A Higher Form of Asset Intelligence.

User and Data Management Questions

Providing access to corporate systems by third party contractors can be very painful. Often, Corporate IT cannot provide access for just one week, or possibly there is a complex login process such as a VPN, Citrix, or FOB.

With the SAP Intelligent Asset Network (IAM) suite and AsInt Apps, there are several mechanism that help 3rd party contractors to enrich your equipment data with information like Thickness Inspections, Visual Inspections, technical drawings, or certifications. They are:

  1. SAP Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) – 3rd party contractors, or any OEM or service provider, can join the SAP Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) for free. This allows the Owner/User to add the service provider as a Business Partner to provide updates, such as recording an inspection, or uploading a document.

    In AsInt’s opinion, this is the most optimal approach.

  2. App store delivered Mobile Apps – Both SAP, and AsInt, have developed mobile Apps the service provider can download from the various app stores. There is obviously an authentication and work assignment step that needs to occur. The Apps are SAP Asset Manager and AsInt CORE Inspection.

  3. Role Based Access – The SAP Intelligent Asset Network (IAM) suite has a robust role based security mechanism. By creating a role for 3rd party access, such as service providers, the end user can easily be restricted to the only functions they require within a small duration of time.

As part of the SAP Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) Suite there is a mobile application named SAP Asset Manager. Additionally, AsInt provides CORE Inspection. Both of these applications can be downloaded from the various App stores.

  • SAP Asset Manager – Supports Work Orders, Assets, Locations, Spares, and Meters. Has spatial view and works on both Android and Apple.

  • AsInt CORE Inspection App – Supports the API 510/570 Inspection Checklists and Thickness Monitoring. Works on Apple, Android, and Windows OS.

Pulling data out of the solution, or bulk loading, is a very critical function in managing your assets. We’ll break it down into exporting and importing data.

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  1. Exporting Data – Several mechanism exist for exporting data. The easiest mechanism is to export the data to MS Excel directly from any application you are viewing. After each selection of the App, such as Equipment, Assessments, Locations, Spare Parts, etc…you can export the list by tapping the MS Excel button.

    Additionally, if you are using SAP Cloud Analytics, all of the data is exported from the various data stories setup.

  2. Importing and Exporting Data – For bulk import and export, SAP provides a cloud based Google Sheets document that lets you export and import data. Reading, and writing data back to the SAP Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) suite.

  3. AsInt Data Conduit – AsInt has developed, and licenses, the Data Conduit. This is a MS Excel based application that interfaces with the cloud based SAP master data for pulling and pushing data. A description cab be found at https://asint.net/conduit .

We can categorize the advantages in two categories.

  1. Administration of Users – Let’s say you have four different applications providing the functions you need to perform Mechanical Integrity. One for Asset Management, one for Inspections, one for Risk Based Inspections, and maybe a third Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) solution. Would you not want to add, remove, disable, or manage password rules in one location?

    Having to manage, or even remember, what users have access to what systems is very time consuming at best. At worst it opens you up to vulnerabilities as users float in and out of your organization.

  2. Continuity of User Experience and Training – A single user interface to manage users, or a single user interface to allow users to navigate the various functions the software provides, will provide a common experience for end users.

    It is more than likely your software vendors providing the different software packages to address Mechanical Integrity did not collaborate on the User Interface or User Experience.

    By providing a single login and common user interface to your users will not only cut down on training costs, but will provide your users with additional confidence on how to navigate the various Apps to achieve a strong Mechanical Integrity program.

There are a few organizations that will be trusted to secure organizations data and applications. These include Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, and SAP.

On-Premise solutions tend to be vulnerable due to the inconsistencies, lack of skill setting up and maintaining, patchwork of solutions, legacy applications, and failing to provide patches where required. However, once larger organization apply a consistent level of focus and expertise to a cloud based platform, they tend to be more secure than the inconsistency on-premise solutions.

Cloud solutions have been developed from the ground up with high levels of security and encryption capabilities, avoiding the On-Premise to Internet vulnerabilities that have plagued us in the past. The backbone to the security is OAuth 2.0 security, which ensures each consumer of the cloud service is equipped with a secret key.

Keep in mind there are no USB drives and File Servers that are typically accessible via the cloud environment, where many past intrusive of theft has occurred.

For more detailed information on how SAP Cloud Security works, click here for further readings.

The SAP IAM data model is essentially a replication of the data to the SAP Cloud. However, there have been some extensions of the Master Data to support the SAP IAM functions. An overview of the model can be seen below.

In AsInt’s opinion, the SAP Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) is the most valuable digital transformation tool on the market. Blockchain, mobility, etc…in some cases, take a some effort to develop or configure. The SAP AIN is ready, out-of-the-box, and very inexpensive to start providing value now.

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How does it work? As an Owner/User creates and management key equipment data (datasheet, documents, spares, firmware, maintenance plans, etc..), they can invite “Business Partners” to contribute the SAP Master Data. Of course, there is a layer of security that only allows the “Business Partner” to edit or add to certain data categories (e.g. can only edit spare parts).

For the “Business Partners”, getting access to the SAP AIN is free of costs. It’s a matter of signing up online to become either an OEM of the Equipment, or possibly a service provider (corrosion engineer, inspections, etc..).

See below image describing the process. For additional reading from SAP on this feature, navigate here.

Diagram showing how service providers, or OEMs, can be invited to edit key equipment data.

Diagram showing how service providers, or OEMs, can be invited to edit key equipment data.

The SAP IAM data model is essentially a replication of the data to the SAP Cloud. However, there have been some extensions of the Master Data to support the SAP IAM functions. An overview of the model can be seen below.

Sign up to the SAP Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) suite, specifically SAP Asset Strategy Performance Management (ASPM).

AsInt’s Mechanical Integrity Apps are on the SAP Asset Intelligence Network (IAN). This allows AsInt to “publish” our Apps, and supporting content, to your SAP IAM tenant! It’s really that easy. No more installs, no more updates, it is now a subscription model.