The Importance of Smart Integrations
As noted earlier, it’s critical that the services supported by each asset are also tracked. A complete asset register enables a single dashboard for utility telecommunications, which can yield increased efficiencies in terms of staffing for infrastructure operations such as network operations centers (NOCs). A single asset register also enables much stronger depiction of relationships among assets and services.
By comparison, multiple asset registers would require customized integration to depict those same relationships, oftentimes with custom application code that must be refreshed each time one of the integration systems issues a version or revision update. Those situations can cause utilities to become “rev-locked” when one of the integrated systems cannot accommodate the updates of another system. Additionally, integrating systems requires additional IT enterprise architecture time, a scare commodity to begin with.
A major benefit of a digital asset register is its ability to share accurate and granular information with other systems used for day-to-day utility operation. During a shortage of skilled staff, planning maintenance and recovery operations in the asset management system enables an accurate forecast of needs to workforce management applications. In this scenario, the asset register can mitigate the risk of realizing additional staffing needs at the last minute and allow managers to fill positions proactively.
Integrating the asset register with operational systems can also help during times of supply chain restrictions. In this scenario, the asset register can track asset health and input statuses into specific operational systems to enable long-range planning of asset procurement and mitigate last-minute requirements for equipment that may not be available.
Additionally, asset registers can be integrated into other systems such as:
• Financial systems, which track book value and accumulated depreciation of assets
• IT management software, which is used to track revision levels of all in-house software for update planning and compliance reporting
• Patch management systems, which must understand how systems will be affected by each vendor-issued patch
• Customer relationship systems, which need current asset information for contact centers and other support systems to provide accurate responses to customer inquiries
Overall, anywhere that current asset information and relationships can improve operations, an interface to the asset register should be considered.
Automation is Key
Another major benefit to utilizing a unified asset register is the ability to automate operational processes. By eliminating the manual steps that are required to link outputs of multiple asset inventory systems or departmental asset registers stored in Excel workbooks, you can easily plan telecommunications outages that may affect utility operations such as loss of telecommunications to grid management devices like relays, transformers, and voltage regulators.
As a unified asset register quickly recognizes relationships and dependencies, relating assets to the services that run on them during planning of field activities is easier than ever and far more efficient than manually linking multiple automated or manual asset registers. After outages or changes are resolved, observations and results can be compared with those that were forecast by the asset register, as a feedback loop. Any discrepancies between the forecast and the reality may indicate an opportunity to optimize the relationships and attributes that are recorded in the asset register.
Overall, deploying a consolidated asset inventory across your entity will keep your team up to date with a current view of assets at all times, enable you to plan complicated outages and technology deployments with confidence, and equip you with a better plan of action for future maintenance activities.
FNT’s solutions provide a unified suite of data repository and management tools that drastically improve control of active and passive network infrastructure. Our solutions deliver full transparency, from the passive outside plant infrastructure through all logical layers of the transport network hierarchies, up to the service layer.
After all, a central system containing accurate information about the availability of all resources is needed to maximize the automation and efficiency of planning and engineering, service assurance and service fulfilment processes. By standardizing management of network resources, FNT enables end-to-end management of all technologies and resources. This is a critical success factor for supporting the communications network of a modern power grid.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernd Pruessing, Director, Business Line Networks at FNT Software, has 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and over 12 years of experience in resource management, planning, and SDN and NFV orchestration. With a strong technical background, Bernd drives new ideas to valuable products and solutions and brings them to customers and partners.