Businesses all over the globe are re-thinking their business processes. The question is: how do you digitize operations to create better products and services, drive efficiencies, improve profitability, and meet sustainability goals?
Digital transformation reshapes processes, asset management, people management and systems via technology to fundamentally change the business performance trajectory. We often associate this with IT processes and systems – e.g., implementing a new ERP system, or digitizing document and approval workflows, or moving from on-premise to the cloud. But, what is digital transformation in the operations realm? How does digital transformation apply to physical assets and drive value in buildings, industrials, aerospace or other domains?
Historically, operations technologies were not designed to work together and only solved specific problems. Most of operational software products concentrated on service technicians or operational managers, and not on the CXO decision-maker persona.
Over time, this has led to operating systems silos with increased complexity and manual interventions. In the process, the enterprise view is lost with no easy way to compare asset performance, create enterprise KPIs, evaluate strategic investments, etc. All of these lead to cumbersome, prolonged, and sub-optimal decision making and resource allocation.
Now, imagine a future where everything is always connected, people focus only on value-creating tasks, all operations can be executed from the home-office, every worker can be an expert, and IT and operational data are seamlessly integrated. This will truly be a world where every day is the best day of performance. This future is not sci-fi – it is actually underway today with Enterprise Performance Management (EPM).
The value of EPM
EPM is a unified, autonomous, self-learning, secure, and extensible system. It leverages a common data architecture that integrates IT and OT data to create a uniform and always-up-to-date system of record. EPM delivers end-to-end asset/process/people visibility with analytics and insights, thus enabling rapid decision making and disposition of actions with robust workflows and/or autonomous execution. It brings under one umbrella: global operations, site-level operations, asset performance, energy management, sustainability, occupant safety and experience, and remote or digital workers to help organizations maximize cash-flow, centralize operations, and drive enterprise scalability.
EPM solutions, like Honeywell Forge, can optimize performance and streamline execution through its applications in predictive maintenance (Asset Performance Management), energy optimization, workflow management (Inspection Rounds) and collaboration tools (Worker Assist) for several domains (buildings, industrials, supply chain, aerospace, etc.).
Three such examples of EPM in action are illustrated below:
Did you know your buildings’ systems can predict when they need to be serviced or have parts replaced? An EPM asset management “app” can allow building assets for HVAC, safety, and security to be maintained through a proactive maintenance process based on curated recommendations, provided via sensor data, analytics and AI/ML. Then, recommendations can be close-looped and disposed via remote resolution and interventions aided by digital workflows (a EPM workflow/collaboration “app”). This mostly autonomous sequence of activities may prevent unplanned downtime and reduce expensive disruptions to deliver savings and reduce ownership costs. Activities that previously took an army of analysts, technicians, managers and engineers can now be disposed via a few clicks.
Now consider another example. Sustainability is a top priority for every company. An EPM energy optimization “app” can constantly monitor and autonomously optimize using AI/ML algorithms. It monitors thousands of input parameters like desired comfort levels, asset definitions/constraints, weather conditions, occupancy levels, energy costs, etc., before deciding on a set-point change. This delivers the best occupant experience while reducing the company’s carbon footprint and delivering energy savings.
Another EPM benefit supports organizations in their journeys to achieve healthier workspaces. The disruption from the Covid pandemic has accelerated the need for new ways to manage workplace hygiene and risk management. Many complexities exist around regularly screening temperatures, ensuring excellent air quality, tracking who is in the facility at any given time, and having a robust notification and emergency response system, while being minimally disruptive to day-to-day operations. These challenges create a need for innovative solutions that connect the entire enterprise, representing a significant shift from historical single-point solutions for access control, occupant experience, and security. EPM delivers this integrated solution and helps organizations execute their business and build employee confidence with minimal distractions.
What lies ahead
Businesses spend a lot of time, energy and money to keep their assets operational 24/7, and many have made considerable investments. The ability to build on the legacy solutions via common connectivity gateways and future-proofing via extensible applications is vital for accelerating digital transformation efforts. This philosophy of extensibility, future-proofing and remote accessibility underpins all of Honeywell’s EPM offerings.
Enterprises, made up of people, processes, and systems, are already connected. The present and future strategy for many businesses is to ensure all the elements that make up an enterprise operate as one single entity that is continuously learning. What lies ahead goes beyond software systems simply talking to each other – it will transform how we engage, collaborate, make decisions, and solve problems. EPM represents a significant step in this journey.
About the author: Karthik Ganapathi leads Honeywell Connected Enterprise (HCE), India and is responsible to drive HCE’s growth through innovative IoT software products developed by a cross-functional team of developers, product managers, data scientists, UI/UX, and domain experts.