The mission of this group is to bring together utility professionals in the power industry who are in the thick of the digital utility transformation. 

WARNING: SIGN-IN

You need to be a member of Energy Central to access some features and content. Please or register to continue.

Post

Top Trends in EAM: #1 Mobilizing your EAM solution

image credit: Top Trends in EAM: #1 Mobilizing your EAM solution

Outlining My Top EAM Predictions 

Enterprise Asset Management systems have come a long way since I first started working with them twenty years ago. As we enter a new era of IoT devices, machine learning and analytics, I have become even more interested in where EAM is headed in the future.  

Last year I presented on this topic. Due to the popularity of this session, I’ve decided to expand on the trends I presented at the time. This article is the first in the series:   

Trend #1: Mobile Workforce Enablement 

The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought mobile working into the mainstream, but this is a trend that has been seeing increasing traction over the past few years. While utilities have always had a mobile workforce to manage, the trend for mobile workers continues to increase. Some of the reasons why include: 

  • The pervasiveness of affordable devices: Previously, electronic work orders could only be monitored in the field using extremely expensive ruggedized devices. Today low-cost devices such as smartphones and tablets have largely replaced them. This has led to the increased usage of field devices for everything from fulfilment to planning.  

  • Mobile work order fulfilment: Common wisdom states that the current, rapid pivot to working remotely may signal a permanent shift in workforce culture, no matter what the industry. Asset-intensive operations and entities can benefit from an increasingly mobile culture. Already, we are seeing the advantages of mobile fulfilment in situations such as extreme weather events, where fast response is vital.  

  • Real-time response and innovation: With a mobile-enabled EAM system, a central dispatch can get work orders to them out in the field in real-time. As more 5G networks come online over the next few years, we will see even more innovative applications of mobile technology. From being able to view plans on-site, we will be able to move to streaming graphs and models, as well as 3D simulations on handheld devices. 

The coming of age for business adoption of mobile enablement is here. With dispatchers able to efficiently assign jobs based on location, and field managers able to access all relevant details from their mobile devices, mobility has completely redefined asset workforce operations.  

So what does this mean for EAM? 

The increasing mobility we are seeing in the utility space is resulting in a growing need to better track, manage and monitor assets alongside their mobile workforce, with many utilities looking to enhance their Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions.  

Today, most utilities will have a repository of their assets, and a repository of work being done in the field. They have likely started on their digital journey with the use of mobile field devices, along with devices and sensors. For those looking to further improve their mobile workforce capabilities, a good first step is to investigate a cloud-based work order service along with improved data storage such as a data mart. With EAM and work order systems talking to each other, and workers in the field, you have a solid technical foundation for improved workforce management. 

When it comes to field service, every second lost is a work order delayed, a dissatisfied customer and an enterprise asset overdue for maintenance. Real-time functionality is therefore essential, as is a single solution covering field service management, enterprise asset management and mobile workforce management. 

Mark  Damm's picture

Thank Mark for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

Discussions

Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 19, 2021

The pervasiveness of affordable devices: Previously, electronic work orders could only be monitored in the field using extremely expensive ruggedized devices. Today low-cost devices such as smartphones and tablets have largely replaced them. This has led to the increased usage of field devices for everything from fulfilment to planning.  

As a business, the appeal to this seems undeniable. But I know from the workforce there may be resistance. I recently had an electrician out to my house who lamented that his employer made him shift from paper to iPad to create work orders and estimates because he was so used to the old way and it was more efficient for him personally as he struggled to adapt to the new tech. Are you seeing similar resistance within the utility workforce? 

Danny Petrecca's picture
Danny Petrecca on Feb 24, 2021

Yes, I definitely see this resistance.  For decades I saw countless mobile technologies (mainly GIS) deployed to the field only to fail with low use or outright rejection to the forced "digitalization".  There were key issues with legacy mobile technologies - they tend to look and feel too much like the systems they feed and their UI/UX spoke only to those personas.  Mobile EAM tools feel like EAM and make sense to those personas - mobile design tools feel like engineering tools and speak to engineer personas.  But, the tides should be changing based on two things.  Technology providers are taking the perspective of better persona-based technology and UI UX development. What a novel idea it is to develop a tool with and for the persona that uses it on a daily basis!?  And, as the aging workforce in utilities transitions to one that is more tech-savvy (from CIOs to field workers), I see this as contributing to lowering this resistance.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 24, 2021

What a novel idea it is to develop a tool with and for the persona that uses it on a daily basis!? 

Well said! Hopefully this lesson doesn't need to be learned too many more times before it sticks...

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »