EAM Implementations: When They Struggle

Why do EAM implementations struggle to deliver useful information? And how do you turn around an underperforming EAM software implementation? 

The EAM Information Challenge

If there’s one challenge I’ve encountered more than any other during my 25 years as an EAM consultant, it’s the information challenge. I’ve worked with all major asset information systems, including Maximo, Infor, Oracle, and SAP. I’ve assisted large and small organizations in many different industries across both private and public sectors. I’m not saying this to brag but to demonstrate how universal the problem is. Regardless of the software irrespective of the company, the most common issue I’ve heard is this: 

“We can’t get our hands on the information we need to make informed asset management business decisions.”

Most organizations know that they are struggling to create value with their EAM software. A survey conducted by Plant Services magazine revealed that most organizations considered their EAM and CMMS implementations to be mediocre at best. The survey asked users to rate the performance of their EAM/CMMS software across 21 areas. On a scale of 1 to 5, users gave their implementations a score of 2.77 overall. The area that fared best was Benefits Realization, which scored just over 3, while Energy Tracking fared worst, scoring a little over 2. Key features for accessing information, such as Analysis Tools and Configurable KPIs, scored below 3.

Plant Services
Selected EAM/CMMS implementation scores from the Plant Services survey.

A survey of asset-intensive organizations conducted by Deloitte UK was even less encouraging. Overall, less than 15% of respondents said that the quality of their asset-related data was high, while nearly half rated their data quality as less than satisfactory. Another survey taken revealed that 34% of manufacturing companies are not capturing any operational data about their assets.

Getting Your ROI on EAM: What’s Missing?

Despite the many asset management software products that are available today, organizations still struggle to access rich and actionable information about their physical assets. This is a problem, because in today’s industry, information drives everything. It’s used to improve reliability, prove regulatory compliance, reduce costs, improve productivity, right-size the organization, lower time to repair, and much more. In fact, asset management information can do more to help asset-intensive organizations accomplish their objectives than any other external factor. If you think about it, this makes sense. Asset-intensive businesses rely heavily on their physical assets to deliver services or products, and to get the most out of your physical assets, you need to know how they and the business functions that manage them are performing. You need information.

EAM products are powerful information delivery tools. They are designed to capture, process, store, retrieve, and analyze asset management data, and they perform those functions extremely well. However, they can’t solve the information challenge by themselves. When EAM software systems fail to deliver ROI, it is almost always because of how the software is being implemented—or, more often, what’s not being implemented.

Maybe you’re neglecting some of the variables that drive EAM success. (There are a lot of them.) Maybe you’re overlooking key performance drivers. If so, you’re not alone. The EAM software implementation highway is littered with under-performing, under-utilized systems. Organizations have spent countless hours and millions of dollars trying to solve the EAM information challenge. They have thrown everything they can think of at the problem: new software technologies, modified work processes, management consultants, and more. So far it has been a tough nut to crack. 

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