Application Rationalization and Corporate Alignment

Application Rationalization

The age of digitization allowed technology to be leveraged in a seemingly infinite number of ways to improve every day activities; from smartphones to smart cars, to smart homes, the possibilities are truly endless. The same applies to chemical processing and safety, as organizations strive to transform their chemical plants into smart facilities of the future.

However, as companies rush to leverage technology to improve their Environmental, Health, and Safety initiatives, they frequently encounter ballooning IT budgets and an ever-growing patch work of applications. This is often due to lack of key stakeholder alignment around a single digitization strategy which manifests itself as a network of disparate applications and digital systems. Outside of maintenance and implementation costs, segmented digital systems pose other risks like inefficiency and a fragmented operating picture.

A fragmented network of applications and digital systems poses a unique danger for chemical safety efforts and chemical incident response.

Application Rationalization and Chemical Safety

In many mid to large companies, the issues associated with digital infrastructure and disparate applications costs have brought about a renewed commitment to Application Rationalization. Application Rationalization also known as Application Portfolio Management is a systematic approach “to aligning enterprise applications to maximize business value while minimizing lifecycle ownership costs.”1 Application rationalization reduces direct costs as well as improves efficiency by standardizing processes, systems and data.

After a recent digital overhaul, Dow Chemical estimates a saving of $1 million to $2 million per plant per year as a result of information from their disparate data systems being aggregated into a single global analytics platform.2

Application rationalization in chemical manufacturing is a little more complex as the needs of Environmental, Health, and Safety professionals are often non-negotiable. An optimal solution for chemical safety purposes would be a digital platform capable of monitoring, modeling, and mitigating chemical incidents while improving cross-functional collaboration to accomplish shared corporate goals. A singular platform implemented for chemical safety that is capable of providing an accurate common operating picture in and around a chemical process facility. Therefore, improving workforce, community, and environmental safety.

Cross-Functional Challenges to Digitization

Application Portfolio Management

A recent Siemens survey of over 40 manufacturers in the US chemical sector showed that many chemical manufacturers recognize the potential of digital technologies to transform their businesses.3 But many of the same manufacturers lag behind other sectors in adopting innovative digital solutions that drive demonstrable value.

The same report identified poor stakeholder alignment around a digitization strategy as one of the major reason in the lack of confidence and progress of digital implementation in the chemical sector.

Aligning cross-functional stakeholder’s goals with the corporate strategy is not without its challenges, as those teams often silo themselves by functional roles. A recent case study by Harvard Business Review, found that roughly 75 percent of cross functional teams are dysfunctional.4 With dysfunction being defined as failing at least three of five criteria:

  1. meeting a planned budget
  2. staying on schedule
  3. adhering to specifications
  4. meeting customer expectations
  5. maintaining alignment with the company’s corporate goals.

The fact that cross-functional teams are prone to failure makes it particularly difficult in utilizing them effectively in chemical safety or application portfolio management efforts. Aligning cross-functional needs and goals is therefore the key to maintaining a lean application portfolio to reduce inefficiency, costs, and maintenance requirements.

Misaligned by Design

Without thorough planning and preparation stages, companywide initiatives are almost certain to fail, with logistical issues often being a key culprit. A common pain point for cross-functional teams is accessing required data from cross-functional departments. This happens for a number of reasons; ownership of processes and information is fragmented or the cost of adding additional user licenses is prohibitive. Often, “functional roles are designed around parochial requirements, and the resulting internal complexity hinders sorely needed cross-business collaboration.”5 The end result is an expansive list of atomized processes with a fragmented IT architecture, which further limits sharing of pertinent data.

Although everyone agrees that comprehensive chemical safety is important, cross-functional chemical safety initiatives are often still evaluated by separate goals of individual teams and departments. When time comes for application rationalization, each functional job role will insist on an application that is more suited to their direct needs.

An industrial hygienist will focus on the monitoring capabilities of an application, while often paying little attention to the modeling capabilities. The environmental engineer on the other hand, requires a robust suite of models to complete their reports and scenario assessments. At the same time HazMat personnel mainly care about chemical incident response; how quickly can they establish an incident command center and mitigate the effects of the chemical incident.

SMARTER. SAFER. SCALABILITY.

To help companies align cross-functional teams and simplify application rationalization, while reducing the prevalence of disparate digitization strategies, SAFERM® Systems developed SAFER One™. A breakthrough cloud-based integrated platform that enables chemical organizations to monitor, model, and mitigate chemical incidents all from a single intuitive interface.

SAFER One integrates with facility gas and meteorological sensors in real-time providing organizations enhanced workforce and community protection. Included In SAFER One are patented modeling algorithms that improve emergency planning, training, environmental compliance reporting, and real-time dispersion modeling during a chemical incident. The additional integrations of Google® Maps, Traffic, Points-of-Interest and Internet weather allow safety teams to maintain an accurate operating picture in and around the facility.

SAFER One’s real-time monitoring and modeling capabilities enable organizations to mitigate chemical incidents with confidence and control.

Additional features like multiple levels of user’s permission, support for corporate hierarchy, and single sign-on capabilities with active directory integration make SAFER One an enterprise friendly solution for the chemical sector. With 35+ years of experience and partnerships, SAFER Systems provides chemical companies a single point of contact for all their monitoring, modeling, hardware, and training needs.

To find out how SAFER Systems can help your organization align chemical safety initiatives while lowering application implementation and maintenance costs call us at 805.383.9711 or email us at sales@safersystem.com

References:

  1. CIO Magazine
  2. Plant Services: Better analytics produces big savings for Dow Chemical
  3. Siemens: The Digital Catalyst
  4. HBR: 75% of Cross-Functional Teams Are Dysfunctional
  5. McKinsey & Company: Making collaboration across functions a reality

 

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