ERP integration: EAM plays leads role in enterprise vendor, user group agendas

Rod Masney, chairman of Americas’ SAP Users’ Group, says plant maintenance has been one of the best-kept secrets in the SAP portfolio. Other solutions vendors, among them IBM and several ERP providers—including Infor and Oracle—recently made acquisitions in the space to position themselves over best-of-breed providers.
By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor December 4, 2007

The enterprise asset management (EAM) market, according to a fall briefing from Frost & Sullivan , is on the verge of two things: significant growth, and substantial change. The San Antonio-based analyst firm projects the EAM market to grow 8.9 percent through 2013, which is why IBM and several ERP vendors—including Infor and Oracle —recently made acquisitions in the space to position themselves over best-of-breed providers.
“Major ERP players have obtained good functionality either by acquisition or organically,” says Aravindhan Ramakrishnan, senior research analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “From our perspective, management between ERP and EAM will be good for the whole market, offering better support and integration, and more rapid adoption of SOA [service-oriented architecture].”
In fact, enterprise system vendor SAP ’s user group now positions EAM in the top three areas of interest. “We’re seeking more out of our SAP installations, specifically regarding EAM,” says Rod Masney, global director of IT infrastructure services for Toledo, Ohio-based O-I Inc., and chairman of Americas’ SAP Users’ Group—or ASUG.
“Rather than best-of-breed, we want to invest in the enterprise backbones that run our businesses. EAM enables you to run assets at higher utilization, ensuring you have visibility to what’s going on in the facility, and achieving the‘perfect plant,’ ” continues Masney.
Plant maintenance has been one of the best-kept secrets in the SAP portfolio, Masney asserts. “It’s been available since 1996. Now with xMII [SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence], you can link to partner solutions, data historians, and virtually anything that’s OPC-enabled.”
Large automation vendors also are in the mix of top-tier players, adding value to EAM from the bottom up.
“We see devaluation of EAM as a stand-alone system in coming years,” Ramakrishnan explains—with the exception of brownfield sites. “Tier 3 players can compete in this market, as it is very price-sensitive,” he adds. “They also can compete in greenfield installations among small and medium-size businesses.”
Frost & Sullivan categorizes the market to include enterprise asset management; computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS); and plant asset management (PAM) systems.
Process industry giants, oil & gas, and power & utilities currently comprise better than half the market collectively (27 percent and 24 percent respectively), with power & utilities offering the most growth potential worldwide. Asia Pacific is the hottest market in new greenfield installations, capturing more than 60 percent of that market, and projected to grow the fastest at 13 percent through 2013.
Scalability, integration, and robust tools—especially around analytics, planning and strategy—are key issues as asset managers move toward becoming true knowledge workers, according to Ramakrishnan. “EAM will be part of the big solution,” he says, as companies seek to deal with asset management more comprehensively.
“Infor’s vision is to go to the next level, with asset management and EAM being effective tools for driving costs out of the business,” says Marty Osborn, a senior director of industry product marketing for the ERP vendor, which acquired EAM vendor Datastream last year.
IBM, moving to leverage higher software margins in its growth strategy, acquired Maximo earlier this year. “Maximo had an ongoing relationship with IBM [spanning] 10 years, with more than 125 joint implementations,” says Eric Luyer, IBM Maximo asset management industry market manager.