Wouter Erlings, January 23, 2019

Leading with data: the unique position of the installation sector

The world's population is quickly approaching 10 billion people. Research from the United Nations indicates that in the year 2050, no less than 68% of the global population will live in urban areas. It is estimated that cities currently use some 75% of all raw materials, even though together they represent less than 2% of the Earth's surface. This puts enormous pressure on these densely populated areas and requires a sustainable approach to urbanization. What is the role of the installation sector in this picture?

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Data and Digital Twin

One of the ways urban development can be sustainable is by making optimal use of buildings and thus conserving raw materials. If we continue this approach, we quickly arrive at the creation of Smart Buildings in Smart Cities. Data is the key for all 'smart' solutions. By converting these data into a digital view of the actual installation – the Digital Twin – actions taken in the design, construction and management phases can be efficient and profitable. This is how a contribution can be made toward sustainable urbanization.

Opportunity for the installer

The installation branch is in a unique position when it comes to the development of Digital Twins. The data this branch has collected over the years offers it the opportunity to be a leader in this development. Installation companies possess an invaluable mountain of data that can be used to obtain more insight into – and control over – processes. By creating digital replicas of installations before the management phase, data can already be used in the calculation and during construction. After all, the person who has the most knowledge about the use of buildings, based on the data, holds the key.

To utilize this knowledge in the best possible way, it is important to conduct a simple review of the most current data. By optimizing IT processes, installers are able to work with a 'single source of truth' in an integrated data management system. These are crucial steps to take toward a future-proof organization. The networked world and its importance are explained below.

Benefits of central data management in the installation cycle

Central data management and a 'single source of truth' offer many benefits. With this single source, installers always work with the correct version of data and thus have more insight into the costs and revenues. This is especially important for 'thinking in life cycles', an essential part of a sustainable operation.

One example of this: when installing lighting in a building, there may be a tendency to use cheaper lighting instead of LED lighting in order to save costs in the short term. But in the long run, the cheaper initial option would entail extra costs because LED lasts much longer and needs to be replaced less often. A good overview of all costs and revenues, for both the purchase as well as the maintenance of the lighting, enables installers to select the lighting plan that offers the best price-quality ratio.

In addition, central data management and a Digital Twin offer more control over the margins, where profitability can be increased. Because installations are already built virtually, potential errors can be identified before they are made. This prevents failure costs in the execution and provides quicker insight into the potential margins of design, construction and management scenarios.

Unique position for data-driven installation companies

In this blog, we propose that an installation company using central data management is able to realize information management in all phases of the Design, Build, Maintain, Operate (DBMO) model.

Data-driven installation companies are able to make profitable calculations in the Design phase. Moreover, virtual design enhances the efficient collaboration among all parties. During the Build phase, installers can assume a more prominent role and – by reducing failure costs, for example – become less dependent on contractors. In the Maintain or Operate phases, data strengthens the position of the installer through better maintenance scheduling and through the use of installations, among other factors. Lastly, work is done in a more sustainable manner when experience data of completed projects is used. These data make future projects smarter, faster, circular, and more profitable.

The market demands innovative and sustainable ways of living, working and enjoying. An integral IT platform and central data management put the installation branch in a unique position to assume the leading role here. 

Would you like to know more about an integral IT platform and central data management to put your installation branch in a unique position of the installation sector? Feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities.  

Are you curious about how SAP can provide you an environment in which you can manage assets-related information and processes throughout the complete asset lifecycle? Download the whitepaper "SAP Intelligent Asset Management"

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