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In this blog post, I will discuss SAP’s strategy and use cases on the digital thread of the asset life cycle and how it enhances the collaborative value across OEM, Operator ecosystems.

When I recollect an interesting conversation between a machine builder and an operator, it is evident that enterprise asset management capabilities have evolved over time, from the fundamental aspects of asset utilization, maintenance cost, and operational safety towards building an integrated asset life cycle strategies for a lifetime based on data and predictive analytics.

If you analyze some of the scenarios, to maximize the performance of an asset, Operators want

  • a blueprint of changes that were performed in the asset over its lifetime.

  • to know the current and future compatible systems and subsystems of an existing equipment 

  • to compare and analyze the performance of equipment across different plants, 

and similarly, the manufacturers to capitalize on next-generation business models wants to establish installed base traceability to evaluate who all the customers are still operating with an older system, outdated software version, or even non-compliant with emerging regulation standards

Our Customer Scenarios

So, what do you think would be the value of building these scenarios,

For example, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NITS) published a conservative estimate, which noted that the US capital facilities lose an average of USD 15.8 billion each year due to a lack of standardization, interoperability across systems, and enterprises.

It is a fact that the initial build cost of an asset typically makes up to 20% and the rest of 80% of asset life cycle cost is comprised of maintenance & operations. However, it is important to note, on average, that 80 percent of asset cost is defined during the development stage itself.

 What is our holistic strategy? 

As consumerization continues, enterprise asset management applications are increasingly becoming AI and data driven. These above-mentioned scenarios and analyst data signify that we need a holistic approach to enhance asset life cycle management capability. Hence our strategy is to build a single digital thread that connects across the landscape from design to decommissioning


“Digital thread of asset life cycle is a common data stream, that connects every persona in the value chain right from designer, construction engineer, owner, operator, reliability engineer, and service provider”.


It integrates all the functions, processes, and artifacts, it could be real-time information, feedback, and performance from design to decommissioning. Digital thread enables all stakeholders to possibly share & act on real-time information across the value chain

Digital Thread of Asset Life cycle Management

Let’s look at how digital thread strategy helps in realizing some critical real-life use cases


Unified engineering definition:

In a typical Operator – OEM collaboration scenario, engineering happens in multiple stages across multiple stakeholders, and these assets are often highly complex and are a result of multi-disciplinary engineering and development processes. Hence it is always a challenge for EPCs, Operators, and  OEMs in converging and unifying all the engineering information for an asset. SAP digital thread solution focuses on consolidating the engineering definition from multiple sources, making it possible to have one environment with data structures to completely represent the asset definition, capturing best practices, reducing handover times, and providing the correct asset definition to the asset management system


Transformation of product structure to an asset:

OEM that  designs and manufactures a product, needs to share the data with their customers, and partners and manage the data ongoingly for years. This is where the role of converting a single equipment structure into an operational asset structure comes up. SAP digital thread solution would formulate physical asset structure automatically from various disciplines like engineering, manufacturing, planning, sourcing, and Quality based on maintenance requirements, traceability factors, and asset operational strategies.


Utilize the upstream product engineering and service engineering data for asset operations.

Early life cycle product and service engineering generate a huge amount of data like service engineering, nested service requirements, failure probabilities, reliability scorecards, performance characteristics, fault codes, inspection processes, repair procedures, operational sequence, and associated tools and resources. These data sources from service engineering could be effectively utilized across multiple streams of asset operations like demand planning, field services, warranty management, maintenance plans, and asset strategies. By enabling a digital thread of services, we could connect data, right from authoring to consumption across the service value chain.


Closed-loop Feedback process from Asset Operations to Product Innovation

Changes are the most prominent characterization of the engineering world. What happens after a product is designed and delivered? Continuous changes are happening on both sides of product engineering and asset operations. Several enterprises are trying to establish traceability between the two streams of asset operations to product innovation that plays a huge role during machine upgrades, overhauls, or even major services.

The digital thread of the asset life cycle enables enterprises to capture, analyze and share transactional and performance data from operational assets into actionable insights. This continuous performance feedback loop from the installed base ecosystem to the product engineering stream would enable OEMs to introduce better products that have long-lasting operational value.


Integrated Asset analytics

There are multiple processes, functions, and stakeholders across the asset life cycle and enterprises need to have all-around visibility for Asset Management and Service Analytics through a single window. Integrated Asset analytics will have preconfigured list of KPIs that monitors the business and operational performance of an asset. It helps organizations to plan asset life cycle strategies based on contextual business decisions and analytics. The digital thread monitors the KPIs and triggers AI-based workflows for stakeholders to realize data to insight. 

Let’s converge on what digital thread brings to the Asset life cycle management

A digital thread of asset life cycle coins transparent process and connects all stakeholders in the ecosystem to persuade next-generation business models like servitization. Digital thread enables closed-loop product performance feedback from asset operations to engineering and formulates a continuous product innovation cycle to ensure upgradability & compatibility of older operating assets. Digital thread establishes Insight to action workflows that relate to performance KPIs to monitor the health of asset operations in real-time thus playing an important role in maximizing asset operational efficacy for the lifetime.

Please feel free make your comments and contact me with any of your questions and I will provide more details about the SAP’s strategy in realizing the digital thread with a progressive roadmap to enable business transformation models between OEMs and operators.

Looking forward to connecting with you.