Vendor selection should be the last step of a Digital Transformation initiative, not the starting point. We've identified common mistakes companies...
On Tuesday, August 21, LNS Research hosted the webcast, “Solution Selection: Choosing the Right Asset Performance Management 4.0 Partner.” The presentation examined the current APM 4.0 solution landscape and how companies can use the Solution Selection Guide to make a shortlist of potential vendors to support the company’s Digital Transformation initiative.
Q1: Do you recommend using a single vendor that has “most” of the functionality needed or mix and match vendors based on capabilities?
A1: That choice really depends on the nature of the manufacturing company’s business and the portfolio of existing APM solutions your company has. The key point is that APM 4.0 encompasses a broad spectrum of functionality and it is unlikely that any single vendor can deliver every capability needed. The trade-off a company has to consider is whether a broad footprint vendor has the majority of what it needs from a functional perspective, or if the “integration penalty” it will incur with a point solution to meet functional needs outweighs the deficiencies of the larger footprint vendor. Keep in mind that a vision consistent with APM 4.0 is important plus things like user experience, scalability, and ease of connection to shop floor devices. The reality is that a solid Operational Architecture plan can help you get this right.
Q2: What were the criteria to include vendors in the Solution Selection Guide?
A2: First and foremost, a vendor must have a functional footprint that can serve as a platform for an APM 4.0 strategy. That means reasonable IIoT capabilities, a 3P rating of at least “3” in each of potential, presence, and potential, with at least a score of “4” or “5” in one of those areas. The guide does not include point solution providers. For example, predictive analytics vendors would be considered for inclusion in an analytics guide, even though their analytics are capable of supporting predictive maintenance. Likewise, suppliers in the asset integrity management (AIM) or asset investment planning (AIP) spaces are too specialized to cover in the APM 4.0 Solution Selection Guide, even though the capabilities they provide can be critical in some industries.
Q3: Does LNS have insight about other vendors in the APM space?
A3: LNS regularly meets with end users and vendors of many solutions so we have insights about what capabilities those vendors can provide, and how end users leverage those vendors. This knowledge comes from:
- Third-party events like SMRP meetings
- Generalized reliability conferences
- User group meetings for specialized vendors and for vendors that are in the SSG who feature their partners (often these specialized companies) at those events
While we don’t have insight about every boutique vendor in a space like APM, we do include those that brief us in context of the discussions we have with clients looking solutions, or with our vendor clients looking for partners.
Q4: Can you be more specific about vendor capabilities for each aspect of APM 4.0?
A4: We use a 20-page questionnaire that each vendor completes to describe its APM 4.0 related capabilities. It has more than two dozen questions related to functionality, ten questions related to deployment options, five major interface categories, seven geographical regions, almost 30 different industries served, and questions to express how the vendor serves organizations that are large, medium-sized or small. We ask vendors to clarify whether capabilities are existing, in the next release, on the roadmap, or are available from partners. We can share the questions, although not specific vendor responses with our program members, upon request.
Q5: Does the Solution Selection Guide explore vendors’ capabilities with native functionality versus those that may need or can perform customizations?
A5: LNS carefully assesses whether functionality is offered as a standard feature, accessible through configuration settings, or requires customization. We also delve into what level of expertise is needed to perform those functions. Part of our vendor evaluation covers whether there is a third-party community of service providers to support the product, including configuration or customization, and how that may vary geographically. We consider all of those factors as we assign the 3P rating.
To better understand the scope of APM 4.0, how to identify and select the right solution to help you start your APM 4.0 evolution, and which vendors can deliver key aspects of APM 4.0, download the LNS Research APM 4.0 Solutions Selection Guide.