Asset management market soars

EAM vendors report that an increasing number of companies are investing in asset management solutions in an attempt to cut costs and improve productivity.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  April 1, 2004

|~|Essam_m.jpg|~|Digicom’s Essam Albakr says an increasing number of Saudi Arabian organisations are signing up for EAM solutions.|~|Digicom Systems Company is anticipating a 25% increase in sales for its Datastream 7i enterprise asset management (EAM) solution this year as a growing number of Saudi organisations look to reduce equipment downtime and manage maintenance costs more effectively. In particular, key verticals such as healthcare, retail, construction and government are expected to adopt EAM solutions, which help users ensure assets are effectively purchased, maintained and optimised throughout their lifecycle. “The biggest obstacle confronting maintenance professionals is being forced to do more with fewer resources. In order to meet this challenge, Saudi companies are arming themselves with economical computerised maintenance management systems that result in superior returns on investment,” says Essam Albakr, vice president of Digicom Systems Company. “As a result of this demand, and the fact that our exceptional win deals in 2002 and 2003 indicate a very promising growth rate in terms of sales and revenue, we are, conservatively speaking, looking forward to a 25% growth rate in both areas,” he explains. According to Albakr, organisations that deploy asset management solutions can reduce equipment downtime by 20.1%, increase maintenance productivity by 28.3%, achieve a 19.4% cost saving for materials and lower their MRO inventory by 17.8%. “EAM solutions help Saudi businesses make every Riyal count. They create a framework for managing maintenance work processes that can contribute directly to improved productivity and reduced costs,” he adds. Such figures have already persuaded several Saudi Arabian organisations to sign up for Datastream 7i, including the National Guard Hospital and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). At the latter, more then 400 concurrent users make use of the the Datastream solution and it has already delivered results for the utility company. “With Datastream 7i we have experienced a rapid return on our investment… Our management team now understands the value of investing in IT systems to help grow the company,” says Engineer Abdullah Kkhuder, EAM project manager at SWCC. While Digicom is targeting a broad range of industries in the Kingdom, MRO Software has begun to target specific verticals to grow its market share in the Middle East. As of this month, the software vendor will be paying close attention to the pharmaceutical industry, a sector MRO says is facing increasing pressure to maximise profits for its patented products while operating large-scale production environments. “According to pharmaceutical industry studies, the average pre-tax cost of developing a new drug is more than US$500 million, which includes the cost of research failures as well as interest costs over the entire investment period,” says Oliver Schulz, sales & marketing manager of eSolutions, which trades as MRO Software Middle East. “In such a scenario, strategic asset management assumes great importance, because significant value can be extracted by deploying a single application that can manage all of a company’s critical assets across the entire lifecycle,” he explains. While both Digicom and MRO create convincing arguments for adopting EAM software, such applications require mature IT infrastructures and well settled enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions as they need information from multiple databases, applications and workflows to function at an optimal level. Unfortunately, not every organisation within the Middle East has reached this stage yet and many continue to struggle to find the ROI in their existing software stack. As a result, the ambitions of both EAM vendors could fall on barren ground. However, Albakr counters that many companies, and especially those in Saudi Arabia, have modified their thinking and while a conservative approach may have dominated in the past, today they are taking a more holistic view of IT projects and shifting towards solutions with a higher ROI. “The ultra-cost sensitive habits of the Middle East information technology market have all but disappeared in Saudi corporate IT departments and today businesses in the Kingdom are increasingly willing to invest in sophisticated IT solutions such as EAM. Early adopters are experiencing significant ROI and are paving the way for others to adopt advanced EAM solutions,” he says. ||**||

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