BY John Villali

John Villali is a Research Director for IDC Energy Insights

Energy, water, and industrial companies have used asset performance management (APM) technology for years. But these APM solutions were homegrown to serve the needs of a specific business or asset type. What’s new is the availability of third-party APM platforms that can create asset-generated data for improved management and better business outcomes.  

The recent interest by energy and manufacturing companies in third-party APM platforms has been driven by the need to gather and analyze historical and real-time data from an asset or a fleet of assets to limit downtime, drive smarter business decisions, and increase an asset's return on investment (ROI). Unlike the tactical APM platforms of old, which tended to focus narrowly on particular metrics and store that information in a data silo, “strategic APM” solutions use vast amounts of data to create insightful analytics distributed organization-wide to enable better decision making, which can improve productivity, safety, and reliability as well as drive operational excellence.

Data collected via sensors embedded in energy and manufacturing equipment provides a plethora of data to be analyzed at the edge or remotely via a cloud platform. This operational data, combined with sophisticated analytics and machine learning, can provide actionable intelligence to operate and maintain assets in the most efficient way possible.

Strategic APM systems can span preventive, predictive, and prescriptive maintenance functions to minimize downtime and increase the overall value and life of an asset. The continuous analysis of operational data can enable an understanding of an asset's past, current, and future performance to help drive informed decisions. Collecting and placing data from connected assets in a centralized data repository can provide business units across an organization with a unified view of information and analysis. Enterprise access to this data can be leveraged in multiple ways to improve operational efficiencies for asset management.

Bottom-Line Benefits of APM

As described above, strategic APM can lead to heightened levels of productivity, reliability, and operational efficiency in a company's assets—all of which positively impact the company's bottom line. Major benefits of strategic APM include the following:

  • Preventing unexpected outages by using analytics to perform predictive and preventive maintenance to fully diagnose and detect the root cause behind equipment failure
  • Shifting resources from time-based to condition-based maintenance to reduce spending in ways that do not adversely affect the reliability and productivity metrics of assets
  • Providing greater visibility across an organization into the performance of all its assets, leading to faster and better-informed decisions from both an asset strategy management perspective and a capital planning perspective
  • Tracking an asset's degradation from the beginning of equipment failure to the resolution of the failure and restoration of the asset's operations, with full operator actions documented in a production case management system
  • Enabling increased availability and reliability of all assets, leading to longer periods of uninterrupted production with limited downtime

Some companies may also want to consider a digital-thread APM approach across their asset fleet. A holistic view of the health and orchestrated performance of an entire fleet of assets will yield a greater long-term return on investment than the typical break/fix approach many companies use on individual assets.

Ultimately, strategic APM improves the reliability and availability of an organization's assets while reducing maintenance costs, maximizing both operational and financial results to help achieve operational excellence.

Strategic APM can produce real-world results, such as the following:

  • Asset availability improves by 20%.
  • Spare inventory turns improve by 30%.
  • Maintenance labor costs decline by 15% to 20%.
  • Mechanical efficiencies increase by 8% to 10%.

For the full story on the benefits of strategic asset management, including advice on successful implementation and details on the cloud-based, analytics-driven solution offered by Atonix Digital, download the IDC paper, “Strategic Asset Performance Management: A Competitive Edge for Energy and Manufacturing,” sponsored by Atonix Digital.   


John Villali is a Research Director with IDC Energy Insights.

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