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Monday, September 20, 2010

Condition Based Maintenance

CBM as it is well known in the Enterprise Asset Management terms is a buzzword for sometime now.

This post aims at making CBM simple to understand.

Any "Asset" would need maintenance to give its optimal performance. Traditionally there are two strategies to manage the "Maintenance"

1. Wait till the equipment fails. As soon as it fails, fix the equipment/Asset. This is "reactive" maintenance. (Corrective Maintenance) The disadvantage is the unplanned downtime. You do not like the car to be broken down before the maintenance is done. is it not? But the advantage is we fix only what is required making it very "cost effective" mode of maintenance.

2. Maintain the Asset in a periodic schedule (Preventive Maintenance). Just like a car going for a service after every 5000 km run or after every 6 months. This will make the Asset perform without a breakdown, but the maintenance is expensive, we will change the oils etc., even when they can be used for further period. It amounts for more costs for maintenance.

So, there should be a more "smarter" approach for asset maintenance. Is it not? that is called a "predictive maintenance" or Condition Based Maintenance. Let us assume if we instrument the asset with more sensors they can exactly "measure" some key parameters, that can be used to compute the exact condition of the asset health and recognize certain "conditions" before they happen. Using this information, we can carryout the required "maintenance" of the asset. This approach will surely help reducing the maintenance costs and asset failures.

But, it adds additional instrumentation of sensors, data collection and processing the data to "intelligently" identify the conditions. When all this additional instrumentation, data collection and processing is considerably cheaper than the maintenance expenditure and it avoids a breakdown it is worth implementing it. Achieving this in a "smart" way is the key!

EAM with CBM will surely improve the operations of any "Asset Based" organization.

But when we look at the God's own creation, we see CBM everywhere... Macrocosmic System of the "World" and the microcosmic system of the "body" both implement the CBM to its nirvana. Both the systems sense the conditions, process them, present the conditions in a meaningful way and they also self HEAL the condition naturally which is the nirvana of "Asset Management"!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Technical White Paper on

This was the last piece of work I did at Oracle before I left the company in June 2010. The link to the published paper

It is always a pleasure to see the customer happy after implementing the solution and makes a comment like this

“We use RUEI on technical administration to get information, how the application “feels” on customer side and for management point of view to get the information of SLA agreements in fact of guaranteeing a dedicated response time to our customers. We verify the SLA with RUEI KPIs which are implemented in a management dashboard.”

I randomly came across this paper on and thought of sharing on my blog!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enterprise Solution Architect

My teenage son sometimes wonders about what I do in the office to make my living....

Let me try to define the phrase "Solution Architecture". To do so, I got to first define the words that constitute the phrase in the correct context.

Solution :

A SYSTEM continuously experiences environmental change! Change in the system environment is a natural process. Sometimes the change is gradual and other times the change is sudden.

In any case a system (an enterprise itself is a SYSTEM!) has to have a built in mechanism to tackle the change.

When a "change" can't be handled by the system within its scope of operation, this change is called as a "problem" that needs a "Solution"

This is the tricky part of the phrase "Solution Architecture"!

Architecture is a discipline, a set of principles, methods, guidelines that can be used to create a "model" of a "system" from multiple view points of different stakeholders of the system. Once the model is constructed, it can be used to get a holistic view of the system by different stakeholders. It greatly helps the understanding of the problem and channelize the thought towards the challenge that is caused by the "problem"

Overall, the solution architecture is a discipline of finding the opportunities to improve the system gently to tackle the challenges posed by the environmental changes as well as making the system more "responsive" to future challenges by creating a multi-dimensional model of the system!

Enterprise Architecture

In the modern day every business organization is seen as a SYSTEM. So, Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline is divided into four layers as

  1. Business, (what makes up the business - people, processes and tools; Its goal, structure and functioning)
  2. Data/Information,(what are the key data comes in and information needed for business functions both operational and strategic)
  3. Applications (How the data is captured, processed, stored and converted into the useful information and knowledge and presented to the right people at the right time!)
  4. Technology/Infrastructure Architectures. (What physical servers, network, storage components are required to run the applications within the budget meeting service levels)

With the "Cloud Computing Paradigm" is in, the business is seen as a loosely coupled services and each of the service can have three layered "clouding" in SaaS - Software as a Service, PaaS - Platform as a Service, and IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service. This cloud computing has changed the way we look at architecture in the Data/Information, Application and Technology/Infrastructure layers. An architect should consider the possible options of public (external supplier hosting the cloud), private (hosting a cloud within enterprise datacenter0 or hybrid (a combination of public and private) deployment models of the Cloud in these layers.

To make it simple, as an Enterprise Solution Architect, I draw different shapes and name them differently; I will connect those shapes to form a smooth looking flow between multiple layers of the enterprise and convince the key stakeholders that they have understood their current problem and different possible solutions to solve their problem. I will help them select the best solution option suitable for their budget and needs.....

It is FUN as I enjoy this!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Risk Management

Risk indicates a future event with a probability of occurrence that could cause an additional cost or a reduced revenue for a portfolio.

In a trade where the producer with stock in hand selling the product directly to a consumer who is buying the product for cash, there is no risk involved.

But, when a producer is selling the product to a consumer on a monthly installment basis, producer evaluates and manages a possible "credit risk".
Similarly when a consumer is paying cash in advance for product that will be delivered later, the consumer is evaluating and managing the "operational risks" of the producer.

When the transaction do not involve either producer or consumer and dealt by the "traders" then the risk is on its peak! When a trader purely buys a commodity or an instrument for the sake of selling it for profit in future and not for his own consumption; then it calls in for a methodical evaluation and management of "RISK".

In the modern day markets, there are multiple layers of traders and exchanges that are involved, making the "risk management" highly complex. There are spot, index based, options and future contract type trades that happen in the financial and commodity sectors, which made "risk management" a key tradition in the trading business!

We have several mathematical simulation models and supporting IT solutions in the Trading Risk Management models today. Several organizations are in the process of implementing and modernizing the "risk management" solutions to make their business make better sense.

But there is a "risk" in choosing and implementing the right "risk management" solution itself. How to manage that risk? Sounding tricky??

Warren Buffet's quote on this goes like this: "Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing." Taking this simple guiding principle, one can tackle the risk easily!

The impact of risk can be surely reduced by right KNOWLEDGE of what is being done! If you do not have the right knowledge, transfer the risk to someone who has the right knowledge!

Personally, I have successfully transferred all the risks to the most knowledgeable one thereby became completely risk free!