Analytics is a popular buzzword these days. Who wouldn’t want to use existing information to improve processes and make smarter, data-driven decisions to boost operational efficiency? Unfortunately, for analytics to deliver any value, there must be data to analyze!
Collect, Store, Notify, Analyze
Think of streaming analytics as configurable logic that notifies personnel, in real-time, when critical systems aren’t functioning as intended. More advanced analytics can also diagnose the probable causes of the problems. But where is the data these analytics are destined to analyze.
Lacking data availability is a common roadblock for those wishing to leap into the 21st century with streaming analytics. You’ll want to collect data coming from sensors, meters, PLCs, SCADAs and BAS (Building Automation System) and centralize data storage in a data historian, BAS, SQL or other. Local storage and maintenance can be a significant cost burden for some. However, storing data in the cloud enables you great flexibility in storage capacity and offloading the costs of maintaining a high-performance database capable of analyzing vast amounts of data.
Unifying data visibility into single, mobile-friendly dashboard makes centrally managing multiples data sources, facilities, and campuses a much easier task. Historians are an excellent backbone here. And with analytics running on that centralized data, you can perform cross system analysis to identify inefficient maintenance and process issue- Thus, creating a historical knowledge base of preventable failures, opportunities for operational efficiency and which skills, tools and supplies will be required.
Mobile visibility enables increased efficiency via remote access to procedures and instructions, and collecting data from the field to add to the knowledge base.
Rolling out a continuous monitoring and analytics solution requires top-down buy in. After all, we’re talking about adopting a cultural shift towards a proactive and preventative methodology. Your success criteria should be well defined before you select a vendor and the vendor you select should be committed to your success. You shouldn’t want your vendor to be a vendor. You should want them to be a partner.
Once you’ve identified the partner who can help you, and you’re finally collecting data, and that data is being archived, and the data is easily viewable, then… you’re almost there!
Data on its own doesn’t do anything. It’s your people who are going to get things done. So get all potential users involved and committed early and arm them with knowledge that will help them make more informed and accurate decisions.