Many facilities leverage GE Digital’s Asset Performance Management (APM) software (previously known as Meridium) to optimize safety, reliability, and cost. These users are now faced with the decision to continue using a legacy version or to upgrade to the newest version.

While upgrading to a new software version will present some challenges, the upgrade process presents a unique opportunity to assess what is working or not working with the existing program and to utilize the upgrade as a catalyst to drive change and improvements.

For example, by assessing your current program, you will be able to address long-term pain points, deal with inefficiencies in work processes, and realign programs. If done well, moving forward with an upgrade will enable you to refresh your program by keeping what you like / what is working, getting rid of what isn’t working, and leveraging new software capabilities.

What should you assess in your current program?

When we are contacted by a client to perform a database upgrade, we always take a step back and ask, “What is currently working and what is not?”

Here are some examples of things you should analyze prior-to a software upgrade.

  • Are custom configurations of the software necessary?

Many clients we work with have made software customizations but are oftentimes unsure why those customizations were made. We typically hear “because that’s how it’s always been done.” This mentality should be avoided because it can lead to a loss of productivity and efficiency. Instead, take a step back and identify why a customization was done and if that configuration makes your work process more efficient.

  • Are all work processes currently performed in APM?

Many clients want to upgrade their software but are not even performing all of their work processes in the software. If this is the case, how will an upgrade help you? This question should enable you to analyze your workflow and determine which work processes can be implemented in the new version of APM, whether through baseline features or specific customizations.

  • Where are your current problem areas? Examples include:
    • Having a Thickness Monitoring (TM) program set up, taking readings consistently, but still experiencing unexpected failures.
    • Independent systems for different processes are not talking to each other (e.g. you have one system for managing your Operator Rounds, another for your Instrumentation, and finally APM for your MI).

The Value in Upgrading

By evaluating their current programs, we’ve seen clients move to a more standardized approach for entire enterprises, streamline existing work processes, and reassign priorities.

In addition to program improvements, upgrading to the 4th version of GE APM offers an array of features which were not offered in previous versions. Some of these features include:

  • An upgraded user interface with improved usability. The previous version of APM was less intuitive and often difficult for users to navigate. The new user interface allows for users to more easily manage workflows by adding quicker shortcuts.
  • Asset hierarchy search capabilities. This feature allows you to search for an equipment and then access all information across all modules for that selected asset.
  • Cloud-based server. Perhaps version 4’s greatest value is the offering of a cloud-based server feature (GE Predix) which gives clients the options to reduce their infrastructure needs, as GE provides and maintains the hardware and software. GE provides bi-annual updates so that you can always be on the most current version. These options take a huge burden off the client’s Information Technology (IT) department and reduce downtime of the database.
  • Complete end-user control.
  • Steady maintenance costs (as opposed to rising costs for legacy software).
  • Additional analytical tools.

How to Prepare for an Upgrade

Upgrading your program is a huge endeavor and should not be taken lightly. To make an upgrade go as smoothly as possible, be sure to do the following:

  • Assign a project champion. A project champion is a person who oversees the effort to upgrade the software and leads through the entirety of the process. This person will be responsible for ensuring all business departments involved in the upgrade work together and come up with viable solutions.
  • Account for infrastructure capabilities. Server space and IT support are a key component in any upgrade. Although GE does offer a cloud-based solution, if a client chooses an on-premises option the client’s infrastructure might have to be upgraded. These enhancements to the infrastructure can take time and might delay project completion.
  • Clearly define the upgrade objective. Going back to previous points, clearly defining the objective of the upgrade helps clients have an ideal goal as well as roadmap to achieve this goal. Without a goal a roadmap to success cannot be achieved.

 

Download our slide deck to learn how to maximize the value of your upgrade:

Have upgrade questions? Let’s chat.