Neutrality is supreme
It might be time for Energy & Utility companies to put the digital transformation conversation into neutral.
That statement may seem counterintuitive initially, especially for an industry on the trajectory toward a digital existence. But, in this case, neutral will speed up the transformation and help ensure its success. That’s because what we’re talking about now is a neutral digital ecosystem.
Single source of truth
This neutrality starts with establishing a single source of truth for all business, project, and asset data through open-architecture PLM tools. The centralized data source opens the flow of information throughout the enterprise to be shared, consumed and acted on. By connecting asset information, project data, and processes to a common backbone, a company can develop a digital twin of its entire operation. The result is the ability to leverage the data from the bid and tendering phase through to delivery.
Undoubtedly, most energy and utility companies have already made significant investments in digital systems that produce massive project data – BOMs, designs, simulations, requirements, etc. In response, there’s likely been more effort exerted and systems implemented to manage that data. But, unfortunately, every individual group within each department at a company becomes its own information silo in the process.
That’s because it’s rare that enterprise-level integration was the main priority when companies began piecing together systems – it may not have even been possible for early adopters in the digital revolution. Instead, the focus was usually placed on solving one challenge at a time. Furthermore, the individual systems brought into the business unit, operations, and design teams have given rise to a disparate software ecosystem that has become more of a liability than an asset. Even when data is made available outside its silo, it is rarely presented in an intuitive and digestible way to stakeholders across the enterprise.
Fully integrated data
But, as explained in the recently-released Siemens eXpert center Series, the way to realize the digital transformation promise is to adopt an approach that relies on fully integrated data. By getting the data systems to speak the same language, new levels of speed, efficiency, and masterful decision-making are possible while taking advantage of powerful new technology.
Roadblocks to this mindset – just as mental as fiscal – are the abandonment of existing investments, training on new systems, and then hoping for a return on investment with the new approach. History may suggest it could take years for such a transition to pay off.
But, by adopting the right solutions, capable of genuinely integrating with the tools already in place, there is no need to give up effective systems. On the contrary, those same systems will be even more helpful as they connect to data throughout the company. And the benefit will be immediate and substantial.
To illustrate, let’s start with requirements management – a leading aspect of new projects which continues to grow in size and intricacy – as an example of the power of this approach. The demand to do more in less time is becoming incredibly intense. With today’s complexities, achieving end-to-end traceability through spreadsheets, PDFs, and emails is tedious and prone to human error. These methods present severe threats in an environment where remote teams are have become even more disconnected, and profit margins are already tight.
The source-neutral platform, Polarion, featured in the eXpert center Series video presentations, allows authors and managers of requirements to intelligently reuse requirements that are standard among several projects and make modifications to accommodate changes while operating within predefined workflows. In addition, the round-tripping capability ensures exceptions, qualifications, and clarifications are communicated within the company while also capturing customer feedback.
Industry titan, Shell, having already proven the effectiveness of Polarion on a smaller scale, recently expanded the Siemens requirements management system as the standard throughout the entire company, and you can read the press release here.
Effectively manage requirements
Once the data is centralized to a single source of truth and requirements are effectively managed, it becomes easy for companies to produce applications that connect stakeholders to the process and information they need, when and where they need it – phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop. Using the drag and drop functionality, along with AI assist, makes it simple for anyone with proper access to create an app, even with no previous coding experience. In addition, information from multiple processes and data sources – ERP, CRM, and any other repository – can be collected and presented in one attractive, cohesive package that fits specific stakeholders’ needs.
As explained in the eXpert center Series videos, there are relatively easily implemented methods to gaining control now and, perhaps just as importantly, in a way that will evolve with the company and as an industry. What’s more, it can be done without throwing a wrench into the successful processes and systems already in place.
You can’t create more time, but you can get more out of the time you have. View the eXpert center Series presentations here: