving practices such as predictive maintenance and RCM dreadful names? Why is there an inhibition in leaping the boundaries and looking beyond practices such as corrective and preventive maintenance? 

Continue reading "Maintenance Practice- A standard to be followed or adapted?" »

December 30, 2013

Work Force Management - Key Challenges

Work Force Management is about managing the availability of right resources at the right place, at the right time and for the right duration to execute a work. Sounds easy! But it is not. Answers to certain questions like - the time to analyse the work request or the time to assess the resource availability with the right skill set or how optimum is the utilization of resources or how optimum the operating processes are to manage the end to end work execution cycle, where the field force is involved, if not answered properly can pose challenges to achieve the organization's goal.

Continue reading "Work Force Management - Key Challenges" »

September 19, 2013

Safety in Work and Asset Management- Part II

Continue reading "Safety in Work and Asset Management- Part II" »

Safety in Work and Asset Management- Part I

Safety is an important aspect of Work and Asset Management (WAM) process. The Safety standards form an important evaluation criterion for Work and adherence to the safety norms are scrutinized thoroughly. For industries like Oil & Gas, Nuclear, Aerospace, Energy and Utilities etc. dealing with high risk Assets, safety is a critical factor and a mandate to follow. So if we already have such a high standard and even a higher scrutiny, why do we keep hearing about safety related incidents? The reason here could be a missing link of control, accountability and information exchange between the Safety and WAM function. Now why do we say that? Here's why..

Continue reading "Safety in Work and Asset Management- Part I" »

September 12, 2013

Smarter Partnering for Smarter Business

IBM conducts an annual event for its business partners. Generally this is a three days event spread over one full and two half days. This event has many objectives -Connect with IBM senior leadership, understand IBM's plans and commitment towards business partners and new offerings / solutions from IBM -  to name a few. The event was in its seventh year and event participation is only invitation based. From ECS ADT, IBM invited me to attend. As I am an avid networker, hence didn't want to miss this.

Continue reading "Smarter Partnering for Smarter Business" »

September 11, 2013

Knitting Agile with Asset Maintenance - a perspective on Agile Asset Maintenance

"Agile", a very well-known business jargon in the software industry has changed the way software development was executed in the modern times. This new methodology has paved the path for delivering software within schedule and with exceptional quality adopting agile practices. Software community has seen a paradigm shift in the product development life cycle after following 'Agile' methodology. Visualizing the benefits of various new techniques such as Just in Time, Business Process Re-engineering, Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma, ISO 9001, etc., in the relevant industries, experts in other industry segments have tried to adopt the philosophies tailoring to their line of businesses and have reaped phenomenal benefits. Agile is one such philosophy which has got traction in recent times and business functions such as Marketing, Human Resource, Operations, Management and Customer Services have all seen the transformation on incorporating the frameworks from the techniques interwoven into their processes.

Continue reading "Knitting Agile with Asset Maintenance - a perspective on Agile Asset Maintenance" »

September 9, 2013

Instance Consolidation Strategy

One of the major challenges that a globally scattered organization faces today is their technology landscape. With multiple applications catering to local requirements the organization's overall technology landscape becomes extremely complex. There exists an opportunity to simplify the organization's technology landscape by consolidating application instances when the organization decides to harmonize their global processes. 

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August 7, 2013

Key Asset Management trends in Oil & Gas Industry

Within Infosys, we have a renewed focus on Energy Industry which primarily involves Oil & Gas companies for us. For some time, we have been working on finding out key trends and defining strategies for next level of growth for us in this area.

Asset Management being my key research area, I took a holistic approach and reached out to many of our project teams working for Oil & Gas clients, colleagues and researcher in this area. The result was not something new and I guess majority of these trends are often seen in Asset Intensive industries. However, some trends certainly have critical importance for Oil & Gas industry.

Continue reading "Key Asset Management trends in Oil & Gas Industry" »

July 11, 2013

BIRT Reporting Redefined!!

Reporting is an important aspect of any Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) package implementation and upgrade program and it contributes directly towards the success or failure of the program. The level of analysis performed on the reports demonstrates the maturity of the EAM program and the application within the organization. The pattern that I have observed over the years indicates that the reporting complexity increase as the EAM system becomes more and more matured. It starts with a simple list report and then progresses to more complex analytical reporting. Failure analysis, Cost and forecast computation etc. are few of the examples of such complex reporting. With reports being used by different roles within the organization ranging from a person in the field to directors and executives in the management and each one of them having distinct requirements, the available out of the box and ad-hoc reporting is sometimes incapable of scaling up to their needs.

Continue reading "BIRT Reporting Redefined!!" »

July 1, 2013

Asset Management on Cloud

In last couple of years, within our Infosys Asset Management practice, there have been multiple discussions about feasibility of having asset management applications on Cloud. That made me getting into discussing with product managers of couple of Asset Management software providers, about the market trends, technical feasibility, clients' preferences etc. This note would summarize that discussion.

Continue reading "Asset Management on Cloud" »

June 20, 2013

Global Template Solution - Approach

In today's business scenario global organizations are trying to increase their footprint in every corner of the world. Even as they grow globally, their operations are substantially influenced by local business environment, processes and culture. As the organizations grow, the processes become disparate and it becomes difficult to manage operations at global level. So even though 'Globalization' is the buzzword today but it comes with its own set of challenges and one of the biggest challenge is to harmonize the operations across countries / regions and at the same time align them to meet the critical and mandatory local requirements. Organizations trying to bring process standardization and harmonization using enterprise software applications often take a "Global Template" approach; where they model their global business processes, with permissible localization, in these software applications.

Continue reading "Global Template Solution - Approach" »

April 8, 2013

Linear Asset Management and Dynamic Segmentation- Part I

Traditional Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems always treated assets as point assets. Plant equipment, Fleets, IT assets you name it, they are all point assets and have self-sufficient programs available within most of the EAM packages to take care of their maintenance requirements. So what's the fuss about linear assets then?

Continue reading "Linear Asset Management and Dynamic Segmentation- Part I" »

March 11, 2013

Infosys Team at IBM Pulse 2013


I am back again in Vegas for IBM Pulse 2013. Last year, I covered the event live with daily blogs, but this time my whole schedule was so packed that I hardly had any time to write. Hence summarizing the whole event in one blog.

Continue reading "Infosys Team at IBM Pulse 2013" »

January 21, 2013

Managing After-Sales Service by coupling CRM and Asset Management

Guest Post by

Sajit Kumar C.N., Principal Consultant, Infosys and

Ganesh Subramanian, Lead Consultant, Infosys

Enterprise-centric Asset Management is a new model evolved from the rapid and radical change that businesses have undergone. This radical innovation in business is brought about by globalization and may be profoundly displacing many of the well-accepted models that businesses used to follow. 

In such a scenario, the world is rapidly adopting collaboration across value chain as a competitive differentiator. The same holds true for after-sales asset management, which is the last and perhaps the most decoupled "link" in the value chain in asset-intensive industries like industrial tool manufacturing. Organizations can no longer afford to sustain with inward-looking Enterprise Asset Management only ...

Read more on our article in Spend Matters, a global content community dedicated to examining a range of procurement and supply chain issues.

September 24, 2012

How to get more from an EAM Implementation

Earlier I wrote on a very similar topic (Why my EAM implementation is not giving me as I expected) and that included many reasons those were leading to suboptimal output from EAM implementations.  One such reason was lack of quality data in the EAM systems. Also, very often, I see clients mentioning about data cleansing, data enrichment and master data management issues in their existing EAM applications. This made our EAM team to further explore possible reasons for these requirements and find out solutions.

Continue reading "How to get more from an EAM Implementation" »

July 3, 2012

'Asset' in Enterprise Asset Management

"Evolution comes from within", a life comes into existence when an egg develops completely from within and breaks the shell. The evolution of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) over the years can be compared to a similar development, time and again breaking the ever growing shell of EAM requirements. We spoke with Rohit Choubey, Lead Consultant - ECS EAM and Rejeesh Gopalan, Consultant - ECS EAM to get their views on significance of Asset definition in EAM and how it can contribute to the emergence. In this blog, with the example of Asset Management for personal health, they emphasize on identifying avenues for adding more Asset definitions to the EAM purview.

Continue reading "'Asset' in Enterprise Asset Management" »

June 29, 2012

Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations - Part 2

This post is in continuation of our earlier discussion (Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations - Part 1) with Bob Ferrari, the Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters Blog, on "Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations". I, along with Joanna Karlic, an Infosys intern (Infosys Global Internship Program - Instep) I am mentoring, have been looking at what the main pain points are in this area. We reached out to many of our Infosys colleagues to get their views on the scope of sustainability within asset intensive organizations. We spoke to many sustainability and business domain experts who have wide expertise working within asset intensive organizations like Power Generation, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications and Transportation. We further substantiated their view points with our research from various other forums.

Continue reading "Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations - Part 2" »

June 26, 2012

Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations - Part 1

Guest Post by

Bob Ferrari, the Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters Blog, and a periodic guest blogger on the Infosys Supply Chain Management blog.

Increasingly, it is noticed that while discussing asset management, clients are expressing new interest in sustainability. Hence the aim of this two part series is to explore further on sustainable operations and client pain points. The first part in this series has views from Bob Ferrari, Founder and Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters Blog and featured guest blogger on the Infosys Supply Chain Management Blog. Based on this, in the second part, Praveen Agrawal from Infosys will further list down the areas in which asset intensive organizations are going to focus more on sustainability based on the current research which Praveen and his team are doing.

Continue reading "Growing interest in sustainability from asset intensive organizations - Part 1" »

June 25, 2012

TOC for Electric Utility industry.........................Part 1

Being a big fan of Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt's philosophy of Theory of Constraints, I always thought, how effectively can we apply the concepts of TOC to the Utility industry Asset management? As illustrated by Dr. Goldratt in his best seller novel 'The Goal' (novel for a management philosophy sounds abnormal but it is a novel), the ultimate objective of any organization is to make money now and in future. Here in relation to an electric utility industry I would like to modify it to say that its goal is to make money with minimum additional capital investment (I guess that would be true for any other industry as well). An electric utility industry being an asset intensive industry the focus of TOC would be more on to reduce the equipment down time to increase the total throughput of the system rather than just adding the extra capacity. This is just not applicable to the Generation side of business but also relevant for the T&D business functions.

Continue reading "TOC for Electric Utility industry.........................Part 1" »

June 21, 2012

Face book, Twitter and Asset Management

Last month, we were discussing our new Maximo Utilities Amplifier Solution with Ralph Rio, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group ( This Amplifier solution would help Electric Utilities clients in better realization of their work management goals in the area of Capital works, Budgeting, Work Scheduling, Regulatory compliance and Customer Self Service. It also brings in the much required process automation and adherence, thereby ensuring a robust process adherence and control mechanism.


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May 18, 2012

Confluence of IT and Business Strategy for a Transformation program

Emerging business needs and stiff competition are forcing organizations to rethink on the business strategies, often leading them to identifying avenues for improvements and towards what is known as "Transformation".  Various reasons for a business transformation would include smart ways of working, effective information sharing, continuous improvement in the operation model, availability of vital information for better decision making etc. These forms key contributors to an effective transformation exercise.  For any transformation to be successful, it is important that the key contributors are identified and implemented effectively, but how often are we sure of completely meeting our transformation objectives?  The answer is, very rarely! What did we miss then?  Was there a flaw in charting out the transformation ideologies? Or did we completely lose the business context while implementing the transformation program?
Any transformation brings with it both cultural and technology changes, making an enterprise to be extremely cautious about implementing them. Let's have a closer look at the transformation layer, with heavy reliance on IT to drive the business process, predominantly two entities  co-exist within the transformation layer; they are Business Process by itself and the IT. Business transformation is definitely an eye catcher with the top leagues in management as it negotiates well with the top line, converting their short term and long term goals and adding value to their customers thereby enabling them to stand out in the competition. Business process once optimized, it enables better ways to do things going forward. No matter everyone likes it or not, this very idea resonates well with the management.
Business Process Blueprint once ready, the IT owns the onus of translating these business processes or so called rules to ensure that they get implemented seamlessly. IT strategies need to ensure that the business process is completely adhered to. As an IT consultant, I would have myriad way to meet "my understanding" of the expected business requirements but the question is how correct is "my understanding"? How sure I can be while tracing the requirements, all by myself, back to all such related processes which are impacted by the changes I make? How sure am I that the requirements tractability would always lead me to a correct requirement to IT strategy mapping? Who would and how to sign off on such a change? Complexity further aggravates if boundaries in terms of adherence to a best of breed IT solution or package is being pictured by the management. Restrictions get further placed on the IT Implementer to adhere to a safe implementation route, the so called best IT practices.
The Business and the IT layer, having their individual goals and hence their respective KPIs, are often heading towards meeting it and with a typical nature of their execution in which one precedes the other, there is a scope of conflict with little or no scope for corrections. Getting into such situation at a later part in the game creates problems by not allowing a timely retrofit option. IT Implementation often gets done without completely analyzing the business impact, a phenomenon not completely attributable to lack of business acumen but more to do with less or no Involvement during the business blue print phase of the project. What was thought to be a best of breed business process renders to be a mere IT solution without realization of the expected business benefits. What may look good from an IT strategy point of view could actually be a business problem in the future.  How do we make things work then?

A decision on implementing transformational changes entails both IT and the Business consultants to watch out for conflicts and collaboratively implement the change. A trade-off between changes in the underlying business process or negotiating on the permissible IT System changes is imperative but if the entities work in a constructive- Iterative way, it can bring about great benefits to the whole program. There sure are challenges involved like unavailability of all stake holders to validate the change, resistance to change owing to Impact in the multiple process areas requiring revisit etc. but the Impact of not having it is damaging. These challenges could be remediated to great extent by an early partnership in the transformation program, a mechanism to ensure a collaborative working model between the IT and Business entities. They are an integral unit for success of any transformation exercise and should go hand in hand.

May 10, 2012

My own power Generation plant

The summer in this part of country is really hot and has this bright sunshine for most of the year. That's why one would see lot of Solar panels on the roof tops or even dedicated solar generation plants (though I don't see if there is any direct co-relation to the high temperatures out here to amount of electricity generated using solar panels). What is it that makes these installations popular these days? The federal government is promoting the use of Green energy and that's where the utilities have come up with the ways to use this opportunity for distributed energy generation. Traditionally utility customers owned and maintained the Solar Panels but various ownership and pricing models have emerged where in the Utility Company owns and maintains the solar equipment which is installed on the customer roof-tops. Some of the utilities have their own solar generation farms with vast number of solar panels spread across a large area. The pace with which the technology is emerging and the clean energy awareness is growing along with the federal government supporting it; day may not be far when every house is a distributed generation station for a utility.

Continue reading "My own power Generation plant" »

April 27, 2012

Best practices for defining Asset Register

During last couple of weeks, I had some discussions with few of my colleagues from our Utility practice. The reason for discussion was an Asset Management consulting assignment where these folks were helping a utility company to define asset management strategies for them.

This client of ours does not have a centralized asset centric repository and information is scattered in multiple applications - leading to substandard processes, data duplication and inconsistent data - to name few of the problems.  So, this team's focus is to suggest best practices for Asset Management which may ultimately lead to selecting an enterprise package for managing their assets.

Continue reading "Best practices for defining Asset Register" »

March 8, 2012

Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 3 (Last Day)

Today was the last day of the conference and Pulse was open only until 4 PM. We saw large crowd coming to our booth which kept all of us busy throughout the day. We had our speaking session on our solution on Pipeline asset Integrity Management and some IBM meetings as well. A very packed day today and lots of running around from one room to another along with last minute rush on our booth made me lose my notepad on which I had my notes from general session in the morning.

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March 7, 2012

Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 2

Suddenly woke up at 3 AM and could not sleep further. Seems I am having jet leg after 3 days of my travel, not sure how my body's chemistry work. Finished some work, emails.  Saw the sun rising from behind the mountain. Googled some review comments for my hotel - Tropicana, and people have totally different views on sun rise. Nobody wanted to have sun rays coming to Tropicana hotel room and wake them up. After all who wants to wake up early, after spending enough time and money previous night on slots machines in Sin City. It is only people like me who come to Vegas to attend these annual conferences on a business visit and attend stream of sessions, meetings and have to finish their regular office work as well. In spite of all of these, we all love to come back to Pulse again and again, year after year. Gopi GR, our previous Maximo practice head who also incubated Maximo practice within Infosys, yesterday said it is like an annual pilgrimage for maximo folks. For me, it is meeting my clients, friends and learn new Maximo and related products advancements.

Continue reading "Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 2" »

March 6, 2012

Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 1

Woke up with a nice sunrise view as seen from my hotel (Tropicana Las Vegas) window. Had to skip the general session for some unavoidable reasons. Heard from other folks that it was quite interesting which was more on gaining visibility, control and automation to enable Business without limits.


Continue reading "Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 1" »

March 5, 2012

Infosys team at Pulse 2012 - Day 0

I am back again in Vegas for IBM Pulse 2012. Though I have attended all Pulse events since its inception in 2008 (last year I gave it a miss), it still looks new every year.  Probably every time a new interesting theme from IBM makes it worth attending. Also, the horizon of the event is increasing every year, which makes it more exciting. This year, 7000+ people are scheduled to attend this event.


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February 10, 2012

Make your Assets Green, as Dollar is Green

In some of my recent conversations with clients and colleagues, while discussing asset management, we also discussed "green" which was little unusual some time ago in EAM context, but not any longer.

Continue reading "Make your Assets Green, as Dollar is Green" »

August 25, 2011

Role of EAM Packages in Smart Grid - Part 2

This is in continuation of my previous blog on Role of EAM packages in Smart Grid.

This note of mine is focused on debate of ownership issues of Asset Register - where asset date to be kept - EAM system or GIS or both based on data classification.

Continue reading "Role of EAM Packages in Smart Grid - Part 2" »

May 30, 2011

HazMat in SCM Needs to Worry About New Tech Impositions!

During the last couple of weeks, I have been associated with the brainstorming around how best to manage Hazardous Waste or Material (HazMat) for a major US retailer. The client management team is focused on having a solution that covers HazMat of all kinds across the enterprise since that is the core KPI of the department. Most of our initial discussions have been around two threads:
1. Understanding our Point of View on Reverse Logistics (RL) since HazMat typically need to flow in the opposite direction of the regular product supply chain flow
2. Figuring out whether SAP EHS solution is the best bet versus IBM Sterling Commerce RL capability and IBM Maximo's work management capability.
Personally, I wasn't too keen on going for either of these approaches.

Continue reading "HazMat in SCM Needs to Worry About New Tech Impositions!" »

April 21, 2011

Is Customization a bad word?

I remember attending a session on the topic "How much customization is too much" in one of the Maximo events last year.  While the presenter during the event finally concluded by saying that (i) innovative and easy customization approach in Maximo leads client to make changes to Maximo, (ii) Customization is avoidable as there is no 100% fit for any package and (iii) suggested some best practices to avoid and deal customization requirements.

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March 4, 2011

Reminders of Asset Management Challenges in the Railroad and Other Asset-Intensive Industries

Guest Post by

Bob Ferrari is the Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters Blog, and a periodic guest blogger on the Infosys Supply Chain Management blog.

Efficient asset management has become a far more critical need for asset-intensive businesses and service providers. The cumulative impact to U.S. and other international railroads during the recent global recession, along with changing customer service models are keen reminders to how important enterprise asset management (EAM) process management capabilities have become.

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February 26, 2011

Infosys EAM Team at Pulse 2011 - Annual Maximo User Conference

Next week, starting Feb 28th till March  2nd, I'll be at Las Vegas attending Pulse 2011 conference. Pulse has been the stage over the last few years where IBM has propounded the use of Maximo as THE one solution for all asset management blues, regardless of asset categories (MRO/facilities/IT), industry vertical you may belong to or modular footprint (work management vs inventory management vs procurement, for eg). We are a Gold sponsor this year and you can meet me and my colleagues at booth # 305. We have a host of activities lined up :

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January 31, 2011

Best practices for Master Data Load & Validation - Part 2

In my previous blog, you read some of the best practices of preparation of data capture template. As you know, data is the fundamental to all performance metrics in your organization, data accelerates discussions, supports in gaining consensus from stake holders and eases decision making in any organization, you make sure to include all the important data fields in the data template during the tempate preparation phase. Preparation of Data Capture Template continues 

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January 1, 2011

Asset Management Predictions for new decade

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.

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December 31, 2010

Best practices for Master Data Load - Part 1

Many organizations face multiple challenges during ERP implementation due to various reasons; few of them are absence of key data, presence of duplicate data, load errors, incorrect data, etc. This actually leads to incorrect transactions, inconsistent reports, regulatory compliance issues and lack of customer satisfaction.

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December 15, 2010

How to define boundaries for Supply Chain Operations between EAM & ERP

Recently some of my Infosys colleagues attended MUWG (Maximo Utility Work Group) conference and while they shared their experience about the conference, they mentioned about one of the most discussed topics which was "how to define boundaries for supply chain operations between EAMs & ERPs".

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November 4, 2010

Why my EAM implementation is not giving me as I expected?

Enough has been written on this but mainly in context of ERP. There have been many reasons given- toppers are lack of training, lack of top management commitment, poor package fitment and, unrealistic expectation etc. While, most of these hold good for EAM packages as well but I see two other reasons which are also the major factors for EAMs; (i) Master Data Management (ii) ease of use.

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October 6, 2010

Will best of breed EAM packages be taken over by ERPs?

Couple of months ago, one of the colleagues from my previous organization was discussing with me on this topic. His point of view was that now these days ERPs (SAP & Oracle in addition to few others) are coming with almost all the features which EAMs provide. CIOs do not want to handle the complexities associated with multiple pack ages & vendors, unending complex integration issues, and of course IT cost escalations. Hence ERP packages would soon dominate the asset management space as well and there may not be many takers for EAM packages. He also ratified his point of view by his recent experience with two of his prospective clients opting for an ERP instead of an EAM; SAP being selected over maximo in both these cases.

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September 23, 2010

Convergence of IT & OT - an intelligent Asset Management

Gartner & many other analysts have written about "convergence of IT (Information Technology) & OT (Operational Technology)" in past. Here i would try to explain how this convergence would result into intelligent assets, considering some recent industry developments in asset management space like (i) maximo being integral part of IBM's smarter planet theory and, (ii) ABB's Ventyx acquisition. 

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July 26, 2010

Strategies for efficiently managing IT assets

When asset management becomes core business for you as a service provider, it is imperative to find out innovative strategies to improve customer relationship by quicker turnaround times and providing benefits in cost.

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July 14, 2010

PAS 55: The New Standard for Asset Management

Many relate "Asset Management" with 'more professional maintenance', or 'asset tracking', or simply a 'work management software' while for the financially attuned ones it means corporate mergers & acquisitions and Return on Capital Employed. In order to clear the air a bit and define what a physical asset management strategy needs to include the British Standards Institute published the PAS (Publicly Available Standard) 55 standard. PAS 55 encompasses a life cycle view of an asset which includes appropriate capital investments, operations, maintenance, risks, performance and sustainability. This standard is already being adopted by industry regulators as a checklist of good governance.

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July 8, 2010

Would SCM be a differentiator in your Apps Portfolio?

Dennis Gaughan of Gartner in his blog dated 29-Jun-2010 wonders whether its time for corporations to rethink their enterprise applications portfolio strategy ( Well, I think organizations are thinking about it all the time, sometimes when they do their annual planning and are reminded of the morass in their application landscape and sometimes thanks to M&A (esp for financial institutions) forcing them to look at what to sunset and what to fold in.

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June 10, 2010

Sterling Commerce folds into IBM - an Infy perspective

Ever since the IBM acquisition of Sterling Commerce (, the standard questions I get asked is essentially variations around the theme of suitability and impact on our practice - Wasn't this acquisition purely for the BIS B2B integration piece which suddenly gives IBM access to 18,000 customers? Was the SCM piece of Sterling Commerce some kind of an afterthought or collateral benefit, if you may? If at all, it would fit in, where would it be? And most importantly, what happens to Infosys next, being by far (by a few light years, if I may say so myself) the leading player in Sterling SCM package related services in the SI space?
Let's get to the last question first. 

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April 1, 2010

Smarter Buildings for a Smarter Planet: Johnson Controls Case Study

These days, everyone seems to be going green. For many that means switching off all lights during the earth hour or taking a cloth bag to the grocery store. For Johnson Controls, it means far more than that. It’s one company that walks the talk when it comes to leading edge building efficiency and sustainability initiatives. When Johnson Controls expanded and remodelled its Glendale, WI global headquarters the objective was to make the campus first LEED certified platinum facility in the state of Wisconsin. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally sound buildings.

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March 3, 2010

Automating Accounts Payable for Facility Management Firms

According to Gartner and Celent, it costs the average real estate company $21.00 per invoice to manually process paper invoices. Most people are shocked to learn this. Multiply this to the tens of thousands of invoices a facility management firm process every year and this amounts to a fairly significant administrative cost. Automating accounts payable reduces much of the labour and materials associated with paying bills, thereby saving time and money.

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December 31, 2009

Tesco to Less CO: Can Tesco save the world?

Tesco has been blamed for concreting over the countryside, and running up endless air miles importing food and trucking it the length and breadth of Britain, but is Tesco now leading the business fight back against man-made global warming? I happened to watch this programme on Panorama – one of Britain’s most watched TV shows. This is what Tesco is doing to counter global warming.

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November 29, 2009

Enterprise Asset Sustainability

We do not inherit the earth from our parents, but borrow it from our children.

On December 7, 2009 global leaders and environment ministers from all over the world will meet in Copenhagen to discuss about climate change. Climate scientists are convinced the world must stop the growth in greenhouse gas emissions and start making them fall very soon. Corporations are discussing the implications of de-carbonizing the economy on their businesses. Some corporations are sincere in taking sustainability on whereas some are embracing it as a pure PR exercise. Whatever the reason, there was never a stronger impetus on sustainability than today.

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Leveraging Value from IT Asset Management – Insights from Gartner ITAM Summit

I recently attended Gartner’s IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management summit in Orlando, FL ( ). In line with Gartner image and spirit of shaping up and defining what’s hot and what’s not in the IT world, the summit was organized to present the current state and trends in IT Fin, Procurement and Asset Management world and would have certainly appealed to IT benchmark and best practice seekers.

Sessions were organized by tracks and during each timeslot, each track had a session going on a specific topic. I think this was done primarily to maximize the participation, which I believe was a good strategy as most of the sessions I attended were full house. I primarily attended ITAM sessions, though would have loved to attend the procurement ones as well (my portfolio included procurement services).


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October 6, 2009

Critical Assets: Manage them Right for Customer Delight

In my first blog I talked about the ten commandments of Physical Asset Management in which the first rule stated:

Thou shall identify critical equipments that provide goods or services that delight customers

Enterprise asset management was traditionally seen as an internal function of an organization with minimal impact on customer satisfaction.  With the advent of the service economy an organization’s focus has shifted on to the customer. There is a paradigm shift in the way asset management is viewed. It now has two important aspects – Critical Assets and Customer Delight. Asset Performance Management is the new buzz word with focus on delivering customer delight.

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August 27, 2009

Tapping Collective Maintenance Wisdom - An EAM Route?

I recently got a chance to go through an interestingly titled research report from Bill Polk of AMR going by the headline "Asset Management Algebra: EAM = ROI". In these times of increasingly deficient attention-spans, reading a 2-pager is always better than reading a 20-pager with authors belaboring the same point in multiple ways.

Apart from the usual benefits of EAM (ROCE, efficiency improvements, structured information etc) and its new found importance (movement from tactical to strategic), an interesting point which I haven't come across in many other places was about "Capturing and preserving data from an aging workforce". While implementing EAM systems, we typically think of labor management (thru the EAM app or via a little help from more high brow "Workforce Management Systems or WFMs") as a way to capture skills of the maintenance personnel thus making sure the right party is assigned to the right work order.

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January 12, 2009

Contribute - 3rd of the 3C's of Sustenance

A strong maintenance strategy for micro assets may not be the most comprehensive way of ensuring unhindered business operations. Whilst the maintenance manager sweats out on tidying the trees, the CEO is ultimately responsible for the entire woods. What are the things beyond his control? Drought, Floods, Landslides, tsunamis or any other natural disasters. How about arson, terror attacks? Sole policy of paying  fat premiums to insurance companies (that can themselves falter and go bankrupt) would not be enough.

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