Data-driven asset management will be a critical enabler in meeting the performance challenges of tomorrow. Asset-intensive industries in particular are increasingly using data to optimise asset-related decisions. They are doing so by taking advantage of rapidly evolving digital technology such as 5G, IoT, cloud storage and processing, edge computing machine learning and scalable, interoperable platforms that enable rapid solution development and deployment.
With this technology at their disposal, it becomes feasible and economically viable to collect, analyse and interpret detailed information about the condition, costs, usage and performance of assets. Good data and rigorous analysis yield valuable insights, and can help remove subjectivity and inconsistency from decision making and asset management.
Some organisations in asset intensive industries are now seeing true value realisation from making better investment allocation decisions, leading to outcomes such as improved project execution, improved asset and operational performance, and optimisation of the interaction between people and assets.
Australia’s Defence industry can certainly learn from the experience of asset-intensive organisations in adopting data-driven asset management – and take this to another level. With its vast estate and the nation’s biggest portfolio of assets, Defence has the opportunity to build a uniquely valuable data resource, and then leverage this to develop world-class asset management capabilities.
With focused analysis of this data, Defence will be able to quickly pinpoint problems, identify and embed best practices, and gain insights into the complex relationships between assets and the people that use them.
This will yield significant benefits given that the reliability, performance and efficiency of all assets and people is of utmost importance to Defence, underpinning its capability, sustainability and efficiency. It is also vital to ensuring the wellbeing and safety of its people and the communities within which it operates.
Defence’s ability to meet its strategic goals and achieve desired outcome in areas such as Capability, Sustainability, Cost and People, is highly dependent on many strategic, tactical and day-to-day decisions in key areas, such as:
The quality of this decision making is heavily influenced by the quality of the data and analysis that informs the decision-making process, as illustrated in the figure below.
There are many ways in which the analysis of relevant data can improve the quality of decision making and help secure desired outcomes across these key areas.
Using data analytics to inform decisions across Defence assets ensures that investment is prioritised where it is needed most to maintain and grow capability. Key areas include:
Data analysis can also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of project execution for the Defence Estate. Some key areas where digital insights could drive benefits are:
Understanding how assets perform through powerful data analytics, and implementing automation to make processes more efficient, will help to optimise asset performance over time and minimise consumption across the entire portfolio. Key areas include:
Using data analytics to understand people, optimise their work environment and design to their needs will help to optimise the safety, wellbeing and performance of people and the community.
As discussed in our previous articles, there are the two fundamental buildings blocks Defence needs to have in place in order to use data to achieve its strategic objectives: capturing the right data with the right tools (aka the fuel for the insights engine) and making sense of that data – building a strong analytics capability (aka the insights engine).
But at a practical level, what should Defence do to move forward with this opportunity? We suggest three simple and practical steps to start with:
Data underpins the ability to make informed decisions, quickly. And with rapid advances in data capture, processing and analytics technology, managing assets without data – or with bad data – will hamper an organisation’s ability to achieve its strategic and operational goals. With the vast scale and diversity of its assets and infrastructure, Defence is in a unique position to fully realise the value that data can deliver.
Now is the time for Defence to embrace digital technology to enable cost-effective data-driven asset management. This will improve Australia's Defence capability, reliability and sustainability through the efficient planning, management and operations of the critical assets, infrastructure and people that support it. Taking simple, practical steps will allow Defence to start this value realisation journey by extracting insights from the from data it has today, while building a strong value-focused data capture and analytics capability for the future.
Eric Louw is Managing Principal, Data and Analytics at Aurecon. He has thirty years of international experience with leading management consulting firms and as an executive in the telecommunications industry, focusing on business strategy, technology strategy, digital transformation, and data analytics. He is the co-author of three business books, as well as numerous articles and academic papers.
James Trezona is Aurecon’s Industry Leader, Defence Design. With a background in structural engineering, he has over 29 years’ experience across the Defence, Health, Education, Commercial and Government Sectors. Often acting as the Project Director of large, multidisciplined teams, James adopts collaborative design processes and high-performance team philosophy to achieve integrated design solutions.
Elisha Bellchambers is a Principal and QLD Asset Management and Performance Leader, with more than 20 years of experience in private and public sectors. She has worked with clients across the globe across the areas of business financial performance, business strategy, stakeholder management, business development and program management.
Please change your browser to one of the options below to improve your experience.