5 TIPS FOR A ROBUST EAM CLOUD STRATEGY
By ERICA FERRO, VP OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT FOR CLOUD AND CONTENT SOLUTIONS, HITACHI ABB POWER GRIDS
ERICA FERRO, VP OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT FOR CLOUD AND CONTENT SOLUTIONS, HITACHI ABB POWER GRIDS
Over the past six months, we’ve seen a strong shift to cloud technologies across industries, as remote work both enables and requires cloud solutions for employees to thrive.
Monolithic enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions have long provided many challenges and required large time, money and resource investments. The downsides have organizations in nearly every asset-intensive industry – like utilities, transportation and mining – looking to modern cloud-native EAMs for flexibility, time-to-value, modular approach and ROI potential.
With that in mind, and as these businesses shift to cloud-first strategies, here are five tips for a successful cloud EAM migration.
1. CLOUD ISN’T JUST ENABLING TECHNOLOGY, IT’S AN ORGANIZATIONAL MINDSET
Many organizations across heavy asset industries like mining, utilities and transportation have always had on-prem technologies. In many cases, this means employees from top to bottom aren’t as familiar with the cloud, so it’s important to help the entire organization understand the benefits of the cloud, as well as how it works from a strategy, implementation and operational perspective.
With Software as a Service on the cloud, EAM vendors provide the infrastructure and application as a
packaged solution offering. The vendor is responsible for purchasing, provisioning, maintaining and powering hardware to run the solution. They also bear the responsibility to ensure software upgrades and patches are available, and bugs are automatically fixed without interruption to the company’s operations.
Because an EAM is a critical operating system in these industries, eliminating potential interruptions is crucial. This allows the company to focus on its core business and use the application to
further its business objectives, while the vendor focuses on ensuring the infrastructure and EAM application are up to date and performing.
2. THE CLOUD CAN BE MORE SECURE THAN IN-HOUSE ALTERNATIVES
Concerns for cloud security abound because of the critical nature of infrastructure, and some organizations doubt cloud technologies can effectively protect key assets and information.
But the reality is that cloud technologies can be highly secure for EAM if designed and implemented with security as a critical objective. Organizations should have direct conversations with their vendors about how they approach security as well as regulatory compliance, and what methods they have in place to protect their technology and the customers who use it.
Vendors who use best of breed cloud providers to host applications like EAM can actually reduce risk for their customers. That’s because these providers are focused on offering standardized, highly secure environments, data protection procedures, and automated disaster recovery. They are experts in the business of secure environments, which many customers simply don’t have in abundance on staff.
3. KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN MIND WHEN CALCULATING CLOUD ROI
Highly regulated, rate-based industries may have strong sentiments about CapEx and OpEx, and there are misconceptions that cloud can be more expensive than on-prem technologies.
The fact is, a cloud-based EAM that employs microservices can actually help organizations cut costs. For example, cloud-based technologies eliminate the need for on-prem hardware. Additionally, pay-as-you-go subscription models and modular capabilities enable organizations to pick and choose the specific business applications that fit their needs and budgets, and better balance their ratio of spend to business need.
The cloud brings scalability and agility. Changes to on-prem, monolithic applications can require large, time-consuming
time-consuming investments. Implementations and fork lift upgrades of monolithic applications bring significant disruption to business while cloud native EAMs can be live sooner, allowing companies to accelerate time to value and maximize ROI.
4. SKILLING FOR THE CLOUD: NOT AS DIFFICULT AS IT SOUNDS
With the cloud, organizations can free up the time IT shops traditionally spend on learning, managing, supporting and troubleshooting environments and applications. Instead this time can be reinvested in upskilling to manage more strategic projects that drive more business value.
From an operations perspective, cloud EAM requires learning the application, and this can be done with minimum business disruption. SaaS brings with it new, friendly user interfaces (UIs) that follow natural workflows and are easier to learn, resulting in quicker onboarding.
As an example, think of a modern application in the field: instead of using a pen and paper to capture data, now organizations can use a phone or tablet. While adjustments are needed early on, the end result is more efficient and streamlined operations. The same types of adjustments happen with the shift to a modern, cloud-based EAM and can improve employee productivity – and the bottom line.
5. EMPOWER YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH THE CLOUD
As you embark on your journey toward a modern, cloud-based EAM, make sure you’re thinking of your organization holistically. The right EAM cloud solution should be purpose-built for your industry, with a logical UI that enables enhanced employee productivity. The vendor’s product roadmap should also align with your roadmap to ensure the right long-term fit.
It’s important to find the right EAM solution that meets the needs of your business today – and tomorrow – so that your cloud EAM grows as your business does.
This is an exciting time to retool with futureproof technologies, and the asset intensive industries have much to gain from setting the right, effective cloud strategies today