Cloud for Maintenance: 5 Areas to Consider Before Getting Started

Posted under Blog by Mike Davey - Content Marketing Specialist

October 3, 2019

Cloud has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to maintenance

The Benefits of Cloud for Maintenance

A successful cloud implementation has undeniable benefits for maintenance organizations. Factors like real-time updates and relative ease of scalability are obvious advantages. Properly implemented, moving your maintenance activities to the cloud can also help your organization maintain a “single source of truth.” In other words, it will help to ensure that everyone has the same information and remove data conflicts.

Cloud for Maintenance

Cloud for maintenance takes careful planning. Answer these five questions from VIZIYA before you start and you’ll help to build your own road map for success.

When done right, a cloud implementation can also help planners, schedulers, and technicians to be more flexible in their approaches to maintenance and reliability. For more on some of the benefits specific to maintenance, please see “Maintenance in the Cloud.”

Realizing the greatest benefits from cloud for maintenance relies on the implementation being conducted successfully. One of the most important factors to remember is that moving to the cloud is not just a decision about technology. Cloud migration is far more involved than simply taking your current on-premise software and reproducing it on a hosted server.

The impacts go beyond those involved in most technology purchase decisions. Cloud for maintenance implementation must be viewed first and foremost as a business decision. This is because the cloud has the potential to change the entire way you conduct maintenance, from planning decisions all the way through to turning the bolts. Please see “Implementing Oracle Maintenance Cloud – A Case Study with VIZIYA, Oracle & The Wonderful Company” for a thorough and in-depth look at how this was successfully rolled out at The Wonderful Company.

Planning was key to the success of this project at The Wonderful Company. This is not an area where you can simply jump in feet first and hope for the best. You’ll be more likely to achieve success if you make sure to clear these five items off your to-do list before you start.

1. Determine Your Goals

Successfully transitioning to the cloud requires that you know exactly what you want to achieve. As author Bill Copeland put it, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Be as specific and as concrete as possible when you’re setting out your goals. Avoid open-ended goal statements like “it will save money” or “work orders will be updated faster.” Drill down and determine a low end and a high end for how much money will be saved over what period. Attempt to quantify exactly how much faster those work orders will be updated.

The best way to determine the right goals is to use a formal discovery process that illuminates what will change when you move to the cloud. There are many questions you must ask before you can truly know what your goals are.

      • What are you hoping to change?
      • Why does that particular aspect need to change?
      • What will you gain, and just as important, what will you lose?
      • Who will this change impact? You should answer all these questions thoroughly but figuring out who will feel the effects is particularly important.

Moving even one application to the cloud may involve more people in your organization than is clear at first glance.

Finally, what changes will need to be made to support the new cloud for maintenance environment? At the risk of repeating ourselves, a cloud implementation is not simply a hosted version of your on-premise solution. It may require different support.

You should have goals set up before going to your implementation partner. Make sure to aim high. You may have to modify your goals after that discussion, but if you don’t ask for something you probably won’t get it. Go ahead and ask.

2. Examine Your Processes

A cloud implementation is an opportunity to enhance your current processes by instilling best practices, while also giving you the opportunity to streamline your processes for greater efficiency. For example, the data foundation and standardization/taxonomies are critical to a successful cloud implementation. They are also crucial for achieving ease of use for end-users and for the analytics necessary to make better business decisions. This is just one way in which you can use a cloud implementation as an opportunity to improve your processes.

Preparing for a cloud for maintenance implementation is a good time to look at which of your processes are adding the most value for your customers. Moving to a cloud solution is about helping you and your team, but it is ultimately about adding value for the company’s clients. Looking at how your processes will improve is a necessary component of aligning your cloud implementation with the company’s overall vision.

3. Keep People Top of Mind

Even the best-planned project can fail if it doesn’t have buy-in from stakeholders. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are always lurking in the background, ready to pounce.

Knowledge tends to remove fear and invariably removes uncertainty and doubt. The people in your organization want to know as much as possible about what’s coming and how they’re going to have to move forward. Wouldn’t you?

The more concrete knowledge you can disseminate, the better. You may be tempted to just tell them “don’t worry, everything that changes will be an improvement.” It is critical to avoid this sort of mindset. People adapt poorly to changes forced on them, even if the changes truly are for the better. The path to the cloud will have fewer roadblocks if you have buy-in from staff.

Bring key people into the process as early as possible and make sure they understand and believe in the benefits. This will turn them into internal champions of the cloud for maintenance project. The more people in your organization that have the right information, the less power that fear, uncertainty, and doubt will hold over them.

Early training is an essential part of this. Your workforce knows what it is doing now. They do not want to arrive at work one day to find out they must take training before they can do their jobs. The effects on morale will be catastrophic, not to mention the very likely negative impacts on production if maintenance is not as efficient as it was before the implementation. You can avoid this entire issue by making sure they understand how to use the cloud platform before it’s implemented.

4. Private or Public Cloud Solutions?

A public cloud is open to anyone who pays the fee. This does not mean, of course, that your data is literally wide open. A user will still need a username and password to access the software. Examples of public clouds include Amazon Web Services and Dropbox.

Private clouds are just that, private. You own and control the hosting servers and access to them. This doesn’t always mean that those servers share the same physical location with you or even with each other. It’s more a matter of ownership.

Typically, the larger an organization is, the more likely they are to choose a private cloud. This is simply a matter of expenses. A large organization can more easily afford the high start-up costs of building and hosting its own cloud.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both models. A private cloud means everything lives behind your firewall and existing data protections. You may even be able to disconnect it from the internet, depending on how it will be used. You can design it to very precisely meet the needs of your organization. On the other hand, you’re completely on your own when it comes to security, both data and physical.

Public clouds have some obvious disadvantages compared to private ones. For example, access can be granted from anywhere. That may be an advantage in certain situations and may, in fact, be a requirement for how you envision your cloud for maintenance implementation rolling out.

All data you send and receive from a public cloud must travel over the public internet. However, they tend to have incredibly good firewalls and the actual physical facility tends to have excellent security as well.

The cost structure is usually much simpler than with private clouds, as you don’t need to make investments in either hardware or security. Those are rolled in with the price you’re paying for the service.

Take some time and research the laws governing data transfers in your jurisdiction. There may be regulations that prevent some types of data from being moved off-premise or to be stored outside of the jurisdiction where the operation is located. This tends to apply more to personal data, such as medical records or credit reports, than it does to that generated by your maintenance crew, but it’s best to make sure you’re in compliance with local laws.

Examine both private and public options very carefully before deciding. This is an area where there really is no one right answer. There are only answers that are either right or wrong for your organization and its needs.

5. Document Everything

This is the last item in the list, but it actually starts before the rest of the process gets rolling. Keep clear documentation for every discussion you have on the topic, both internal and external. You do not necessarily need to pass this information along, but it will be there if you need it.

Determine what types of documentation you will want to have on hand once the project begins. At minimum, include the overall vision for the project, including timelines and deliverables.

Include an outline of the items from this list, from goals to private vs. public cloud decisions. Each should support the overall vision. If it doesn’t, revise it until it does fit.

You’ll also need to document the entire implementation plan, including all tasks, responsibilities, and delivery dates. The more detail you can include, the smoother the implementation is likely to be. Finally, you must have a detailed and easy-to-understand report on how your new cloud for maintenance solution will look when it’s up and running.

Moving to the cloud is a big undertaking and preparation is essential. Make sure to set yourself up for success by following the list above, and make sure to communicate regularly with your VIZIYA implementation consultant. For more information on how VIZIYA can help your maintenance operation transition to the cloud, please visit viziyacloud.com.

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