Connected and fully digital asset management (CAM, DAM) are quickly becoming a necessity in the industrial world: They enable organizations to easily manage, access and deliver real-time visibility of equipment, workers, and data. And they can support various maintenance management processes, helping industrial organizations stay on top of operations. But building and strengthening CAM capabilities can be complex and time-consuming: Getting from mere data management to fully digital asset management requires agile, iterative development – something executives may not be familiar with. Employees might also be hesitant to adopt the new capabilities, which can create friction and destroy value. So how exactly do organizations overcome these challenges?

By Femke De Jager and Mick Saltzer

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Connected Asset Management capabilities provide real-time information about various elements of the industrial equipment and workers. | Image: Accenture

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Closely related to Industrial Asset Management, CAM capabilities provide real-time information about the location, status, health, etc. of industrial equipment and workers. They enable instant access to data and digital assets, and power Reliability Centered Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance. Ultimately, CAM capabilities and processes help drive operations transformation with greater efficiency and communication. And this, in turn, helps organizations reinvent themselves for the Industry 4.0 era. Today, numerous organizations are investing in CAM systems due to:

  • Boardroom pressure to tackle the digital agenda and create a competitive advantage with an Intelligent Asset Strategy.
  • A burning desire to move from a reactive to a more proactive way of working.
  • The current suite of tools and capabilities are not helping the business to remain relevant or identify new revenue streams.
  • A lack of clarity on the right investments or the asset interventions that are required and when to make them.

However, defining, implementing, scaling and sustaining the required technologies for such capabilities is no easy job. In fact, organizations across all industries are struggling to make their CAM goals a reality. Many are concerned about data sources and quality, plus other associated security risks. And their workforces are often reluctant to disrupt established processes and current ways of working. It’s clear to see that getting started on the CAM journey is proving problematic for most organizations. But what’s at risk for those who can’t make Connected Asset Management work for them?

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Organisations are concerned about data sources and quality, plus other associated security risks.

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The Connected Asset Management challenge

Fail to develop effective, efficient and scalable CAM capabilities and you risk losing out on noticeable value. Without Connected Asset Management processes, COOs, CSCOs and Operations and Asset managers will find it hard to generate returns on investments in IT projects for Industrial Asset Management. What will they gain should they successfully implement CAM capabilities? Well, for one, they’ll effectively push their function into the company’s future by leading the operations transformation. But more importantly, they’ll ensure the competitiveness of the entire company continues through the use of digital technologies and assets. The company will shift from reactive to proactive thanks to greater insights from data and the predictive monitoring of assets. This in turn will lead to faster and more educated decision making, with more time available for action and less time spent collecting and analyzing data. Put simply, Connected Asset Management capabilities are quickly becoming an essential component of everyday business. And they will only become more vital in the future.

Building capabilities: from data management to “DAM”

As it often is, the best way to build CAM capabilities is to think big but start small. Create and share a clear plan with both those involved in building the system and the wider company. Organize your transformation journey around these four pillars:

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The four pillars of the transformation journey. | Image: Blomqvist

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After you have organized your way around the four pillars, you can use the following as guideposts for your plan:

  • Begin with the end, i.e. determine the overall business objectives of your future CAM capabilities and specify what operating model they will use. Clarify the capabilities’ objective, for example, higher asset uptime, higher production uptime or reduction of production losses, and you’ll never lose sight of its purpose.
  • Next, start building and/or improving your company’s monitoring and analytics capabilities, specifically in Industrial Asset Management. The goal is to provide timely insights on asset performance and drive proactive actions to remediate potential failures or losses.
  • Of course, you’ll need to provide the workforce with access to your insight machine. To do this, we suggest providing field and office workers with real-time, mobile access to insights and information. Again, this results in broader acceptance among the workforce for asset management.
  • Once this is done, you can expand the new capabilities and processes beyond the initial sites and regions. Introduce the CAM capabilities to every available site to enable cross-site and cross-regional collaboration and increased communication.
  • When the operations transformation is complete, you can then enable workflows and automation. These streamline transactional processes and the like, which has a massive impact on operational efficiency.

Remember to measure and share improvements and successes throughout the development process. And make sure to regularly promote the capabilities and the solutions they enable once launched.

Choosing the right CAM technologies

Some digital technologies are more useful for developing and implementing CAM capabilities than others. The technologies you should add to your CAM mix include:

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Technologies for developing and implementing CAM capabilities.

Useful technologies for developing and implementing CAM capabilities. | Image: Blomqvist

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Together, these technologies help increase collaboration between operators, maintainers and manufacturers. They can share real-time information to better understand and resolve performance issues. And they can drive improvements in asset support and design using enhanced feedback.

Connected Asset Management capabilities are fast becoming an essential component of Industrial Asset Management. Enabling new levels of efficiency and more informed decision-making, these systems transform organizations from reactive to proactive and give them greater control over their assets.


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Femke De Jager and Mick Saltzer

Femke is a Managing Director in Industry X at Accenture. She is leading the Europe Asset PErformanve Management practice and has more than 25 years of experience in the process industry as well as consultancy. Meet her at LinkedIn.
Mick is a Senior Manager at Accenture within the Industry Solutions & Services practice. He helps organizations develop Asset Management capabilities that boost operations and efficiency. Mick has over 30 years of experience in Maintenance, Reliability and Asset Management, and leads Change Management and Operational Excellence projects, plus Global Audit programmes. Get in touch with Mick via LinkedIn.

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