Here at Itus Digital, the team is working hard to wrap up our initial product release that’s set to launch in 30 days. We have spent the last 10 months researching, designing and coding the Itus solution and have been extremely fortunate with the outpouring of support from experts in the Asset Performance Management (APM) community who have worked with us to build a great product. We want to thank all of you for your time, use cases, and validation. One of the core motivators we established when launching Itus Digital was to get back to our roots and build solutions through customer and market driven innovation and we have not been disappointed! Your level of engagement, desire to enhance existing APM processes and ‘ideation’ has truly been invigorating and provided the Itus team with great requirements for our initial product release and beyond. Looking back on the workshops, functional reviews, and discussions there have been several key themes that have emerged, and we thought it would be useful to share a few with everyone here.
Theme #1 – Traditional Asset Performance Management is too hard. APM requires a systematic method to integrate people, processes, and technologies and for many this represents a significant change in how engineering, maintenance and operations functions work day to day. While this is most likely not new news to most that are reading this blog, what may be surprising are the learnings when we asked why is it so hard. We were expecting answers centered around people or organizational change and while these are still elements to manage, the responses really focused on gaps in existing solutions attempting to enable the people and processes. Notable concerns included APM process definitions which are too broad or narrow which limits effectiveness, software portfolios stitched together through acquisition which are loosely integrated, hard to use and difficult to maintain as well as implementation approaches still centered on enterprise-wide, ‘big bang’ deployment models which are risky, difficult and costly.
Theme #2 – The Asset Strategy is (still) the key value driver. Over the last few years, a lot of the buzz and energy in the APM space has focused on emerging computing technologies, increased use of various mathematical algorithms, and 3D visualizations all of which offer the ability to enhance asset performance. However, all these refinements need to anchor to robust asset strategies to drive true business value. As we worked with experts in the APM space, we were quickly reminded that the ability to define, manage and govern asset strategies is still the key to success and while great progress has been made to define strategies via RCM, FMEA, RBI and HAZOP methodologies, you are still struggling with strategy implementation and governance across your asset population. Simply put the ability to assess critical assets, define how they fail, determine mitigations, actively manage emerging threats and document remediations sets the foundation for everything else to build on.
Theme #3 – Enable the Equipment Experts. If you agree with Theme #2 then enabling the equipment and operations experts probably is not a surprise to you as another key element needed for APM success. Afterall, an asset strategy is domain expertise curated to an applied structure and process that can be scaled across asset populations. As we worked on our initial product requirements, the timing coincided with the broadest impacts due to the COVID19 pandemic which required all of us to adjust to a new normal. As the impacts of the pandemic set in, several industries were forced to curtail production which unfortunately led to the loss of experienced workers and loss of critical equipment knowledge. In addition, many have implemented essential worker protocols which limits on site personnel and creates a ‘virtual gap’ between front line and back office workers. These new dynamics have further exposed weaknesses in how front-line operators and engineering teams manage assets, share knowledge, collaborate on best practices and optimize strategies. The feedback here was succinct, APM solutions must focus on enabling the equipment and operations experts and capture their unique equipment knowledge in the form of asset strategies. Ease of use, accessibility from anywhere, collaboration and documentation of learnings in a structured manner which are easy to leverage have become essential to success in Asset Performance Management.
Reflecting on the last 10 months, we are fortunate to have a network and community willing to engage and share expertise which has certainly shaped our initial product release and future innovations. Not only have we completely enjoyed innovating with the market again, we successfully validated one of our core beliefs when we founded Itus Digital, APM is much more difficult and complex than it needs to be and we can fix that! Thanks again to everyone who participated.
If you would like to see some feedback on our pre-release product, follow the link below to see what David Metcalfe, CEO at Verdantix has to say. You can also reach out directly to me – firstname.lastname@example.org and I can show you what is coming September 30th!