Keywords: Asset Information Management, Content Management, Data Management, Regulatory Compliance.
Good asset information management (AIM) is essential for asset-intensive organizations. It improves asset performance and the productivity of everyone involved in asset management. It also helps companies reduce risk and manage growing compliance requirements.
AIM enables these benefits by ensuring that asset information is always complete, accurate, and consistent. It also ensures good usability, which includes convenient access, contextual support, and the ability to securely share information with colleagues and external parties involved in the organization's asset management efforts.
Establishing an effective AIM environment is not easy. Asset information is complex, with many relationships between structured and unstructured content that must be carefully managed throughout long asset lifecycles and plant modifications. Organizations need enhanced information management solutions to address these complexities.
A recent ARC briefing with OpenText executives demonstrated their understanding of AIM requirements and the capabilities of the company's Extended Enterprise Content Management (xECM) products to satisfy these needs.
AIM Requires Integrated Content and Data Management
Asset information comes in many flavors and forms. It includes specifications, technical drawings, calculations, procedures, contracts, and volumes of other records on everything that has transpired during a facility's lifecycle. These information objects may be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured information and many contain duplicate information and references to other information objects.
AIM Solutions Bring Together Content from Multiple Disciplines
An effective AIM strategy ensures that the organization's asset information is always complete, accurate and consistent. It also includes change management processes that enable continuous alignment between physical and virtual information assets.
AIM needs overlap with other organizational information management challenges, like customer, supplier, and product information management. Most companies leverage a common set of data and content management solutions for all of these areas. This minimizes IT costs and facilitates information sharing, but can undermine user efficiency in finding and utilizing asset information. To overcome these problems, organizations need to integrate AIM with asset management processes, while ensuring that they don't create additional IT maintenance problems.
OpenText Offers a Solution
OpenText, a leader in managing content, has a complete portfolio of products for Enterprise Information Management. These span Enterprise Content Management, Business Process Management, Customer Experience Management, Information Exchange, and Discovery. Not surprisingly, many asset-intensive organizations have adopted these tools as their platform for managing all of their unstructured information.
Bringing process and content together is a key focus for OpenText. Modern organizations rely on complex, end-to-end business processes, like asset lifecycle management (ALM). These processes depend upon seamless information sharing across application and organizational boundaries. Recognizing this, OpenText worked closely with ERP suppliers like SAP and Oracle to enable in-process access and management of integrated asset data and content.
In-process information management offers several benefits for AIM. First, it adds implicit context that improves understanding and navigation, so people are more likely to use asset information to improve productivity, quality, and profitability. Second, it improves information quality by reducing information duplication and making it easier for people to take care of the information they use.
OpenText's strategy for achieving process and content integration includes several key elements:
Tight integration of ERP and content information models ─ Aligning content with ERP data structures enables integrated information hierarchies and automatic metadata generation. This makes it easier for people to find related information and helps them manage compliance, retention, security, etc. It also facilitates discovery when incidents and contract disputes arise.
Role-based, integrated information workspaces ─ OpenText has developed a complete set of integrated information workspaces to support the various stakeholders and activities involved in asset lifecycle management. For example there are different workspaces for people involved in project management, supplier management, work planning and scheduling, materials management, etc. This facilitates usability by recognizing that different users view asset information differently and need different information for different tasks.
Easy Information Sharing with External Parties ─ Enabling people to expose asset information to others outside of the ERP environment is essential in today's world. Organizations rely upon a cadre of external parties for services and parts. Ensuring that they have the right information to do their work is critical for ALM program success. OpenText supports this need with secure Microsoft Outlook extensions, integration with Microsoft SharePoint sites, and through use of the company's Tempo and Managed File Transfer products for secure, large-file sharing.
Anywhere, Anytime Information Access ─ Organizations are leveraging mobility to improve all their business processes, including ALM. Today, operators, inspectors, and maintenance technicians demand mobile access to all information they need to perform their jobs and the benefits of mobility are clear to every manager. OpenText addresses these needs with OpenText Everywhere and OpenText Tempo.
Transparent Compliance ─ Regulatory compliance and management of change are critical in today's world. OpenText supports this by enabling organizations to embed rules for content review cycles and records retention and disposition within the context of business workspaces. According to the company, this full records lifecycle management capability ensures that procedures and documentation are always managed and reviewed according to the organization's business rules and policies. Archiving is also provided for long-term retention and compliance. This includes archiving of ERP/EAM transactions and master data as well as the unstructured content associated with those transactions and processes.
Good asset information is essential for asset lifecycle management. The costs of asset management and the risks of disruptions and non-compliance are simply too large to allow people to work with inaccurate, difficult-to-access information.
Good AIM programs integrate data management and content management to optimize overall quality and usability. They also enable workers to easily access all the information they need for their work directly from within their normal workflows. To support modern business processes, these programs must also make it easy to share information with external partners and enable users to access the information anywhere, anytime from mobile devices.
Based on our recent briefing with OpenText, it appears that the company fully understands these challenges and has developed solutions that should be of interest to every asset-intensive organization.
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