As part of digitization strategies, the companies which produce the most data will not be the ones who will prevail. The winners will be those who use their data to generate real additional benefits. The real added value will be the way of collecting, analyzing, integrating, and presenting this data. Only organized, real-time data from operational and business levels can help make informed decisions.
In 2006 Clive Humby, an English mathematician, wrote that “Data is the new oil” and Michael Palmer of the American Association of National Advertisers later added: “Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined, it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc. to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.” Both men knew what they were talking about. Humby is one of the founding fathers of Tesco’s Clubcard system. More than a decade later Big Data is a common term and process industry companies are asking: how do we use this giant mountain of data in a profitable way?
One answer is XHQ Operations Intelligence Software by Siemens. XHQ Operations Intelligence is a vendor-neutral tool set with which to collect, integrate, analyze, and visualize operational and business data from data sources of various backend systems in order to increase business performance.
Typical process plants have no shortage of systems to generate data: process control systems, asset management systems, process historians, laboratory information management systems (LIMS), MES and ERP systems, just to mention a few. They all generate, collect, and/or store data. They thus serve as an important working basis for different groups of people: plant operators, service personnel, field staff etc. Every system has its own access rights, data formats, storage locations, and provides its users very specific views on the data material.
However, certain information must also be made accessible to personnel across the organisation: e.g. production rates, down time, or raw material use are to be visualized in weekly or even daily reports. In many companies, the time-consuming search for and compilation of this data has the feel of a scavenger hunt rather than an effective management report.
Managing Data, Not Generating
The result in turn is a bulletin that presents a view in the operative rear-view mirror: you receive information about plant performance in the past. In order to have a good basis for decisions, wouldn’t it make more sense to look at current numbers? Or even derive trends from real-time data? This is exactly where XHQ kicks in: the system does not generate data, it manages it. The products of the XHQ Operations Intelligence product line collect operational and business information in real-time from connected back-end systems, determines their relationships, and presents it in a customized view.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) which are represented in interactive views and dashboards, help users at all company levels make better decisions. Since the KPIs are updated in real-time, they show deviations from targets immediately and let you react before they have a negative impact on the company targets. In this way, XHQ creates a completely new form of company-wide transparency — based on current data. It ensures the provision, contextualization, and representation of information from diverse data sources — XHQ connects easily with production databases, real-time and historical process data, even ERP systems. This lets you further exploit the potential of already existing systems.
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