To run a successful IT organization, leaders need to consider time, cost, and productivity; and at the core of any modern business, the data center is the most critical department. In most organizations, if data is lost, the impact to their process can be devastating. And data is often lost due to a power outage or other type of electrical disruption. The root cause of any electrical event is typically the aging electrical infrastructure or an infrastructure that has been neglected for a long time. These conditions are forcing facility managers to look for ways to increase safety, reliability, reduce maintenance costs, and minimize risk by minimizing unscheduled downtime.
Traditionally, facility managers modernized or replaced the aging infrastructure with new equipment. While this can alleviate issues for a short time, it is not a permanent fix. Business leaders should reassess how they develop and implement a modernization strategy, or even how they manage their electrical distribution systems. Instead, they should move from a reactive model to a more proactive approach by incorporating technology like asset performance management systems.
This technology will change how companies prioritize and implement their modernization strategies. As mentioned previously, the core of any business is data, and similarly the core of any asset performance management system is data. But, if the required data is not available, then the return on the investment will be lowered. But before implementing technology and taking advantage of that data, managers must have a solid strategy in place that can be implemented over time.
ASSET PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Choosing the appropriate asset performance management system will be the most important component of a sound strategy. Having a clear understanding of the data requirements to be more proactive will help to develop a comprehensive modernization strategy.
When analyzing such technologies, facility managers need to have a clear understanding of the system capabilities.
Communication protocols: What protocols can the system support?
Scalability: Can the system grow over a period of time and accommodate the evolution of technologies and assets?
Integration with existing systems: Can the system share data with existing systems?
Predictive technologies: Can it integrate with predictive technologies, such as partial discharge, wireless thermal sensors, dissolved gas sensors, vibration sensors, etc., to have the flexibility to add intelligence to assets that have none?
Analytics: How does the system consume and analyze data from each asset type?
Data requirements: What data is required for each asset type?
Data transfer: How is data transferred and does it align with corporate cybersecurity policies?
Lastly, the system must be able to provide accurate, actionable deliverables. The asset performance management system should deliver insights such as data, interpretations, and a timeline of actions and recommendations.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Implementing technology can be a daunting task. It can be costly and disruptive, which is why a long-term, multi-phase strategy is ideal. Differing the cost of implementation over a period of time and minimizing the impact to the process is critical to any plan’s success. When developing a strategy, consider the following:
Site Survey: Surveys, specifically designed for connected systems, will help identify, prioritize, and make recommendations for your system that can be used as the foundation of a strategy. Key deliverables of a site survey include:
Leveraging existing systems: Utilizing existing systems will minimize implementation costs by leveraging existing data and networks. If no such systems exist, gateways could be an option to start with. But, to increase reliability of the data transfer and manage the cybersecurity aspects of the transfer, edge control should be considered as part of your overall strategy.
Prioritize critical assets: Prioritize your modernization/replacement strategy by starting with the most critical assets. Assets, such as transformers, medium voltage switchgear, drives, and critical circuits should be at the top of your list.
Network communications: Make sure all substations/assets to be monitored have network access.
Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity for sensitive information should always be top of mind for digital solutions.
As part of strategy development, facility managers should have conversations with vendors who can shed light on how to best integrate their systems with current technologies. In addition, they can also assist in bringing some understanding of embedded data tables that exist within their devices. These data tables will have to be in alignment with your asset performance management system requirements.
Once the facility manager can be sure each of these elements are included in their strategy, the next step is to implement.
IMPLEMENTING THE SOLUTION
Costs, accuracy, and timeliness can improve with the integration of asset performance management systems. But before facility managers can realize these benefits, they need to ensure they have a solid implementation plan. This begins with the foundation. Whether it is through replacement or modernization, each plan needs to be implemented with minimal disruption to the facility.
UTILIZING ASSET PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Asset performance management systems will transform the productivity of data centers by ensuring safety risk mitigation and little to no downtime. They will be able to continuously monitor systems and provide information to help data center managers make better business decisions.
Typically, facilities have struggled with having adequate resources to perform tasks, particularly as onsite staff may be strapped for time and less equipped to interpret the data. The right management system can provide information to experienced professionals who can interpret it accurately and provide onsite staff with a concrete plan to improve the system’s reliability and maintenance strategy.
Data center managers are responsible for trafficking an enormous amount of important and sensitive information. There is no room for power disruptions, which makes predictive technologies instrumental to ensure issues are corrected before they can harm a business. Facility managers and staff will notice better operational efficiency and lowered maintenance costs for electrical distribution systems by integrating asset power management systems.