Does asset data analysis require fresh technology or fresh processes?

Does asset data analysis require fresh technology or fresh processes?

In the previous section of this report, we saw that a mix of both process and technology was deployed in collecting asset data effectively from the field.


However, when it comes to making sure that organisations are then utilising the data collected effectively, we must also consider whether the road to improvement for those organisations that currently state they are not able to do so is also one that is based in technology, processes or a blend of the two?


In our initial study, we asked those companies who had stated they were not currently using data effectively what they felt was the barrier to them being able to do so.


The majority of companies within this response group, totalling almost two- thirds (63%) of these respondents, stated that they felt it was an equal mix of inadequate processes and technology. Meanwhile, a quarter of respondents cited inadequate processes as their key barrier, while just over a tenth (12%) stated that it is inadequate technology.


“For our organisation, and how we are intending to develop our service offering looking forward, it really is quite a radical shift away from the status-quo that we have operated within for the last two decades,” explained one of the respondents, a service director for a UK based manufacturer, in our series of follow up interviews.


“If I’m being honest, I think the technology piece will be the easier part of the equation, although currently, we don’t have the right tools in place, so when I answered the question in the original study, I stated it was an equal mix of both processes and technology.


“However, currently we are trying to completely re-imagine our service offering as we move from a traditional break-fix model to a preventative model. This is going to require some significant process change and we need to have a good understanding of what information we need to be pulling from our asset data sets – and also we need to be thinking how that will impact our workflows in both directions.”


This sentiment was echoed across a number of our follow up interviews with another interviewee, a service lead for a company working in the telco space within Italy, stating, “in terms of the technology side of the discussion, we are already a technically savvy organisation, but also, this is where we would seek support from our solution provider to help us with any technological challenges. This is, after all, why we would employ them; this is their business and area their of expertise.


“With our processes however, this is our business and our area of expertise so the burden is more on us. It is also important that we get this right as our processes directly affect our customers, and so we must make sure we are positioned to serve them better.”


Someone who has spent many years discussing the importance of establishing a blend of process and technology when introducing change for many years is Sumair Dutta.


“I agree with the statistic here in the report with this not being an issue that can just be resolved with technology because it typically is not a technology problem,” Dutta explained during our debrief session.


“However, that being said there is a role that technology plays in solving or assisting in this problem. There is technology to collect all this data whether it is directly from the machine or entered into a system like ServiceMax but is it easy to collect that data from a process perspective?”


“Is it easy for a field service technician to collect that data? Are they incentivised to collect that data? If we are asking our technicians to complete their jobs fifteen per cent faster but are then giving them five more forms to complete then, that seems to me to be sending out the wrong message.


“I think there is a role that technology will play to make it easier to get to data, but I think at the level where most companies are at, the technology is sufficient to get there, and improvements can only be incremental after a certain point.


“Ultimately, for me, it [removing barriers to effectively utilising data] comes down to process, and I think incentive is the number one objective there. What is the number one objective to collect and use this data, whether it is in service or outside in the broader business as well?


“I think the other thing we are beginning to uncover is that there is this nebulous concept that we really need data, and we really need to do ‘things’ with data.


“However, many are still in the phase of figuring out what are those things they need to do and understanding what does good data look like to allow them to do those things.


“We’ve opened up this new area of discussion in the industry that begins with ‘we need asset data’. OK, that is a good start, but what does asset data look like? What fields of asset data do you need for the fields that you have? How are you going to use that?


“I think we are now starting to move from this nebulous space of ‘we need data because we don’t have data’ to more productive conversations around what are we going to do with the data we now have?


“As we have seen across the study, this discussion is not just contained within service, we need to look at this from a business-wide perspective as well.”

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