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Doing away with downtime: Research finds digitisation can mitigate risk of unplanned events

Dec 13, 2017
3 min read
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The costs, causes, and repercussions of unplanned downtime are triggering investment in digital tools and field service management, according to a new study commissioned by ServiceMax from GE Digital, a provider of field service management solutions. The research was conducted by leading technology consultancy firm Vanson Bourne, and targeted IT and field service leaders across the Middle East and Turkey.

The study found:
● Unplanned downtime happens a lot: 82 per cent of companies have experienced at least one unplanned outage over the past three years (the average being two). These outages lasted an average of four hours.
● Unplanned downtime is expensive: Based on Aberdeen’s calculations, downtime costs $260,000 an hour across all businesses – two episodes of downtime lasting four hours each equates to more than $2 million.
● Awareness is low: More than 65 per cent of companies lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade, or replacement.

The new study, “After The Fall: Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime,” surveyed 150 field service and IT decision makers in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE across the manufacturing, medical, oil and gas, energy and utilities, telecoms, distribution, logistics, and transport sectors, among others.

The study finds that production and productivity, IT, and customer service are hit hardest by unplanned downtime, with damaging repercussions for businesses as a whole.

The study further reveals the extent to which businesses are investing in digital tools and field service management solutions:
● More than 8 in 10 companies recognise that digital tools can eliminate unplanned downtime, and zero unplanned downtime is now the number one or high priority for 62 per cent of organizations surveyed.
● 51 per cent of organizations confirm that digital transformation is a high or number one board level priority, and 40 per centreport the same for innovation.

Forty-five percent of respondents say that a digital twin, which is a digital representation of a physical asset, and predictive maintenance analytics would help prevent major failures. Fifty-seven percent say they are planning to invest in a digital twin by 2020. Likewise, field service management is expected to become a primary revenue driver within the next two and a half years, on average.

“As digital solutions have become increasingly prevalent, we’ve seen a widening gap in asset efficiency awareness that’s historically gone largely unnoticed,” said Ali Saleh, SVP and chief commercial officer, GE Digital Middle East, Africa & Turkey.

“Lack of data is unnecessarily lengthening recovery time, but the research hints at a tipping point in recognition of the problem and planned investment to address it. In the same way field service management solutions moved from being reactive to proactive to preventative, we are seeing a similar shift in attitudes to unplanned downtime from recovery to protection to pre-emptive. Over time, zero unplanned downtime will become the norm as companies develop and invest in their industrial digital strategies.”

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