Voices: Hebert

Improve Access to Plant Information

There Are Four Stages of Content Management Maturity: Content Under Control, Access Anywhere, Managing Change and Integration With the Business

By Dan Hebert

Process plant designers and operators are good at generating lots of documents, drawings and diagrams—but not always adept at keeping track of all this content and transferring the knowledge embedded in it to others. This can present problems when information is needed to solve an operational issue, comply with regulatory requirements, or make an upgrade.

The challenge of finding, organizing and storing process plant content so it's easy and quickly accessible by the right people can be overwhelming, so it's best to take things one step at a time. Automation systems seem to generate a disproportionate share of this information, thus any content management effort will require the involvement of process automation professionals at the plant and possibly throughout the organization.

Enterprise content management industry leader EMC labels the four stages of content management maturity as: Stage 1, Content Under Control; Stage 2, Access Anywhere; Stage 3, Managing Change; and Stage 4, Integrating with the Business.

These stages follow one another in sequential fashion, and process plant personnel can follow three steps to progress from the baseline of Stage 1 to Stage 4, allowing them to proceed at their own pace and consolidate changes before proceeding to the next stage.

Stage 1 is defined as the point where a plant has its content under control with all documents managed electronically, and stored in a single repository that can be accessed throughout the enterprise. Most process plants are part way to Stage 1 completion with a combination of paper and electronic documents residing in multiple repositories.

Complete transition to Stage 1 requires evaluation, purchase and installation of an enterprise content management system, and conversion of all paper documents to electronic equivalents. Conversion usually requires third-party assistance because digitizing paper documents, drawings and other content is a specialized task. Once the transition to Stage 1 is complete, plants can take the step to Stage 2, where project and role-based controls are put in place to ensure access to the approved content through the web and mobile devices.

"Because access now moves from within the walls of the enterprise IT system to web access, often via mobile devices, security becomes a paramount concern. If the enterprise content management system is hosted in a private or hybrid cloud, as opposed to the public cloud, access can be more tightly controlled and security can be enhanced," says Chris McLaughlin, vice president and general manager for Energy & Engineering at EMC Information Intelligence Group.

Security and safety also are improved by implementing role-based controls, so each group of individuals can only access and make changes to relevant content. For example, many employees might be able to view overall plant performance data, but only a select few would be allowed to make changes to production plans. For upgrade, retrofit and plant-expansion projects, role-based controls are particularly important for restricting access and changes to content.

Stage 3 is a further refinement during which change management procedures, including simultaneous collaboration on documents, are implemented. Workflows should  be defined to control the flow of content from one role to the next. Moving from Stage 2 to Stage 3 requires a thorough examination of the content stored in the content management system, so roles and workflows can be more closely defined.

The final step is moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4, where content stored in the enterprise content management system can be accessed directly from existing business systems and applications, enabling personnel to author, distribute and collaborate using familiar tools—which reduces training expenses and increases productivity. 

More from this voice

Title

Improve Access to Plant Information

There Are Four Stages of Content Management Maturity: Content Under Control, Access Anywhere, Managing Change and Integration With the Business

09/18/2014

Predicting Equipment Failures in the Process Plant

Now You Have Option of Using Your Existing Process Historian as the Front End for a Vibration Monitoring System

07/17/2014

Four Ways to Collect Process Plant Data

PCs with HMI Software Can Work As Plant's Sole Data Collection Tool

06/16/2014

Calibration Can Be Condition-Based

Calibrating Industrial Devices Only as Needed Is the Better Method, and That Requires Automating the Calibration Process

03/14/2014

Creative Ways to Cut Costs in Hazardous Areas

For Remote Operator Interface Applications in Hazardous Environments, a Thin Client is the Most Economical Solution

01/15/2014

Process Apps in the Cloud

Using High-Fidelity Modeling and Novel Sensors, Real-Time Control and Optimization Can Achieve Big Reductions in Energy Consumption

11/18/2013

What's Hiding in the Cloud?

A Factory in the Cloud Sounds Like Science Fiction, but We're Heading There, at Least for Some Applications. Here's How to Clear Away the Mist to Get the Most from This Technology

11/18/2013

Cloud-Based Asset Management

Suppliers Can Use the Cloud to Provide Remote Access to End Users, and to Analyze Data for Asset Management and Other Purposes

11/18/2013

Real-Time Optimization with MPC

Users Can Combine the Traditional Black-Box Models with Specific Process Knowledge to Produce a Gray-Box Model That Will Produce More Accurate Predictions

09/12/2013

How Industry Professionals Pull Together in Process Automation Projects

Advances in Functionality Coupled with Dramatic Price Cuts are Fueling the Use of Collaboration Tools for Process Automation Projects

07/15/2013

Process Automation: Collaboration at Ergon Refining

Software Technology Makes It Easy to Share Information, Documents and Files During a Project

07/15/2013

Automation Professionals Work From Home

There Are No Reasons One Could Not Work On Project Files Anywhere

07/15/2013

Before You Buy Your Next IPC, Read This

An Industrial PC (IPC) Can Perform Just as Well as a DCS or a PLC, and Thin Clients May Offer Additional Benefits

07/15/2013

Automation Software: Using SharePoint on a Project

Maverick Said Customizing SharePoint Was the Key to Project Cohesiveness and Success

07/15/2013

Industrial Software: Collaborating Halfway Around the World

Skype Made it Possible for Three Companies to Work Together Halfway Around the World

07/14/2013

The Ethernet vs. Fieldbus Cage Match

Industrial Ethernet Is Faster, Can Use Standard Wireless and Has More Topology Options

05/09/2013

Advances in IT Improve Process Automation

Virtualization, Thin Clients and Other Technologies Borrowed From IT Data Centers Are the Next Big Thing in Process Automation

04/03/2013

Implementation Details in Virtualization Project

Learn How an End User's First Use of Virtualization in a Production Environment Lead to Success

04/02/2013

Virtualization Technology Yields Hard Number Savings

Learn About the Benefits that Malisko Engineering and Gallus BioPharmaceuticals Are Seeing by Implements Virtualization Technology Such As PlantPAx, VMware ESXi and ACP ThinManager

04/02/2013

Automation Professionals Fill the Gap With Off-Site IT Teams

Advantages and Disadvantages of Having a Remote IT Department. What Works for Your Business? Should You Manage IT from Off-Site?

03/11/2013