Making management easy

Du turns to eSolutions Maximo to improve its enterprise asset management processes

Tags: Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company IBM ( FZ LLC
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Making management easy Abdulhadi Alalyak, VP, Asset Management & Corporate Administration, Human Resources & Shared Services, du.. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 16, 2013

Rapid growth and build out of a nationwide telecommunications network, including both telecoms infrastructure and corporate and customer support structures presented du’s Asset Management organisation with a considerable challenge, especially as it did not have any single unified application to manage the vast range of assets. The company turned to eSolutions Maximo and IBM’s asset management application to improve its processes.

Building up a business with the size and scale of a national telecoms operator is no small task, but when the UAE’s second operator was launched in 2005, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, known as du, faced exactly that task. In the intervening period the operator has built out a country-wide network of fixed and mobile services, along with a range of business offerings.

To support these services, the company has undergone a widespread roll out of new facilities and infrastructure, including not just the requirements of a telecoms operator, such as mobile masts and base stations, landing stations and data centres, but also corporate offices, retail facilities and customer service locations. To give some idea of the scale of operations, having built out its presence across the Emirates, du now has over 3,000 separate real estate contracts related to facilities in the country.

Managing all of these resources, along with a huge number of related enterprise assets of the company, falls to du’s Asset Management & Corporate Administration organisation. But until September of last year, the company had no single unified solution for managing assets. Asset management was essentially handled on an ad-hoc basis, with no integrated analysis of the functions. The Facilities, Real Estate, Systems, Projects and HSE functions were all decentralised and each utilised its own systems, with little or no consistency in operating processes, standards, performance metrics or analysis.

Abdulhadi Alalyak, vice president, Asset Management & Corporate Administration, Human Resources & Shared Services, for du explained: “At the beginning of the company, when we were growing site by site in phases, there was no need to go ahead with a comprehensive Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) tool or system, due to the limited number of assets. However, as we were expanding very quickly, we saw a need for a holistic system.”

The company assessed solutions from a number of vendors, before deciding upon IBM’s Maximo Asset Management. The solution was acquired by IBM in 2006, with the purchase of MRO Software, and to date, there are over 32,000 end users worldwide.

Alalyak said that Maximo was selected following a technical and commercial assessment process, for a number of different reasons. The solution was in use with a number of du’s vendor partners, and more importantly, it would also allow business processes to remain in line with the ISO 9001 quality management standard, which had already been implemented by the operator.

“Before going to Maximo we had our processes and procedures in place, and most of them follow ISO 9001, so we knew what we wanted, and everything was documented internally. With the introduction of Maximo, we had to implement the policies in a smart way,” he said.

du partnered with eSolutions Maximo, an authorised IBM Premier Business Partner in the Gulf Region, to deliver the project. Business processes were mapped carefully, to ensure that the deployment would align with existing processes, and also enabled a degree of automation of procedures. The project was first initiated in May 2011, and completed in September 2012, with 100 users and 50 mobile users on the Maximo Mobile Suite.

The project included development of an interface with Building Management System and Oracle Procurement System. The operator uses Oracle ERP for procurement, Alalyak explained, so integration with Maximo would allow processes to be initiated in Maximo and automatically carried out in the Oracle solution.

“The system gives us a complete end-to-end enterprise and project asset lifecycle management, that includes the main offices, back offices, retail shops, technical and data centres, and warehouses,” he said.

In terms of the benefits of the solution, while Alalyak says it is too early to quantify performance, there have been a number of gains that are apparent. Within the Asset Management department, there is greater transparency and better collaboration between functions, while there is also increased tangibility of the efforts of each function. Standardised performance metrics across all functions have created greater uniformity in what is measured for performance, and there is also increased efficiency overall. Fifteen business processes have been fully automated.

The solution also helps to deliver on du’s corporate environmentally friendly aims, particularly for the mobile workforce. With around fifty users accessing the solution through Motorola mobile devices, work orders can now be created electronically on the devices, rather than through hard copy.

“As a company we are trying to be environmentally friendly, we pay attention to whatever will help the environment,” Alalyak said. “Part of being environmentally conscious is reducing the amount of paper that we use; we have tried to eliminate paperwork. For example, the work order, rather than having manual, and form-based, you can log into Maximo, or call the call centre, who will enter it into Maximo, and it will go to the concerned party on their handheld device.”

Going forward, Alalyak said that the solution will now be extended to other areas of operations: “We plan to expand it across the company, where it is applicable. Some areas have been completed, some areas are in the process, which will take a few months, by end of the year we should have it implemented in most of the departments within the company.”

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