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Written by Talan

Asset Management: Preparing Your Enterprise for Technology Change Like IoT

Asset Management is being supplemented with many new and evolving technology influences. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) with solutions - like IBM’s Maximo - have been the focus of most asset responsible enterprises over the past decade.

Other processes and major application systems that compliment an EAM solution have been:

  • Asset Investment Planning (AIP) set of disciplines and supporting solutions to help plan an Asset’s life-cycle;
  • Asset Performance Management (APM) set of disciplines and supporting solutions to help prioritize assets, monitoring asset health and predict the need for related asset support activity.

Technology Influences on Asset Management

  • Growth in mobile technology;
  • Convergence of IT and OT (operations data with asset systems data);
  • Data analytics growth;
  • Cloud technology;
  • Growth of artificial intelligence.

All of these listed technical influences create a need to manage new sets of data from the physical objects (assets) that have evolved to sense, interact and communicate their internal state/status or external environment.

The act of enabling communications of this physical object (asset) status over the “internet” or an internal “intranet” is part of the components included in the term “the Internet of Things” (IoT).

What is Internet of Things for Asset Management?

IoT in Asset Management is a natural extension of the technology evolution that is currently emerging.

Asset management_Preparing Your Enterprise for Technology Change Like IoT

More and more of the products we touch as a consumer or in an industrial application are instrumented to include:

  • An increasing range of sensor capability;
  • The ability to manage data variety, volume and velocity;
  • Event driven notifications/ information.

With connectivity through an intranet or internet, these products provide the option to leverage:

  • Highly connected systems that can be cross collaborated;
  • Increased mobility and agility of the product application.

What are the Internet of Things Benefits for Asset Management?

With an instrumented asset in a functionally mature network, this capability will allow organizations to leverage dynamic Asset Performance Management data and decision disciplines where the Asset Management mindset can move from a “Planned Maintenance” culture to an automated “Prescriptive Maintenance” culture with the help of decision assist support tools or Artificial Intelligence tools. This Intelligent Asset Management infrastructure will feature:

  • Whole Asset Life-cycle system optimization;
  • Reactive to proactive decision assist notifications and automated actions;
  • The ability to qualify asset data, external environments data and operational data to generate actionable intelligence.

In short: A well executed IoT network is the enabler and a foundational element for an effective and efficient (automated) Asset Performance Management (APM) future. Each Asset’s operating context will need to be uniquely understood and documented for these cognitive assist tools to effectively work.

Asset Management 4.0

With the term industry 4.0 being defined by Gartner as connecting embedded systems and smart production facilities to generate a digital convergence between industry, business and internal functions and processes, it makes sense that an Asset Management 4.0 would align to support this convergence.

Technology entrants across 4 categories influencing Asset Management

Current Technology Entrants Emerging Technology Entrants

Industry Technology

  • Solar
  • Storage
  • Micro Operations
  • Wind
  • Fuel Cells Consumer Technology

Consumer Technology

  • Smart Appliances
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Prosumer enablement
  • Applications (Apps)
  • Social networks

Operations Technology

  • Smart grids
  • Embedded Micro-processing
  • Automated Demand /Response
  • Advanced Network Management
  • Situational Awareness

Digital Technology

  • Internet of Things
  • Big Data and Analytics
  • AI / Cognitive Computing
  • Cloud
  • Mobile

It may feel like looking at new technology will be disruptive! It can be. But not looking at new technologies can be a larger risk if ignored in your market while user expectations grow and competitors move to capture new market share through the emerging technology entrants.

The disruptive change may look like a powerful global force, outside the control of any one organization! That same force will influence and drive rapid change for customers, organizers and solution providers.

15 years ago: less than 50% of people had a mobile phone. Today, being able to contact people regardless of where they are: is expected.

Why does your organization need to keep pace with technology?

Not keeping up with the soon to be expected capabilities in technology could have negative emerging consequences that create a pressing challenge to your organization’s resilience to stay competitive. These influences must be at least acknowledged in the ‘near-term.’

The good news is that high performing enterprise leaders are acknowledging the need to keep up with the technology times and keep the high skilled staff available for their evolving data needs.

An IBM Institute study (1) completed in early 2018 suggested that leading companies are preparing for the expected new level of insight and intelligence from data. 92% of the studies’ “Outperformers” leverage internal and external data vs 64% of all others. These Outperformers are focusing on Quality control, Production operations and Machine maintenance. The same study suggested that the Outperformers are forecasting a need for more skills in this area. They are still targeting specific skills development growth in the areas of:

  • Data visualization
  • Advanced data analysis
  • Advanced mathematical modeling

All of this future need will depend on the quality of the data collected and catalogued. Much of the asset health and operational status data will come from the instrumented assets network connected as IoT assets.

IoT may be a major opportunity for disruption in Asset Management. But: IoT is here now!

Concrete examples

A focus on IoT, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence will:

  • Create a supply chain of data from their connected things;
  • Drive a culture to make sense of their operational influences with data, analytics;
  • Take control of where value happens.

Connecting devices functionally is not simple and will have its’ unique set of requirements and disciplines. It is a challenge to interpret the many unique protocols, or languages, in which different things communicate and it must be secure and efficient!

While IoT networks will help us collect and curate the data: once you have the data you have to convert it into information, and insights to make decisions. Organizations will need to put in place analytical capabilities which people can use to interpret (understand) the data.

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If you have usage data coming off of IoT sensors on an elevator, analytics can:

  • Help you monitor usage;
  • Flag issues;
  • Find patterns so that you can predict when a failure might occur.

Organizations will ideally want to take control of where in their process, value happens. New value is captured or created at the operational edge where the people, and the assets of the enterprise live. To create value organizations: these organizations will need to insert themselves to change how their value propositions are experienced.

The Internet of Things can help you take control in new ways

For example :

  • A new mobile application on a cell phone advising a customer of an impending power outage;
  • A new device onto a factory floor to advise operators when intervention is needed to prevent a plant shut down.

Information Technology and Operations Technology convergence will evolve to focus on Asset Value targets such as:

  • Production schedules;
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

An IoT focus gives you a new supply chain of data which is as robust as any approach for managing traditional IT systems.

The IBM Maximo Solution

Software vendors like IBM are working to consolidate their Maximo solution to respond to the evolving needs of this technology evolution. Their latest Maximo Enterprise Asset Management Portfolio shown this August at Maximo World sported inherit solutions and options like:

  • IBM Weather
  • IBM Cognos Analytics
  • IBM Worker Insights
  • Maximo Health Safety, and Environment
  • Maximo APM Health
  • Maximo APM Predict
  • Maximo APM Assist

With this EAM vendors’ current focus: It may not be long before much of this evolving technology such as the Internet of Things – for IBM - may be summarized as the “Maximo of Things”.

In conclusion

Done well, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is many things:

  • It’s when an enterprise performs up to its design standards and equipment operates smoothly when needed;
  • It’s maintenance cost tracking on budget, with reasonable capital investment;
  • It’s high service levels and effective inventory turnover;
  • It’s motivated, competent crafts working to drive return on asset (ROA) and optimizing the promised services and efficiencies that can be delivered from its’ managed assets.

Most of all, great Enterprise Asset Management is the balance of performance, risk and cost to achieve an optimal production or service outcome. It ends up becoming the heartbeat of every successful organization.

Enterprise Asset Management needs to be planned for across an asset’s life-cycle, managed with the mindset of driving excellence in the maintenance and operational execution, and prepared and analysed tenaciously to forecast and predict the potential asset failed states such that mitigating actions can be set in place before the failed state to ensure that assets perform optimally for its operating environment. Many organizations are also preparing themselves for technologies like ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

What does EAM mean for your organization? Let us know…Perhaps we can help you strategize.


(1) Source: What is Industrie 4.0 and What Should CIOs Do, Gartner Report (May 2015)
(2) Source: The artificial intelligence effect on industrial products Profiting from an abundance of data, The IBM Institute, (Feb 2018)
(3) Source: The evolution of IoT in EAM and Asset Life-cycle Planning Data, Don Barry, Asset Acumen Consulting, (April 2019)
(4) Source: Innovating Maximo for Tomorrow- Maximo World Conf, Stuckless and Woodbury, IBM, (August 2019).

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