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Home > Posts > IT Merges with OT at Ventyx World
July 03

IT Merges with OT at Ventyx World

Keywords: Ventyx, ABB, Asset Health.

Ventyx World
Ventyx, an ABB company, recently held its worldwide user conference in San Francisco with nearly 1,000 attendees from 36 countries. For the first time, the event brought together customers from the recent ABB acquisitions (Mincom, IKS, and Obvient Strategies) into a single conference. It focused on Ventyx's software solutions for asset- intensive industries including power generation, power transmission & distribution, and mining.

The event made it clear to ARC Advisory Group that the company is doing a good job incorporating ABB institutional knowledge around operational technologies (OT) into Ventyx's information technology (IT) and, in fact, the merging of IT and OT provided a common thread for the event. The conference provided a launching pad for the company's initial set of "industrial software" solutions integrating IT and OT.

Keynote Presentation
In his keynote presentation, Jeff Ray, Ventyx CEO, discussed industry trends and customer needs. A key point involved today's dynamic economic environment that causes corporate executives to avoid substantial strategic investments with multi-year implementation and long-term payback. Investments have become more incremental and tactical in nature, with payback expected in under a year.

Mr. Ray added that "sensors have become 'smart' and capable of feeding massive amounts of data." So how do you combine the raw data with the right analytical engine to provide useful information for decision making? He stated, "When you get it right, it is transformational." This statement provided a preamble for subsequent product announcements.

ARC Presentation - Trends in EAM and FSM
The changing technology and operating practices impacting enterprise asset management (EAM) and field service management (FSM) applications was the subject of a presentation by Ralph Rio, ARC Advisory Group titled "Trends in Enterprise Asset Management and Field Service Management." He covered strategy, tactical, and business issues. The strategy portion provided a modern model for asset lifecycle management intended to help those involved in asset management collaborate with others not familiar with the business processes. The tactical portion involved significant insights from a recent user survey. The business section explained the alignment between executive suite metrics and EAM/FSM. EAM improves the financial ratios Wall Street uses to evaluate companies, which then lead to higher stockholder value. This provides the basis for obtaining CEO/CFO support and approval for EAM/FSM projects.

ARC's Asset Lifecycle Management Model

Specific recommendations are to adopt predictive maintenance, mobility for work order processing by technicians, and MRO inventory optimization. Organizations with separate EAM and ERP systems should keep MRO purchasing and inventory management in the EAM system because integration (including exception handling) becomes complex, costly, and often unsustainable. Integrating cost accounting (transfer maintenance costs to the supported cost centers) and project costs (for financial capitalization) is a reasonable and sustainable IT project with clear business process benefits.

Product Announcements
At the event, Ventyx introduced its initial set of industrial software solutions that integrate operations technology and information technology into solutions targeting specific vertical industries – in this case the electric transmission & distribution industries:

  • Ventyx Outage Lifecycle Management Solution helps utilities manage the impact of extensive storm outages. It addresses the major business processes required for managing outages, including planning, preparation, communications with customers, restoration of service, and regulatory reporting. It is being developed with strategic guidance from DTE Energy, which applies the solution to improve fault detection, outage management, and asset maintenance.
  • Ventyx Distribution System Operations Solution helps utilities more effectively integrate renewable and distributed energy resources into their grids while balancing supply and demand. It helps optimize distributed generation assets and demand response in a smart grid. Strategic development and testing for this solution is being performed in conjunction with E.ON, a large power and gas company with more than 26 million customers in 30 countries.
  • Ventyx Asset Health Center for condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and prioritizing replacements. The initial release focuses on transformers, circuit breakers, and substation batteries in transmission. Other asset types are planned for asset-intensive industries including electric distribution, power generation, and mining. Solution development is in partnership with American Electric Power (AEP).


Ventyx Asset Health Center Offers Promise of Broad PdM
In the 1980s, companies in the discrete industries moved from inspecting quality into products to building them right in the first place. Quality management and statistical process control (SPC) became popular. The change in business processes allowed companies to both improve quality and reduce costs concurrently.

For asset-intensive industries, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance (PdM) provide the basis for a similar change in best practices with both higher reliability and lower operating costs. To date, most condition monitoring (beyond vibration on rotating equipment) involves a custom engineering project for each application. Limited engineering resources in many organizations have constrained broader application of PdM.

Ventyx Asset Health Center offers an approach that breaks through this barrier with the potential to cover a much larger portion of the critical assets. It applies advanced analytics to real-time, transactional, and historical data to achieve more timely insight into asset performance and maintenance requirements.

Screen from Ventyx Asset Health Center for Transformers

Joint development between Ventyx and ABB provided the various resources and deep domain knowledge to tackle this problem. Each equipment supplier and model has its own operating characteristics. Profiles were created for each one – for example, the Duval Triangle for assessing gas analysis in transformers. Ventyx Asset Health Center combines the profiles, data acquisition, and software to evaluate the condition of the asset. At its first release, Asset Health Center addresses transformers, circuit breakers, and substation batteries in power transmission.

Jeff Fleeman, Director, Advanced Transmission Studies & Technologies at AEP, a Ventyx Asset Health Center user, provided multiple presentations. The company's vision is to become the "masters of our systems and assets – no longer the slaves." Modern society needs reliable power. However, aging assets, loss of expertise with retirement of an experienced workforce, and budget constraints cause concerns. Ventyx Asset Health Center can help mitigate these risks. The expectations include:

  • Improved reliability – near-zero unplanned downtime
  • Repairs made when needed, rather than based on time intervals
  • Automated information and analytics to drive improved decisions and effectiveness


Last Word
While the new solutions mentioned in this report offer good potential and represent a new focus for the company, ARC believes that the technology and domain knowledge in Ventyx's Asset Health Center exemplify the benefits of merging IT and OT. Smart devices provide the data, while enterprise software provides the analytics for actionable information to help improve business performance.

This new product initiative has the potential for much broader application of condition monitoring and PdM. It enables maintenance to be performed where and when it is needed, driving improved reliability at reduced cost. This offers the potential for huge improvements in maintenance execution and cost, business processes, and customer satisfaction; much like the transformational change provided with the quality movement in the '80s and '90s. This change should accelerate as equipment becomes increasingly intelligent and the "Internet of Things" matures. A programmatic approach for broad application of condition monitoring will increase business opportunities.

Developing the many profiles needed represents a significant investment – particularly as Asset Health Center expands beyond transmission to other asset-intensive industries. ARC hopes that executive management continues to provide the resources required for Asset Health Center to succeed, since it offers a clear potential to change maintenance and enterprise asset management as we know them today.

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