Smarter Asset Management for the Smarter Planet
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Our Smarter Planet is composed of Smarter Infrastructures, such as Smarter Utilities, Smarter Transportation, Smarter Healthcare, and Smarter Cities, to name only a few. These increasingly intelligent systems are becoming more and more visible in our daily lives, and hold promise for improving the services we receive from our social and economic ecosystems.
A Smarter Infrastructure is made of various, interrelated assets, divided into three categories:
- Physical assets, such as trains, roadways, power grids, pumps, and buildings.
- IT assets, such as computers, networks, storage, and sensors.
- Intelligent assets, an emerging blend of physical and IT assets (such as smart meters and driverless cars).
The focus of Smarter Asset Management for the Smarter Planet is optimizing the usage of all three categories to create a better outcome: For business, a greater return on their assets; for government, better services for its citizens; and for the individual, a higher standard of living and improved quality of life.
Within a Smarter Infrastructure there are many ways to optimize the usage of assets and improve the asset’s availability while reducing costs. The most important aspect is not about managing the performance of an individual asset. Rather, it is about Service Management: how the asset is operating in the context of the larger system of assets, and optimizing the services that need to be delivered to clients.
Service Management for assets has three important attributes. Visibility enables an organization to see their business operating in real time. Control helps organizations to effectively manage assets and processes that their business relies upon. Automation helps optimize and integrate operational processes that directly support the delivery of revenue generating activities.
Let’s look at an example. In mining, the transportation time of materials from mine to port is critical to revenue generation and time to market. What if one of your trucks breaks down with a hydraulic pump failure? You identify crews available to make the repair, and find you have two options: either repair the pump, which will take 3 hours and cost $300, or install a replacement pump in 1 hour for a cost of $3,000. To optimize the individual asset cost, you decide to repair the pump for $300.
With Service Management you come to a different conclusion. Since your truck delivers $100,000 of material to port every hour, you decide to have the pump replaced (in 1 hr), saving 2 hrs, and preserving $200,000 of revenue.
By managing the truck (asset) in the context of the larger system of assets, as well as the service that was to be performed, Service Management enabled a better business outcome!
The example above is a simple one, but illustrates the insight and benefit that can be derived from leveraging technology to provide Visibility, Control and Automation.
Technology was identified as the most important external force that will impact organizations over the next 3 to 5 years, according to the 2012 IBM Global CEO study. The study also found that outperforming organizations are especially focused on combining technology with the business to drive growth and innovation. As one CEO of an industrial products firm stated, “The biggest risk we face is technological. If we fail to anticipate a huge technology step, we might go out of business.”
The blending of the physical and digital worlds can create tremendous opportunity to leverage technology to optimize and transform your business.
I would like to hear from you about your experiences building and managing an increasingly smarter infrastructure! What is your view of the benefits and risks? What challenges are you facing? How can we work together to build a Smarter Planet?