Digital in Utilities – Hype or Hope!!!

Digital is one of the common buzzwords in the market. It combines capabilities of the latest and greatest technology stack, like social, mobile, analytics and the Cloud (SMAC), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and virtual reality and, most importantly, amplifies them by encompassing a seamlessly connected enterprise experience.

With latest reports showing 4.7 billion mobile users, 3 billion people on the Internet, 1.7 billion Facebook users and 1 billion WhatsApp users, digital undoubtedly has already been incorporated into our daily life and work routines.

Digital is changing the world and enterprises all over the world have been gearing up to embrace this new way of doing things. Utilities, too, cannot afford to be unaffected by the digital evolution. However, with utilities carrying a tag of being late adopters of the latest technology changes, it would be thought-provoking to evaluate the impact of digital on them.

This article delves into this phenomenon of digital and its impact on utilities.

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Convergence of IT & OT – An Intelligent Asset Management

6 Years old blog of mine, very relevant even today; probably more relevant.

Gartner & many other analysts have written about “convergence of IT (Information Technology) & OT (Operational Technology)” in past. Here i would try to explain how this convergence would result into intelligent assets, considering some recent industry developments in asset management space like (i) maximo being integral part of IBM’s smarter planet theory and, (ii) ABB’s Ventyx acquisition.

5-7 years ago EAM packages were kind of standalone packages where the assets in focus were primarily the heavy production machines or transport assets. Though EAM packages & SIs implementing them had capabilities of integrating these packages with SCADA, Distributed Control Systems (DCS) etc to get the maximum out of the implementations, but not many clients were able to truly leverage the benefits emerging from these integrations; mainly due to lack of maturity towards softwares, packages & IT systems within the operations & maintenance (O&M) departments. Before someone starts building opinion about maturity of O&M departments, let’s also understand that O&M departments have to be managed with utmost precision and a slightest mistake could be a matter of life & death, as against the jobs done by white collar folks where they easily get a chance to correct their mistakes without critical losses. Hence, the O&M folks really needed compelling reasons to go for a flawless integrated system, hence the reluctance.

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Internet of Utilities Asset Management

With the advancement of new technologies, the world is moving toward intelligent devices and assets. Although sensors have been around for a long time, they have always been local to a machine and do a specific job, without much communication to the outside world. But if these sensors can communicate with other sensors, machines and human beings over the Internet, then this setup can form an Internet of intelligent devices.

This interconnected intelligent device setup can further be augment-ed by software, simulation techniques and algorithms to bridge the gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), and thus help machine operators and supervisors to quickly find a problem area, make quick decisions and act to reduce machine failure.

This point of view delves into this phenomena of smart connected de-vices and assets, their real-time interactions and overall impact on utilities.

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Impact of SMAC on Enterprise Software Applications

Technologies such as Social networking, mobile, analytics and cloud computing have been shaking the IT industry for past several years. But in last couple of years, this combination of technologies together is transforming the business model. IDC calls this combination “Third Platform”, Gartner calls it “Nexus of Forces” and Cognizant calls it “SMAC “- Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. This paper uses the word SMAC to represent this technology stack.

SMAC is disrupting the world. No CIO discussion is complete without considering impact of SMAC on business. Faster than ever improvements in this technology stack, are adding value to whole gamut of businesses. Advantages are many and seem very fascinating, with promises being made as large as – predicting future (Analytics), available anywhere (Mobile), everything so simple and networked (Social), and at a fraction of price (Cloud). This new technology stack has started transforming tomorrow””””s enterprise and has impact on each of the areas of an enterprise, hence subsequently on all the software applications used within and by the organizations.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, SMAC stack will drive more than 26% of the total enterprise software market revenue, an increase from 12% in 2012 – representing over $104 billion new revenue from this stack.

This Point of View delves into this technology stack and finds out how each of the components of this technology stack is impacting enterprise applications.

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Improve Asset Health and Productivity by Leveraging Predictive Analytics

Exploring and producing Oil and Gas involves huge risk, uncertainty, and capital investment. Assets involved in exploration and production are very complex and expensive to design, build, operate and maintain. Hence, maximizing the performance of these assets throughout their life cycle along with controlling the costs is a pressurizing factor for oil and gas companies. Oil & Gas sector also has a responsibility of strictly adhering to Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards along with regulatory compliance. These regulations along with past asset failures force these companies to find ways to proactively predict and prevent asset failures. Majority of asset management software implementations focus mainly on reactive and preventive maintenance only, and haven’t leveraged the capabilities of control systems like SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), Historian, statistical tools along with failure history for predicting the asset health.

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ERP in Cloud – Hype or Hope!!!


Until a few years ago, cloud was considered only a marketing hype and did not find many takers. Decision makers and senior IT executives had deep reservations about it- especially running business critical applications such as ERPs. Today, even though cloud has made a measurable inroads into IT roadmap of quite a few organizations around the globe; it still remains untouchable for the majority– primarily for complex ERP functions. There are concerns on data security, privacy, business continuity and control. This Point of View looks at these concerns in details, while highlighting some of the key benefits such as cost advantage, flexibility and rapid time to benefit coming from cloud.

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The New World of Collaborative Asset Management

Machine to machine [M2M] communication and social media enabled collaboration are two of the most disruptive technological advancements the world has seen in recent times, but both can have a profound implication on the way we manage assets, especially in the aftermarket. This optimal blending of machine to machine communication and the power of social media is what is going to shape up asset management in tomorrow’s world.

Smart Machines
It is a well-accepted fact that, thanks to M2M technology, very soon every machine on Earth will be able to talk about its health and performance. Machines will have the ability to communicate their information wherever, whenever and to whomever wants it. Every machine is going to be intelligent and smart, and in ideal situations, have a self-healing mechanism. Some simple examples would be automatically increasing room temperature in a data center, automatically and systematically notifying users and shutting down servers, and dispatching and scheduling transport assets based on telematics.

With these smart machines, it will become important for machine manufacturers to obtain the feedback from their machines after they are sold for the performance and accuracy of data and signals they produce. Further, manufacturers can no longer listen to just their own machines, but rather include feedback from machines made by other manufacturers, including the competition, to set the right benchmarks.

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Research Report on Asset Management Practices, Investments and Challenges 2014-2019 Research Report on Asset Management Practices, Investments and Challenges 2014-2019, a cooperative and collaborative effort to capture insight that attempts to predict and even guide the future of asset management practices, investments and challenges from a snapshot taken at a very important moment in history. With approximately 1,000 participants from a wide variety of industries around the world, this is the largest and most inclusive asset management study ever conducted.


Source: Research Report on Asset Management Practices, Investments and Challenges 2014-2019.

Asset Management Practices, Investments and Challenges copy

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