After a year-long spate of disruption, asset-intensive organizations are restlessly pouring resources into digital transformation initiatives. Firms running Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) technology no longer seek to just improve operational efficiency, but to enact sustainable change through predictive analytical insights, smart maintenance, and 3D data visualization. How do you pivot for digital innovation with a data-driven EAM function?

Teodora Gaici

Author Teodora Gaici | Copperberg

The pace of digital transformation is picking up across the industrial sector, but many firms have a long way to go before they reach the harvest phase. Copperberg’s EAM Trends Report offers a simple explanation for this setback: 42% of the surveyed professionals have enough data for digital innovation and yet, they don’t know how to put it to work.

Data is touted as a core element for digital transformation success and when firms don’t make intelligent use of this strategic asset, multiple projects are left in limbo. There are nevertheless reasons to believe that the worst-case scenario can be avoided — many of which were presented at this year’s EAM NXT Virtual Seminar.

In what follows, we will explore the key learnings from the seminar as Kira Wehner — Member of Competence Center for Maintenance, Institute for Industrial Management at RWTH Aachen University — and Bas Beemsterboer — Director Solution Consulting at Infor — weigh in on the matter of digital transformation across EAM.

Smart Maintenance Is Making Asset Management Excellence Possible

A fervent need for the intelligent use of data is giving a substantial push to mobilize smarter maintenance processes. As Kira Wehner illustrates in her keynote presentation, Smart Maintenance — Just Do It — How to Utilize Available Data to Realize the Potentials for Asset Management, a smart maintenance approach supports firms on their quest to achieve asset management excellence.

Kira Wehner exemplifies a 3-step road to smart maintenance in a bid to help industry players inch closer to this accomplishment:

1. Create a shared understanding of the digital project’s goals

It is important for organizations to nurture a capacious vision of the objectives to be achieved. As firms think concretely about how the digital project will go into effect, it is useful to set up a KPI framework — and just as useful is to showcase improvement and communicate success. This helps in generating alignment within the company and promoting a shared understanding of the firm’s goals. Today, mutual knowledge also plays a progressively larger role in gaining acceptance for technological transformation initiatives.

2. Determine the starting position

Each digital transformation journey is unique in its kind — and it is through the Aachen Maintenance Maturity Assessment that an organization can find out where its project stands in the field. This analysis provides a set of reference points, such as the efficiency with which firms select and use technology, that are used to develop a targeted improvement plan. This plan marks the beginning of the company’s transformation.

3. Just do it

With digital transformation at an all-time high, firms should get to the point quickly—and yet, refrain from rushing headlong into technology adoption. Kira Wehner warns of risks in the rush to take on technology:

“If you want to implement a singular technology, there’s a whole set of fundamentals that you have to get right before you do that. If you don’t take the time to develop these requirements and fulfill them, you’re bound to fail.”

Educating the workforce for it to gain data competencies is counted among the fundamentals that shouldn’t be neglected. As Kira Wehner reflects back on the lessons learned from the actual experiences of clients, she offers a selection of hands-on tips that should also receive proper attention:

  • Not every use case makes a good business case; instead of considering a restrictive use case, organizations should identify their own rationale for initiating a digital project.
  • Not every error type needs to be addressed; some failures are less critical.
  • More is not always better; it is recommended to use the appropriate tools for digital innovation rather than installing every possible application available.
  • Data layers need to be used according to capabilities.
  • Lacking data structure will render all analysis efforts worthless.

A Different Way of Looking at Asset Data Is Gaining Traction

During the keynote speech about The Value and Benefits of Good Asset Information Management, Bas Beemsterboer proposes a thought-provoking idea: start with the end in mind. “If you don’t start with the end in mind, the projects can go all over the place,” he says, “You need to have a clear understanding of what you want to do — and why.”

A growing consensus among industry experts suggests that knowing where you want to go is an important part of digital transformation success. After years of experimenting with digital projects, Bas Beemsterboer lists this premise as one of the three main lessons that one learns on the path towards transformation:

  • Have a clear definition of end-goal business objectives
  • Plot a roadmap of how to get there in short sprints, with delivered value at every phase
  • Give proper attention to people

Navigating the line between successful digital innovation and failure may be characteristic of organizations undergoing change. The risk of failure is often greater when firms are under the pressure of quickly yielding higher asset efficiencies. A piece of encouraging news, however, comes from this year’s EAM NXT Virtual Seminar: organizations can create value early in the asset life cycle; all they need is a different way of looking at asset data — with the help of EAM and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

The scope of the BIM approach within EAM is threefold; to streamline project handover and optimize asset operation while improving energy efficiency in the built environment and empowering the asset life cycle.

Firms bridging the gap between BIM and asset management recognize the value in enhanced 3D visualization. With 3D modeling data as part of asset management being in its infancy, there are still questions that need to be answered:

Do you have the data? What are the data sources? How will the data get from source to destination? What actions do you want to take? Where? When? How often?

“What you need in order to comply with your desire to do digital transformation is a platform that also offers 2D and 3D interactions,” Bas Beemsterboer says, “[and] a tool for work orders is not a platform. Your asset management practice has to be accompanied by a platform that allows you to implement the new concepts of data lakes, AI, collaboration, and many other topics that form part of your digital transformation project. We start with the platform, we optimize, we customize, we extend, we stretch, [and] we look at how we can differentiate.”

Quantify the Benefit Before the Technological Change Happens

For a successful digital transformation, firms need a vision — and a well-articulated plan that shows the impact of the investment before the digital project goes into effect.

Watch the recording of Copperberg’s EAM NXT Virtual Seminar to learn expert advice on how to make adjustments to your digital transformation strategy and maximize its efficiency.

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