"The MBA mindset is that any MBA can run any business, but all they can really run is a balance sheet," said Peter Martin as he kicked off the session track for users of Invensys Operations Management's Avantis enterprise asset management (EAM) software at the company's software user group event this week in Anaheim, Calif.
Confronted with the imperative to increase profit margins over the past 20 years, "MBAs only understood how to reduce costs," continued Martin, an Invensys Fellow and vice president. "They didn't see how IT and engineering contribute to financial results, so that's where they cut, and they cut too deep. Now we have to empower who's left, because we won't replace them."
According to Martin, the path to empowering maintenance, engineering and production personnel is visibility, by generating real-time, plant-floor financial information so accounting and operations can apply closed-loop control on profits.
Asset Management in Real Time
Invensys' latest salvo on the real-time asset management front is Avantis Decision Support System (DSS) software. Avantis.DSS Version 5.0 is due to be released in November 2012, and leverages the capabilities of the company's Wonderware Intelligence to provide manufacturing and executive decision-makers with role-based asset management analytics and reporting.
Avantis.DSS transforms transaction data into meaningful and actionable business analytics based on the individual's specific role within an organization. Using preconfigured key performance indicators, users can consolidate reporting across sites, create analytics, enable drill-down and drill-through views, and include data from various source systems to provide greater context.
Continued integration with the company's ArchestrA Workflow software gives more enterprise connectivity for moving data and making decisions with it. "It's now able to take all the information in the Avantis system, display it in pictures and graphs, and trend it to aid decisions," said Kim Custeau, marketing manager for Invensys Operations Management's asset management product line. Management of change, approvals, routings and document changes can be accessible to everyone involved.
"People are used to being able to see information the way they want to see it, and access it the way they want to access it," said Custeau. "We can write integrations easily enough, but embedding it lets you use Microsoft applications with standard connections so people everywhere can see accurate, current drawings and specifications."
Avantis.DSS 5.0 leverages Tableau, a slicing and dicing analytic tool, so users can easily access information, filter it and create KPIs, and display them the way they want to see them, on a mobile device, cell phone – whatever is needed. "It's all about control, power and remote access for the user," Custeau said.
The software has three primary components: data extraction/transform/load (ETL), aggregation and visualization. The ETL component is built exclusively on Microsoft technology, leveraging a set of Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) for extracting source data from the Avantis.PRO software. The next step aggregates this information into multi-dimensional data cubes for easier manipulation. The visualization component then helps create role-specific dashboards and leverages the power of Wonderware Intelligence software.
Avantis.DSS is designed to be part of "a fully integrated asset performance management solution with predictive maintenance, reliability-centered maintenance, etc., that enables asset management to become central to the execution of operational excellence," said Victor Lough, product manager, Avantis EAM Solutions Suite. The result is "a holistic approach to drive business value from clients' assets – their plants, process and people – to achieve returns better than their peers."
What MBA couldn't see the value in that?