Analyzing SAP’s FKOM and the Idea of “Intelligent Enterprise”
Returning from SAP Field Kick-off Meeting (FKOM) Barcelona I would like to share some insights:
Between January 15 and 17, SAP kicked off 2019 at their regional EMEA/MEE FKOM event. Similar events were performed in other regions.
While there were no major strategy changes announced, a couple of things got re-emphasized:
Growth area for SAP will be Cloud, while On-Premise is being expected as stable.
SAP sees major opportunities for their new CRM which is C/4HANA.
Also, SAP is further promoting the transition from ERP to S/4HANA.
SAP introduced a new slogan “Experience Matters” which must be seen in conjunction with their acquisition of Qualtrics (see https://www.qualtrics.com/). The idea is to bring together business data from SAP with experience data from Qualtrics in the categories of Customer, Employee, Brand, and Product. This refers to the business’ ability adapting to change in the market, for example measured by the AQ (Adaptability Quotient).
All this enhances the paradigm of the “Intelligent Enterprise“, using data for driving outcomes in end-to-end mega-processes. This must necessary lead to an even better integration of the SAP products in the areas of Customer Experience (C/4HANA), Manufacturing & Supply Chain (IBP, ME, MII, PPM, AIN, ASPM,…), Digital Core (S/4HANA), People Engagement (SuccessFactors), and Network & Spend Management (Ariba, Concur). For more details on the solutions you may have a look into the SAP Solution Explorer (https://solutionexplorer.sap.com/solexp/ui/) or the published SAP Roadmaps (https://www.sap.com/roadmaps). Shaping your own journey into the new portfolio might start with the Transformation Navigator (https://support.sap.com/en/tools/upgrade-transformation-tools/transformation-navigator.html), a tool you can use to map out your existing landscape and see SAP’s recommendations for go-to solutions.
Following the idea of an “Intelligent Enterprise”, SAP has revamped their EAM offering under the headline of “Intelligent Asset Management“. This comprises of two major parts:
S/4HANA Asset Management for the parts of EAM in the Digital Core. This mainly comes back to what most people know under the term PM (Plant Maintenance), but with a new Fiori and WebDynpro harmonized user experience, completely new analytics, and quite some enhancements and continuous improvement. Additionally, components for planning and scheduling (e.g. MRS), work clearance management (WCM), or environment, health, and safety (EHS) reside here.
SAP Cloud Platform based applications that complement the Digital Core for flexibly realizing on innovation challenges. Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) for exchanging asset master and condition data between manufacturer, service provider, and operator. Asset Strategy and Performance Management (ASPM) for determining or improving on maintenance strategies using a variety of methodologies (like Asset Criticality Analysis, RCM, FMEA, Root-Cause Analysis). Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS) for monitoring asset health data and initiate maintenance events when needed. Predictive Engineering Insights (PEI) for modeling physical structures and simulate stresses and strains.
Asset Central acts as the layer for common functionality of the EAM cloud applications as well as the information broker between S/4HANA and Cloud Platform. In this regard, it can also be seen as SAP’s new asset cloud registry for both master data and real-world information.
In essence, Intelligent Asset Management follows the idea on an Intelligent Enterprise by establishing data-driven asset management processes that are based on the Digital Twin, a virtual representation of the physical asset with all relevant up-to-date information, accessible in the cloud.
In its main pieces, the concept also works in combination with SAP ERP, hence there is no reason to postpone innovation, just because an S/4HANA transition is yet to come. Intelligent Asset Management allows for building the big picture, then consuming the pieces step-by-step.
How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids
How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids
SAP Leonardo is SAP’s digital transformation engine. It is design-thinking driven methodology coupled with the latest technologies driving new solutions built on the SAP Cloud Platform. It is designed for companies to rethink business processes, find more efficient ways of doing things, and seek undiscovered revenue streams.
With sensor-based data, there is a wealth of ways that SAP Leonardo can be applied in Enterprise Asset Management. This is a first in a series of posts where we will examine by industry the types of use cases that SAP EAM customers can find with SAP Leonardo. This time around, we will be looking at how the Utilities sector can take advantage of the set of methodologies, technology, and solutions with a Smart Distribution Grid.
Traditional Maintenance Strategies
Many of our current electric distribution grids use decades-old substations and distribution lines. These outdated assets provide limited to no data, are to expensive to retrofit, and don’t provide an accurate view of network activities.
To monitor these older assets, utilities have traditionally taken a condition-based maintenance (CBM) approach—meaning they wait for an issue to arise to apply a fix. This is certainly better than no solution, as it does provide a significant amount of data on the health of the asset. However, it can be inaccurate at times leading to false alarms. There also can be hidden costs in solution deployment. Finally, the data is largely unusable for advanced and predictive analytics, and the solutions are typically only monitoring sections of the circuit.
While utilities have managed to run with these methodologies, they also leave them more susceptible to major events like equipment failure and inclement weather. Having a better view of the overall health of assets through data is the ideal state for optimizing their lifecycle and functionality.
Enabling the Smart Distribution Grid with SAP Leonardo
With a Smart Distribution Grid, which can be built with the help of the SAP Leonardo solution, smart sensors collect asset data which is then processed through a central asset data hub builton the SAP Cloud Platform. Using predictive algorithms, the data tells us when the assets need to be worked on. Then maintenance notifications are sent, and work orders are created through SAP’s digital core—meaning SAP S/4HANA.
This is tremendously valuable. Predictive maintenance can reduce costs by 10 to 40 percent versus traditional CBM. Downtime is also reduced dramatically—50 percent, as we aren’t waiting for an asset to break down before fixing it. Overall, we expect this can reduce equipment and capital investment by 3 to 5 percent just by extending the life of current assets.
Beyond the maintenance cost reduction, the Smart Distribution Grid can limit the need for physical bank inspection. That minimizes operations and maintenance efforts. On top of that, there is less necessity to retrofit all assets as with CBM, because sensors can be installed strategically. The smart sensors themselves are relatively easy to install, as they quickly clamp onto lines. That leads to a safer process for linemen. The smart sensors are also battery free, so they do not require reoccurring maintenance.
On the IT side, there is no need for custom programming for each sensor—each can operate with the same code. The Big Data platform built on SAP Cloud Platform also enables theexploitation of existing CBM data with or separately from real-time sensor data using predictive algorithms.
SAP Leonardo as the Driver
Putting together a smart distribution grid can drive efficiency and cut down costs, but it does require new technology such as Big Data capabilities and predictive analytics. SAP Leonardo can be the driver to those new technologies, providing a methodology for implementing them as well as the technological platform to build solutions.
At Vesta, we are an SAP Leonardo IoT accelerator partner with extensive experience in Utilities. Contact us to help make your gird smarter and your maintenance more efficient.
Traveler of the high seas and volunteer firefighter…
The Vesta Employee Spotlight is dedicated to our extraordinary coworkers who exemplify the true values of Vesta.
Jack Shaw has worked with Vesta Partners as a Senior Consultant for nearly five years, focusing primarily on helping our customers with their SAP Plant Maintenance projects. Jack has a great understanding of the customer’s perspective, as he spent over 35 years as one himself with Chemtura Corporation.
“That experience gives me more empathy for the customer,” says Jack. “We always take a deep look at their side to make sure we understand how they run their business—why they do things, what they do.”
Get to know Jack Shaw:
Adventures by Sea
When Jack isn’t helping our customers implement SAP, he enjoys traveling on cruises. Usually you’ll find him in a warm place in the Caribbean, hanging out on the boat deck enjoying the sun in between day excursions to visit new places and experience new cultures. However, Jack counts a much colder place as his most interesting trip so far.
Cruises aren’t limited to just beach vacations, it’s quite common to see large cruise ships in the waters around Alaska. Jack was hesitant to head to the US’s northernmost state at first. He resides in Connecticut, so he is typically looking to escape the cold, but once in Alaska he found the scenery to be breathtaking.
“When we first got to Anchorage, we walked down to a lake and thought we saw some white clouds in the distance, then it dawned on us: those ‘clouds’ were snow-capped mountains rising from the other side of the lake,” recalls Jack. “We don’t see that in Connecticut.”
Jack hopes to see much more of the unique scenery across the United States, as his bucket list includes a national park tour.
Family Life in Connecticut
Jack and his wife Jill-yes that’s Jack and Jill—have twin boys who are grown up and out of the house. One son lives just outside Boston, which would explain Jack’s interesting combination of rooting interests—the New York Yankees and Boston Bruins. He picked up the Bruins fandom through his son but rooting for the Red Sox is certainly a bridge too far.
When not fighting figurative SAP software fires, you might find Jack fighting literal fires. He is a volunteer firefighter and has been for 35 years. The busy travel schedule of a consultant means he’s not as active with the fire department as he once was, but he still stays involved as much as he can.
With what little free time Jack has left, Jack enjoys military fiction novels such as Drone Strike: A Dreamland Thriller by Dale Brown and Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer. If the TV is on, he prefers it be on an action show like SEAL Team, but he enjoys America’s Got Talent as well.
Finally, in his career Jack looks to continue working with our customers until that day of retirement comes, when you’ll find him escaping the harsh winters of Connecticut in Florida.
Vesta Partners, a global professional services firm specializing in Asset Management and SAP EAM technology, is proud to announce the addition of Reinier van Doorn to the Vesta Partners European team. Mr. van Doorn joins the organization in the role of Director Business Development, with a focus on Energy and Utilities...
Building a Risk-Based Maintenance Approach for SAP Customers
Risk-Based Maintenance is an important topic for SAP EAM customers—at the recent Mastering SAP EAM Conference in Gold Coast, Australia, our session on the topic drew a packed house of mostly organizations discussing how they are approaching Risk-Based Maintenance.
There are several important things to consider with Risk-Based Maintenance, particularly with operational areas such as people, costs, safety, and environment. There must also be considerations around the probability of asset failure and the consequence of that failure.
Of course, even when companies want to build a successful Risk-Based Maintenance program, there are barriers. Chief among them is data. Sometimes there isn’t enough data to provide an accurate picture of risk. Sometimes there is too much data, making it difficult to narrow in on what is important. And of course, sometimes there is data but not the means to properly analyze it in an actionable way.
Achieving Successful Risk-Based Maintenance
How can a company overcome a barrier such as data to reach effective Risk-Based Maintenance? It starts with the people—similar to when companies are undergoing digital transformation, says Peter Dunford, President of Vesta Partners Asia Pacific Middle East, in the video below.
“People having the right mindset, people being aligned with exactly what had to happen, having the right leadership in place driving towards vision of what they were trying to do and then trying to change old behaviors,” explains Dunford. ”We categorize those as people issues and organizational change issues, and interestingly In many aspects we are trying to do in the digital world.”
Hear more from Dunford in this video:
SAP EAM Products Enable Risk-Based Maintenance
Once the people are on board, building a risk-based maintenance strategy also requires the proper tools for managing maintenance and risk data and ensuring it is utilized effectively.
Many customers are already using SAP in some form to manage Risk-Based Maintenance strategies. However, SAP has recently released and updated products that can help companies even better enable those efforts, including the SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Module as well as Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS).
Much like Digital Transformation, building proper Risk-Based Maintenance will require that two-pronged approach of people and technology. At Vesta Partners we are experts in both maintenance and transformation, so we can guide you through that process.
Unlocking the Intelligent Asset: The First Steps to EAM Transformation
Tapping into the data that comes from connected assets, and building new processes around that information, can be a major benefit in industries such as utilities, oil and gas, transportation, and more. However, the sort of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) transformation that is needed to take advantage of intelligent assets doesn’t happen overnight—there’s a level of readiness on multiple fronts that is required of organizations.
How does a utility—or any other organization with large asset—know if it is ready for transformation? Both Vesta Partners and SAP have tools to identify if an organization has the skills and technology to transform. Vesta offers an EAM Digital Readiness Assessment that evaluates a company from organizational, process, data, and system landscape points-of-view. SAP Transformation Navigator looks to the future, identifying what an organization needs on executive alignment, what sort of value it can garner from transformation, and what it needs to do to achieve that value.
So, what do organizations need to be ready for EAM transformation? There are two key areas that a company can improve on before embarking on an upgrade journey.
Date is one of the most important assets for any company. To be digital-ready, a consistent data integration approach with a data governance model, a stewardship layer, and an ownership layer are established. Make sure to communicate with stakeholders and ensure that data rules are clearly defined.
Tools like SAP Information Steward do quality checks on data, and make sure it is in the right place. It’s imperative for data to be set up correctly, as data is the driver behind many digital initiatives.
A truly mature data program is not only IT-led, but has cross-enterprise buy-in, with participation from all parts of the business. It has top-down vision that puts data at the center, and an integrating infrastructure that gives a consistent set of capabilities.
There are skillsets and knowledge that will help ensure EAM transformation success. In a transformation cycle, the process includes ideation and vision, rapid prototyping, an integration blue print, and business case development before the implementation and run stages even kick in.
That means your staff needs to ramp up skills on the latest technological innovations—at the very release have an awareness of what they are. They also need to be able to prototype ideas—that’s where SAP BUILD comes in handy. It allows business users to build wireframes for screens and workflows that they can plug into WEB IDE for developers to move into production.
As for the project staff outside of business users—a UX designer can ensure adoption and create operational efficiencies. There are also a number of architect-type roles that will need to be adept in employing a bi-modal strategy.
Finally, there are key roles that you may have to add or seek outside help for, particularly in the data science and machine learning realm. A Data Scientist that understands machine learning and predictive algorithms is ideal.
It’s important to remember that consultants can help fill some of these roles, if it is difficult to do so in-house.
These elements are just the beginning for any EAM transformation project—getting the right data and the right people will set the foundation for a more successful result and can really help a company start making its assets intelligent. If you need help getting up your company’s transformation readiness level, contact Vesta to get started.
Vesta Partners Employees Help Veterans Start SAP Careers
By: Nick Cecil, VP of Business Development for Oil & Gas and Chemicals.
Returning to the civilian population is often a challenging task for veterans. Not all of them make it—someone who has been in combat hasn’t learned a supply chain skillset, for example. They struggle to find what type of job is out there for them.
That’s why St. Michael’s Learning Academy trains veterans to get their TERP10 SAP Certifications. The certification gives those veterans a kick start to their post-military career.
Last year I met Christine Aboud from St. Michael’s Learning Academy, after she presented on the SAP certification program at an industry event. After learning about what St. Michael’s does, I wanted to help.
St. Michael’s asked if Vesta could help review some of the course curriculum and support the interview process for the potential candidates. Denise Powell and I supported the initial review of curriculum and made recommendations on how to incorporate more advanced training into the program. Additionally, I traveled to Fort Hood with another coworker and Army veteran, Nevin Gamble, to interview veterans applying to the program.
These interviews were educational in nature. We’d sit down with the program administrators afterwards to go over what went right, what could have been done better, and give suggestions on how to continue preparing the veterans for job interviews.
Getting the TERP10 certification is a first step in building a new life for St. Michael’s graduates. After that, it becomes about marketing their newly-acquired skillset to employers.
I have started working with several of the veterans to help them prepare for interviews, provide input on their resumes, and help improve their LinkedIn profiles. I help the veterans get acclimated to the job search process by having them send me a resume and a LinkedIn request, which I follow up with feedback.
At an ASUG event in June, I helped conduct job interviews at a job fair for the St. Michael’s graduates and again provided constructive feedback. I also stress the important of post-interview follow-up—reaching out to companies and taking the bull by the horns.
Keeping Skills Fresh
The SAP ecosystem is always changing with new products and new technologies driving businesses. It’s important for St. Michael’s alumni to stay up-to-date on these changes, because they are sure to come up at prospective companies.
With that in mind, I went back to Fort Hood in July to give a presentation to the future SAP professionals. I discussed my own background of coming from a life as a diesel mechanic in underground mining to an SAP career. If I can make that transition, surely a military veteran with strong process discipline and leadership skills can do the same.
My presentation also covered where SAP is heading in the future—giving a quick look at topics such as SAP S/4HANA, Internet of Things, Asset Intelligence Network, predictive maintenance, Design Thinking, and user experience. Vesta Partners provided lunch, then I conducted more interviews in the afternoon.
Since that workshop, I have received a number of resumes from veterans looking to return to the civilian workforce. I have identified several for future Junior Consultant roles at Vesta Partners when the opportunity arises.
Additionally, I have discussed the St. Michael’s program with many of Vesta’s clients who have military recruitment programs. If I can’t find them a job at Vesta, I still want them to find success somewhere in the SAP ecosystem. These veterans have made great sacrifices and we owe them some support.
Military Veterans Find Career Success, Culture Fit at Vesta Partners
When military veterans return to civilian life in search of new careers, like any other jobseeker they are looking to find an employer who is looking for their skillset and a culture that will match their own personality and comfort zone. At Vesta Partners, many in our core leadership are former military including CEO Noel Fagan. We have the SAP IT services roles and culture in which many veterans can excel—especially those who have served in operations previously.
That’s the case for Nevin Gamble, Eddie Varnellis, and Carson Reed. All served in the armed forces in operations at some point in their careers. Gamble, who came to Vesta as an Analyst, finds familiarity in the company’s culture.
“Vesta Partners has a very family-oriented culture and I wanted to be part of a tight knit group, like I was in the military,” says Gamble. “Soldiers in the military have different personalities and as a leader I had to learn how to motivate and gain their trust. This relates to the consulting world in which it is imperative to build trust between you and the client.”
Reed, who also joined Vesta as an Analyst, found early on in the interview process that the Vesta culture would work for him, saying it was completely different than anything he had experienced at other organizations.
“Interviewing felt like talking to new friends instead an awkward tribunal. Many other companies had a laundry list of selling points but seemed incapable of helping me understand whether or not I fit their company’s culture,” explains Reed. “The Army and the military as a whole is a ‘team of teams;’ everyone’s codependent on each other and trust between disparate elements is vital for success. Consulting at Vesta is similar.”
The major appeal for Varnelis was the broad range of opportunities he could find as a Vesta Consultant. He liked the scope of industries, such as Utilities, Oil and Gas, and Rail. He finds that IT implementation is a great way to expand and complement his operations experience.
“The most important aspect of my military experience that set me up for success is leadership. People are always at the core of any organization and knowing how to manage this aspect helps both with clients and internally,” says Varnelis. “I was staffed on a custom IT application project and it has been a great learning experience so far. I get to see IT product implementation from start to finish while driving some of the design myself.”
Gamble says his roles have been diverse and eclectic so far, from consulting on best practices, developing functional unit test and test cases for integrated training cycles and his current task of configuring an SAP S/4HANA system for a major electric power generation utility.
Similarly, Reed has found three distinct project roles since joining Vesta, each building on his previous experience. First, he was sent to an electrical utility in Nebraska to start learning the basics of SAP and the consulting business. Months later at the same project, he found more responsibility and a more defined role. He was then sent to a larger project in Louisiana with a broader role that allowed him to continue learning SAP while simultaneously expanding his responsibilities.
Vesta has both a culture that fits for veterans like Gamble, Varnelis, and Reed, and diverse opportunities that enable them to expand their skillset. A company-wide expectation of excellence also pushed any employee to be at their best.
“I am learning every single day, interacting with client and project team, and being responsible for certain solutions is a healthy and enjoyable challenge that continuously pushes me to be better,” says Varnelis.
How SAP’s Two Mobile Apps for Asset Management Differ
Going mobile is a key piece of asset management strategy for many companies. SAP has two mobility options—the classic SAP Work Manager app and the newer SAP Asset Manager. Both are intended to provide workers in the field with easy access to necessary information they’d otherwise need to access in the office. However, the two apps are different in their functionality and deployment options.
First, functionality in Asset Manager is not as robust as Work Manager. This is largely a product of Work Manager being a mature solution with many years of development, while Asset Manager has a limited feature set in comparison. Both will see increased capabilities in future releases.
The Mobile SaaS Experience in Asset Management
Where Asset Manager may be appealing to customers is that it is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product (Work Manager can be deployed cloud and on-premise) that has been designed to integrate with modern technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive analytics. Asset Manager is also designed specifically for modern devices—right now just iOS but an Android app is coming.
Work Manager works on iOS, Android and Windows devices currently. It also has back-end support for both SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA. Asset Manager does yet have support for SAP ECC, but that is expected to happen soon. Development on Asset Manager is done with a mobile development kit, while development on Work Manager through on SAP Mobile Platform or SAP Cloud Platform
Why does it matter that Asset Manager has been designed specifically for modern iOS devices? That means a more user-friendly native interface. That’s a huge asset—pun intended—for adoption. The easier an app is to adopt; the more likely workers are going to use it.
As for purchasing the two apps—Asset Manager is a subscription-only service, while Work Manager can be acquired via subscription or with more traditional on-premise licenses.
Map View in SAP Asset Manager.
SAP Work Manager Isn’t Going Away
When SAP introduces one app that looks as if it may be intended to replace another app, it’s natural for customers on the older solution to wonder if they will lose maintenance and updates. That’s not the case, according to Karsten Hauschild, EAM Solution Manager at SAP, who spoke at the ASUG Rail SIG event in Orlando during Sapphire Now.
“SAP will continue to invest in Work Manager as long as customers use it—it is not a dead product,” says Hauschild.
So, if you are using Work Manager and you are happy with it, don’t feel like you have to move to Asset Manager just to avoid losing mainstream maintenance and updated functionality from SAP. Instead, look at what your business needs in a mobile app to find which one is best for you.
SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing Looks to Bring New Options for Purchasing Major Assets
Industries such as Utilities, Oil and Gas, and Rail rely on supply chains from discrete manufacturers to build or supply the parts to maintain key assets. Traditionally, those assets are highly capital-intensive, with large investments required in equipment in order to run a business. At Sapphire Now, SAP launched SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing, which seeks to have the same impact on the discrete manufacturing business as the cloud has had on enterprise software.
The “as-a-service” designation was largely popularized by “Software-as-a-Service” or SaaS—where software is purchased via subscription rather than a license. In SaaS, the infrastructure is offered via the public cloud, so the company doesn’t need to make the initial investment in physical assets such as servers. This has revolutionized the way enterprise software is purchased, particularly in line-of-business units.
SAP is hoping SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing can have the same impact on the buying and selling of industrial equipment that the cloud has had on software.
How SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing Works
The data collected from the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly sensor-based data on industrial equipment, has the potential for huge impact on not only the way companies maintain their assets, but operate their businesses in general.
SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing is an industry innovation kit that seeks to guide manufacturers toward a pay-for-outcome model—meaning a shift from selling major assets to providing them as-a-service.
One customer example SAP has often pointed to in this sector of a company in the air compressor industry. By using sensor data, that SAP customer changed its business model from selling air compressors to selling air-as-a-service. That means its customers only paid for the air they used, rather than buying and maintaining air compressors. The air compressor company had the best insight into keeping the compressors in working order, so it took that burden off the customer.
With this new SAP Leonardo innovation kit, SAP plans to help customers help calculate risk and identify strong potential customers through machine learning, asset intelligence, and predictive maintenance capabilities. The solution will use IoT data and other contextual business information to help determine project costs and revenue to ensure fair pricing and quotes.
Finding What’s Best for Manufacturers and Industries
At Vesta Partners, we specialize in the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) space, so we have many of the same customers as discrete manufacturers in industries such as Rail, utilities, and oil and gas.
For our customers, if SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing does what it intends, then the purchase and maintenance of major assets may be greatly impacted—going from large capital investments to pay-per-use on industrial equipment.
However, what is important to remember here is that this SAP Leonardo solution is only designed to identify those discrete manufacturing customers that are the right fit for an as-a-service offering. It may be the case that a Rail or Utilities or Oil and Gas customer finds it more cost effective to continue purchasing, rather than subscribing to, equipment.
Other times, it may prove beneficial to pay for equipment as-a-service. If that’s the case, then that’s a good thing for all parties. The important thing to keep in mind for customers of discrete manufacturers is that these changes are coming, and technology like SAP Leonardo for Discrete Manufacturing is helping to usher in that new era.