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RESOURCES

We believe that a rising tide raises all ships, so we work hard to share knowledge that educates and informs. We want to lead a better future for the industries we serve, making facilities and their operations more efficient and safe.

 

The Wild Catters Power Hour

Guests, Mike Antosh and Blake Biernacki explore the benefits of digital transformation and the use of innovative technologies in modern organizations. Recorded May 11th, at 10 AM. CST
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The Wild Catters Podcast

Collin with the Digital Wildcatters sat down with Blake Biernacki and Mike Antosh from ProLytX - Engineering IT to chat about the work they are doing to bridge the gap between major engineering companies and owner-operators in the O&G industry by bringing together engineering, IT, and consulting services to increase operational efficiency and functional safety.
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Engineering IT: a Unique Skillset

It is common for companies in the engineering industry to have a corporate structure with multiple disparate business units; traditional Information Technology (IT) and Engineering are two such units. IT fills the important role of providing software and network resources across the enterprise, but their success is measured on delivery, not adoption. Their approach is a break-fix model with no real responsibility for the end-user’s success or failure in most cases. This raises particular concern for engineers providing business-critical services that rely on IT to provide many of their mission-critical tools.  However, the highly specialized nature of the engineering process presents nuances that make it nearly impossible for IT to deliver an out-of-the-box solution that the engineer or designer would actually use without significant customization and governance applied. This disconnect results in engineers having difficulty finding value in the tools that IT provides. Yet, without proper context, IT struggles to provide tools that are useful to the engineer. This gap often results in failed implementations and costly inefficiencies within the engineering workspace.

In recent years, as businesses have been challenged to deliver larger projects with global work-sharing, a number of engineers have taken an interest in improving the technology offered by proactively working in the gap between IT and Engineering to ensure that data and processes are aligned to the business and that fellow engineers are adopting the technology. These folks are the go-to people when problems occur and the ones who resolve complex issues behind the scenes, with a combination of analytics, programming, and specialized application knowledge. These individuals and the companies they work for started to recognize the value of their talent, and a new discipline was born – Engineering IT.

Engineering IT is complementary to traditional IT. It ensures not only the right tool selection but also provides coaching and structure to make them work for the engineer. This specialization brings context and applies workflows, as well as strategy and governance. It bridges the gap between Engineering and IT.

For those companies who do not have functional Engineering IT roles or cannot pull engineers from their primary functions to take on technology improvement projects, there are service providers available, but not all are qualified. Many software providers and purely IT players claim to implement engineering solutions, but few have Engineering IT in their wheelhouse. They lack a basic understanding of engineering principles, budgets, schedules, and construction deliverables. Engineering IT requires expertise in these subjects and a good functional knowledge of IT processes to provide the skills, insights, and context to be truly successful. The right implementation partner will maximize your investment and allow tools to be used to the fullest extent, ensuring user adoption and satisfaction, while maximizing investment. 

ProLytX is an Engineering IT firm based in Houston, TX and is a leader in this field, coaching clients to success with a unique combination of skills.  If you want to learn more about ProLytX and how we can help you bridge the gap between IT and Engineering, call us at (832)540-8465

Rethinking Asset Data

Enterprises count on their asset management system to be the “master” from which all other applications pull data. For most business functions, this works well while providing consistency and control to the enterprise. Still, the fundamental way data is collected, stored, and managed has led to challenges, particularly for maintenance operations. The reason for this is simple – maintenance requires accurate and reliable engineering data, and engineering data is continuously evolving.

Typically, when an asset management system is set up, a moment-in-time snapshot is pulled from the engineering platforms’ document control program, and a record is established in the asset management system. This “as-built” approach fails to account for the fact that as facilities go through maintenance cycles, the engineering data changes. Yet, the asset management system data is rarely, if ever, updated. As maintenance applications pull from the asset management system, the information is often obsolete, which causes delays and errors and poses unnecessary safety risks. The more experienced engineers would often bypass the asset management system’s data in the maintenance application and pull data directly from the engineering systems, especially when the data in the maintenance system just did not make sense. Like, when the specs called for a valve that was discontinued ten years ago, but only an engineer with years of experience would know that. Clearly, this is not sustainable or a best practice.

So, you are right. Your asset management system is broken in regard to serving maintenance applications. So how can we fix it?

There are many approaches to this issue; messy middleware, inaccurate AI solutions, and expensive asset management bolt-ons are all available, but no software will solve the problem. Software does not address the evergreen nature of the engineering data and the workflows involved in ensuring that the data is accurate and reliable.

The answer is not a simple fix; it requires a fundamental change in how you approach the data. It requires digital transformation and the building of an ecosystem between asset management and engineering data systems. The ecosystem needs to allow data to be updated where it was authored and routinely push fresh updates to the asset management system and maintenance applications. Updates made in the maintenance applications need to be reflected in the engineering programs and vice versa in close to real-time.

Approaching this problem can seem insurmountable. It is a difficult ask of IT departments and out of scope for engineers. You need Engineering IT expertise. A process-driven Engineering IT solution with connections, workflows, and stewardship that brings engineering systems, asset management, and maintenance together into an ecosystem will solve your asset management system problems and set your maintenance group up for success by reducing costly delays and errors, as well as mitigating safety risks.

ProLytX is an Engineering IT firm based in Houston, TX, and is a leader in this field, coaching clients to success with a unique combination of engineering and IT skills.  If you want to learn more about ProLytX and how we can help you bridge the gap between IT and Engineering, find us at www.prolytx.com.