Updated June 1st, 2020

Based on Achieving the Full Potential of Asset Performance Management Platforms, featured in Inspectioneering Journal, Nov / Dec 2017 Issue

Software implementation is a challenging process, and the way you approach it can determine whether you achieve success with whatever Asset Performance Management (APM) platform you are using. In fact many organizations fail to realize the full potential of their software because of the way they approach implementation. Below, we have identified five common themes that should be addressed, in order to get the most out of your software.

5 Keys to Getting the Most
Out of Your APM Platform

Goal and Vision: Develop Your Vision First
Data Cleanup: Data is the Foundation
Strategy Optimization: Focus on Program
Technical Configuration: Keep it Simple
Implementation: Provide Support

Goal and Vision: Develop Your Vision First

To get the full value out of your APM, you have to begin with the end in mind. This means prior to purchasing, installing, or implementing a software solution, your organization needs to develop its vision and cascading goals.

For example, the following foundational elements should be considered:

  • What does a first-rate mechanical integrity program look like?
  • What are the key elements of the program?
  • What information are you tracking/should you be tracking?
  • How will you know if your program is effective?
  • How will you know if you are meeting both company and jurisdictional requirements?

It is important to establish goals and objectives so that you can set target key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure your success along the way. Once your KPIs have been identified, you will need to ensure your system is properly set up so that the agreed upon KPIs are regularly captured as part of a normal workflow. For example, when an inspector performs an inspection, he / she should be documenting the appropriate data that will support the tracking of established KPIs.

Read more about vision and goals: Vision & Goal Setting

Data Cleanup: Data is the Foundation

It’s been said before and we’ll say it again: Data is the foundation of your integrity and reliability programs.

The data you record today will, at some point, be used to make important decisions regarding the future. When it comes to mechanical integrity and reliability, it is critical that your data is both up-to-date and accurate.

We just spoke of KPIs and how they help to evaluate success over time. How do you trust your KPIs? You have to trust that your data is accurate.

Foundational information includes:

  • Master equipment list
  • Technical and/or design data
  • Drawings
  • Documents
  • Inspection and failure histories

If information is not accurate or accessible, you will likely not receive full value from your APM software. For example, say you have an incomplete equipment list or inaccurate P&IDs. Because of the gap in the data, the missing equipment will not be included in preventive maintenance or inspection plans. As a result, risk of incidents increase, and you may end up having unplanned unit or plant shut downs. Ultimately, clean data should be a priority for your APM software.

Learn more about data management:

Strategy Optimization: Focus on Program

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

Too often, during APM software implementations, organizations fall into a routine of doing things the way they always have. For example, they may simply copy thickness monitoring data from copy paper rounds into the Operator Rounds module. While this provides efficiencies in making the data electronically accessible, there is so much more potential to further optimize.

A software implementation provides an incredible opportunity to evaluate what you are currently doing and why you are doing it. Based on what you discover, you may decide to start fresh. So, rather than simply copying your paper rounds into the new tool, take it one step further and review your operator rounds to eliminate those that are unnecessary and re-focus your scarce resources on value-add activities that impact reliability, safety, and availability.

Remember that the tool itself will not solve all of your problems. While reviewing your strategies and taking steps to further optimize may take time and dollars, the final results will be well worth the effort.

Technical Configuration: Keep it Simple

While APM platforms are highly configurable and customizable, the key is to keep it simple.

You can invest a significant amount of time and money into modifying screens and reports or creating new functionalities. However, over the course of time, maintaining these configurations will increase the cost of support for both internal and external resources. And, as newer technologies are adopted and new versions of the software are released, the customizations that rely on older technologies will become obsolete.

End-users of the APM software usually stay within a specific work process. To illustrate, operators will work within the Operator Rounds module and inspectors will remain within the mechanical integrity modules. Thus, the software should be set up so that role functionalities are easy-to-use. For example, standard home pages or dashboards containing key KPIs can be established for roles such as operator, inspector, or reliability engineer.

Implementation: Provide Support

Tying back to the vision and goals, it is important to understand what will be required to achieve the goals you set. Most of this boils down to resources and commitment. Firstly, what resources (dollars and / or people) need to be in place to ensure you are able to achieve your goals? Secondly, is everyone committed to achieving these goals?

When it comes to resources, you need to begin by identifying what will be required to achieve your vision. For example, a resource that should be considered is that of the “super user.” A super user is an individual that becomes fully integrated into the software, acquiring detailed knowledge of the software capabilities.

A super user will capture the needs / priorities of the organization and develop the vision for matching software capabilities and plant requirements. This user will also drive completion of the initiative—overseeing personnel (both company and contractor) and reporting progress to management. The super user ensures success during implementation and will then manage the program into the future to help resolve problems that occur, provide guidance regarding new features, and to ensure the system continues to meet business requirements.

Next, you need to ensure that everyone is bought-in to achieving your goals. The people within your organization have a major impact on ensuring a successful APM software implementation. Every person in your organization—from inspectors, operators, middle management, all the way to the top—needs to be committed to ensuring success.

With this in mind, top management is responsible for communicating the vision to all personnel, providing necessary resources, and driving commitment through the duration of the project. Likewise, middle management needs to ensure resources are appropriately allocated and that commitment and priority remain. As long as the commitment and dedication are in place, you will overcome challenges along the way.

Read more: APM Software Implementation

Follow These Five Keys to Get the Most out of Your Software

APM platforms can certainly be challenging to implement. Focusing on these five keys will help you to unlock the full potential of the platform—leading to improved safety, reliability, and availability. These keys can be referred to whether you are implementing for the first time, or need to improve your current state.

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