Technical Blog Post
EAM and ERP - The business case for IT consolidation
This article aims at presenting an overview of the EAM and ERP systems consolidation and providing a usage example of IBM Maximo and SAP tools.
The consolidation of IT systems provides advantages that consequently enhance business processes. Effective consolidation programs always provide significant benefits for the company, since they represent a large number of advantages, which we will see later in this article.
However, a consolidation program is not usually simple to use and it can offer risks in the same proportion as it is able to compensate the implementation efforts required.
Why consolidating systems?
In general terms, the act of consolidating systems improves the operational efficiency, reduces the total cost of IT property, enhances the agility, improves the levels of productivity and reduces the complexity and the risk of having independent systems.
Regarding specifically the asset management issue, the consolidation provides an overview of the company's assets portfolio, where these assests are used, the total cost of property, the support to the root-cause analysis and the simplification of reports that aim at supporting important decisions.
Considerations before consolidating
The business processes will not simply vanish, even if the previous management system disappears or is no longer supported.
When the business processes are not adequately supported, an IT subculture takes place, developing and keeping isolated applications to fill in the gaps left by an inconsistent consolidation.
The promises of reducing IT-related costs and improving productivity will take the opposite effect if the IT systems consolidation is not properly performed.
A rational and industry-specific Suite
Solutions of integrated management of both assets and services are now becoming part of the portfolio of corporate applications for two main reasons: they offer a broad functionality of assets management and they are able of unifying the business processes through the organizational lines that are suffering with fragmented processes and disparate systems.
The companies with a large number of assets and which implement EAR systems for managing their own critical assets infrastructure usually have to rely on third-party components, also known as pop-up applications, to entirely serve their need of asset management. Usually, these applications are neither supported by the IT organization nor auditable. Therefore, they not only put the systems consolidation in jeopardy, but also incur in unnecessary expenses and risks. These pop-up applications raise the IT costs and may represent operational and law-related risks (specific laws) to the organization.
There are a number of available tools that can help the organizations to consolidate ERP and EAM. In this article, we discuss the relationship between IBM Maximo EAM and SAP ERP. By adopting IBM Maximo, the organizations take advantages out of an integrated suite of applications, which offer broadly integrated functionalities in the following areas: assets and service management, service orders and workflow for all kinds of assets (including the IT assets) and related services.
Thus, IBM Maximo offers an out-of-the-box coverage for the organization's needs of assets management in an industrial environment, which is better than any other business solution for services and assets management available in the market.
What the suite of IBM rationale products offers to work together and improve SAP
- An architectural blueprint that can support the integration of non-heterogeneous applications
- Scalable and flexible framework must accommodate:
- Connectivity with sensors
- Communication networks
- Large volumes of data
- Business and process modeling with integration between applications and services
- Comprehensive security and asset management
- Protects customer investment
- Supports Services Orientated Architecture (SOA) - integrating web services and external process engines
- Utilizes open Standards
- Embraces customer’s leadership applications with middleware infrastructure
- Product integration enables interchangeable components and easier migration
- Implementation can be staged as needed
When IBM Maximo is the best choice for a SAP customer?
IBM Maximo is the best choice for those customers who have a broad necessity of assets management in a long term SAP implementation, where the administrators of these assets need a solution of integrated management.
Another important factor of choice regards the existence of a risk to integrate the existing SAP environments. IBM Maximo offers a transparent integration, without risking these environments.
Besides, the client who chooses IBM Maximo can benefit from the specific industry solutions offered by this product and, consequently, manage all classes of assets in a single environment.
BM Maximo enhancements to the SAP basic functionalities
This is an example of a purchase process integration workflow:
1. Vendors entered and maintained in SAP
2. Purchasing Contracts entered and maintained in SAP
3. Purchase Info Records entered and maintained in SAP
4. Requisitions entered and maintained in Maximo
5. Purchases are registered and managed through any of the two systems
6. Receipts are registered and managed through any of the two systems
7. Invoices are registered and managed through any of the two systems
There are several advantages in consolidating EAM and ERP systems, such as cost reduction, fast process adaption and improved asset management, but what are the success factors required for reaching these advantages? Find some examples:
- Both development and support teams are involved during all project phases, looking for guidance and providing instructions on how to fix potential deviations in the post-implementation phase
- The key ERP user is involved to validate and test the new template/model
- All components required to explore the environments, such as interfaces, backups, printing, management and monitoring, are identified, validated and tested.
Successful business case
DTE Energy improves synergy and gains flexibility with
integrated business processes:
Linear Asset Manager