Lifecycle Work and Assets: So Happy Together

December 22, 2017 — Chris Sanders

You knew it was coming, right? The writing was on the wall. All the signs were there. There was always a magnetic attraction. Well, it finally happened. Lifecycle Work (formally WFM) and Lifecycle Assets (formally AssetLife) are now one. A single, utility work and asset management system.

That’s not to say they’re always ‘joined at the hip.’ No, this is a truly healthy relationship. If one partner spends time away with friends, the other is nothing but happy for ‘em (read: you can still acquire separately). But when they’re together, you can clearly see how they complete one another.

(Insert Tom Cruise “You complete me” gif here.)

I’ll bet you want to see how. Ok, I’ll show you.

The most obvious place to start is the beginning (of the page, that is).

As you can see, the logo now has two interactive links to each system. Provided you have access, you can click a link to the other system to open its Dashboard.

But that’s just surface stuff, so in what ways are these two truly connected? To describe this, it will take two full articles. In this first article, Part 1, I’ll describe how the lifecycle of work initiated the lifecycle of an asset within the SSP product ecosystem. Part 2, will discuss how an asset is monitored and maintained through the initiation of inspections in Lifecycle Assets that are managed by Lifecycle Work. In other words, how the lifecycle of an asset initiates a new work lifecycle.

Part 1: The Life of an Asset

The previous diagram has been a key driver for our product direction at SSP Innovations. Providing a means of managing the lifecycle of work and assets for utilities and pipeline organizations through a fully integrated ecosystem of products.

In our marriage analogy, assets become the children of these newly married systems: Lifecycle Work and Lifecycle Assets. The most essential part of asset life begins at installation when they begin providing service to utility customers. Likewise, an important part of life ends or is affected when removed from service. In the SSP ecosystem, the way to manage an installation or removal is through Lifecycle Work.

As you may already know, material for a Lifecycle Work job is specified when a utility engineer or operations personnel compiles an estimate. The estimate used to design the job is then updated as the job is completed and the construction as-builts are recorded and material from the original estimate is confirmed or new, previously unspecified material is entered. Lifecycle Work provides the capability to enter Asset Codes as part of the as-built process to update managed assets tracked in Lifecycle Assets.

Using comprehensive configuration options, you can choose how those assets are updated from jobs managed by Lifecycle Work by associating assets to CUs/materials and work actions (e.g. installation or removal) for estimates or as builts.  For example, rotating assets stored in Lifecycle Assets already existing in ‘Stock’ can be updated as ‘issued’ or indicated as ‘in service.’ Non-rotating assets can be created automatically placed into an ‘in service’ status. To show this, I created a simple single-phase lateral in Lifecycle Work to provide service to a new development within our service territory.

The Engineering AsBuilts panel in Lifecycle Work shows the Compatible Units / Materials recorded As Built for this job at each Work Location. There is a pole at the point Work Locations: 1 and 2. There is a Transformer at Work Location 2 and a primary wire connecting the two poles at the span Work Location: 1-2. The configuration for this job type enables the Asset Association task allowing operations personnel to associate materials constructed for the job with assets managed in Lifecycle Assets.

When the Asset Association task is run in Lifecycle Work, it uses configuration to see which CUs in your As Built can be associated to managed Assets in Lifecycle Work. Since we’re managing Poles and Transformers in Lifecycle Assets, those assets are displayed as requiring asset codes (note linear assets can also be managed in Lifecycle Assets). The poles are defined as non-rotating assets, so a new Asset Code is entered for each pole and they are then created in Lifecycle Assets. Transformers are rotating assets, so the Transformer is taken out of stock and then Issued for the job. Displayed here is one of the poles created by Lifecycle Work, now in an ‘Issued’ status after Asset Association is run for our job:

Note in the previous screenshot, the Compatible Unit (aka Construction Standard) used to create the pole is associated to the Asset and accessible from the Asset’s main page in Lifecycle Assets.

The Asset Association task uses a configuration by Asset Type and Work Function to determine how to update an associated asset. Depending on your business process, you might want Lifecycle Work to update your assets to an “In Service” status; however, you can configure the task to update assets stored in the GIS to a status indicating the asset is pending GIS as builts. SSP Tasks works within your Esri GIS environment to keep assets in Lifecycle Assets updated as GIS edits are made, so your GIS backlog can catch up with assets managed by Lifecycle Assets.

Keeping Track Of Things

A rich and accurate history of each asset is critical to effectively managing assets, complying with regulations, and preventing interruptions and ‘other’ events. In Lifecycle Assets, the Asset Lifecycle panel is continually updated either directly through Assets or from connected systems.

Additionally, some of the more critical historical records are related to the work performed on the asset. When work is recorded for the asset, it’s associated with it and directly viewable from the asset. The ‘Related Work’ panel on the Asset Main page displays this and provides a link back to the job in Lifecycle Work. The following screenshot shows the transformer from our example job and how it’s accessible from the asset main page.

 

Synchronize Assets with Your GIS Business Processes

After assets are updated and associated to a Lifecycle Work job, those already familiar with Lifecycle Assets know that when as-built GIS edits are completed for mapped assets, ‘SSP Tasks’ updates those assets to reflect the resulting change (e.g. In Service and Mapped).  SSP has developed our very own update framework to trigger updates from additions, updates, and deletes occurring to features within ArcMap without the need for class extensions that add complexity to your data. Likewise, this update can be made from edits made to feature services using ArcGIS Pro and SSP Productivity. Simply register your feature class and its relevant fields with the update framework! Task validation services will validate the edit in your favorite Esri editing client to ensure the Asset Code entered for the feature and type of edit is valid within Lifecycle and the type of edit is reported directly after the edit event.

Pictured here shows how SSP Tasks validates the asset in GIS as edits occur in ArcMap:

In the previous screenshot, a new pole for our lateral was sketched in ArcMap. The user entered the AssetCode of the new pole (previously entered in Lifecycle), but accidentally entered an invalid Asset Code. The SSP updater ran after the edit was made and validated the edit against assets in the Lifecycle Assets and indicated the entered AssetCode was invalid.

The GIS editor can then correct the Asset Code and it’s validated again with the edit. SSP Tasks can continue to synchronize updates from the GIS to Lifecycle Assets as updates are performed in either system. For example, you can configure the GIS to be the data entry point for updates to your mapped assets, essentially configuring the system to lock the asset within Lifecycle Assets and accept edits from the GIS. The following shows the updated pole asset in Lifecycle Assets from our example after it’s been updated from the creation of the feature in GIS and the entry of the correct Asset Code:

My Assets Are Where?!?

When mapped asset types are active (Active GIS status in our example) and providing service they become available in the Lifecycle Assets – Asset Map. Yes, I said map! It wouldn’t be an SSP Product without an Esri Map, would it?

Lifecycle Assets has a new map! You can publish your data as a multi-layer Esri Feature Service and it can be configured into the system to be displayed in the Asset Map.

The Asset Map allows you to find mapped assets quickly using a type-ahead control that searches your assets by asset code and type.

SSP Lifecycle Work and Lifecycle Assets

Once the search is complete, you can click on the asset in the map to view GIS attributes and gain access to additional feature/asset controls.

The previous screenshot shows GIS attributes from the new pole originating from our job in Lifecycle Work. From the attributes popup window, users can zoom to the asset, open the asset’s main page in Lifecycle Assets, open the asset’s location in Google Streetview, or create an inspection for the asset in Lifecycle Work (more to come about this in Part 2).

There is also a feature selection widget which allows you to select (using a point or a polygon) features from the map to view their attributes.

Additionally, you can filter the map to view only the asset you’re concerned with managing.

So, now we’ve reviewed how work in Lifecycle Work initiates updates to assets in Lifecycle Assets. That work is associated to the asset and becomes an interactive part of the history of that asset within Lifecycle Assets. We saw how those updates are automated into your existing business processes updating the GIS for construction as builts using SSP Tasks. Once assets are in GIS they are enabled for the new mapping capabilities directly in Lifecycle Assets.

In part 2, we’ll overview how the life of an asset is managed in Lifecycle Assets. We’ll review how assets are modeled, how inspections are initiated, and how inspections are then managed in Lifecycle Work. Stay tuned!

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Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders comes to SSP Innovations from having worked in the pipeline and utility GIS industry for over 11 years and specializes in enterprise system and software design. During this time, Mr. Sanders has lead the technical design and implementation of over 30 mobile implementations at utility organizations and has Read more

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