New services can optimise IT asset management, reduce downtime and inventory costs
The majority of production facilities operating today are a mix of incredibly modern technologies and equipment operating well past its expected life cycle. Many companies are not entirely sure what equipment they have, or the specific risks that are associated with aging equipment. Rockwell Automation has released new software and enterprise evaluation services designed to help manufacturers and industrial operators better manage their assets and reduce risk. This is particularly important as manufacturers converge information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) systems, and migrate to a unified Connected Enterprise. New services include the Software Inventory Evaluation and Enterprise Installed Base Evaluation services from Rockwell Automation.
The Software Inventory Evaluation service provides organisations a thorough analysis of their plant-floor IT assets – including servers, PCs, laptops and mobile devices – and of the various software installed on those assets. This can help identify potential compatibility risks between specific firmware and software versions as more systems are connected and devices are updated. It can also help close knowledge gaps among support staff regarding which software versions are used across a myriad of equipment, how many licenses are used or unused, and whether software is being properly supported.
“More than a software audit, the Software Inventory Evaluation service includes valuable analytics-based reporting that details areas of risk and provides insights for taking action,” said Andrew Wilber, Installed Base Evaluation service manager, Rockwell Automation. “It can also deliver significant cost savings. For example, it might identify opportunities to eliminate unused software and to migrate to concurrent licenses.”
The Enterprise Installed Base Evaluation service can include a multisite Software Inventory Evaluation service or Installed Base Evaluation service, which is used to analyse critical plant assets to provide a full accounting and analysis of an organisation’s IT and OT assets across the enterprise.
Organisations can use the Enterprise Installed Base Evaluation service to support specific corporatewide initiatives, such as identifying their most critical assets, reducing obsolescence risks, managing corporate storeroom and spare parts initiatives, and ensuring all assets have up-to-date bills of material. For example, an organisation can use the service to review its facilities for parts that are running business-critical activities, have no spare parts in inventory, and are also discontinued. This can help create a corporate risk profile that highlights the highest risk for downtime at each site.
“Organisations attempting to do comprehensive evaluations in-house often spend a year or longer just to collect hardware data from a single facility,” Wilber said. “That can be a significant strain on high-value resources, especially when expanded across multiple facilities. It also presents challenges in ensuring a standard methodology is used for collection. With the Enterprise Installed Base Evaluation service, we can collect this data and begin delivering actionable, insights-based reports in mere weeks.”
Enterprise Installed Base Evaluation reports can provide insights across all of an organisation’s facilities. They also can be customised based on top at-risk locations and top at-risk machines, or focus on specific business units across multiple facilities.