In Part 1, of this two-part article, we highlighted several new implementation patterns made possible by the 2.1 release of SSP Innovation’s leading work and asset management product for utilities and pipeline organizations, SSP Lifecycle (formally WFM and AssetLife). In Part 2, we will cover some of the new functional capabilities provided in this exciting new release.
As a refresher, last year we covered all the new capabilities of 2.0:
To review, the 2.0 updates were a direct response from user requests to enhance many of the core asset and work management capabilities that SSP Lifecycle provides for utilities and pipeline organizations. For instance, we heard that you needed efficient ways of compiling estimates and worked with you to design the Estimate Worksheet, providing support for managing multiple estimates, work locations, and macro units. You told us you needed better ways to track, manage, and control all the important activities that happen in parallel but not dependent on job status and we worked with you to build the Job Checklist. You needed to have a web application that could support any browser and had the responsiveness of a desktop application, so we overhauled the user interface with the latest in web technology and support for modern browsers.
It should come as no surprise the enhancements in Lifecycle 2.1 were also a direct response to our utility and pipeline user community. This article highlights several of the new 2.1 capabilities and how you played a role in adding them.
Many of you are using Lifecycle for building larger estimates and that means heavy use of the Estimate Worksheet. We’ve received good feedback about the new 2.0 capabilities of the Worksheet, which has resulted in some fantastic ideas for building estimates even faster and according to your standards. So, in 2.1, we spent even more time improving these capabilities:
- Grid for adding and editing multiple CUs at one time. Now, your users can select the number of Compatible Units (CUs) they want to add to the worksheet and use their keyboard with hotkeys to navigate through the grid making updates even faster. CUs are resolved in the system using type ahead controls ensuring what you’ve entered is valid. Further, the grid determines what work functions (e.g. install, remove, transfer) are configured for your CUs and allows you to enter the quantities needed for each in the same row. When the save button is clicked, all CUs are loaded into the estimate exactly as you would expect.
- Support for Points and Spans. We heard that many of you prefer building your estimates by associating compatible units to points (e.g. structures like poles or pads) and spans (e.g. wires). When using non-integrated graphic work design (GWD) tools, this can better align the estimate with the graphic design, showing exactly where components of the estimate are located in the work area. It also provides an additional means of reporting on what’s been estimated vs what was recorded as built. In the previous screenshot, you can see an estimate using Points and Spans.
- Focus your estimate with Work Location Filtering. Your estimates can be pretty large and can include dozens and dozens of Work Locations (e.g. poles). Sometimes you just want to focus on particular locations rather than scroll through the entire estimate. So, we’ve added the Work Location filter to help you quickly focus the estimate on the data you care about most.
- Distinctive coloring for Actions (Work Functions). To help you quickly identify Work Functions in the Estimate Worksheet, you can now configure the system to color work functions according to user preference.
- Entering As Built CUs in the Worksheet. We heard that you love the efficiency of making updates in the Estimate Worksheet and wanted that same efficiency and the same capabilities for updating as builts. Now, when your job reaches the valid status (e.g. In Construction) for entering as builts, the Worksheet enters “as built mode” giving you the ability to enter as built information. Users can see estimated quantities, add new CUs that were constructed but not in the original estimate, and confirm all CUs from the estimate or within a given Work Location.
In 2.0, we added the Job Requirements Checklist to give you more capabilities for managing all the important activities you need to track for a given job type. As a result, you’ve told us the Checklist has become a critical function of each job leading to new ideas for updating the Checklist. One piece of feedback was that you needed faster ways to complete valid job requirements, so in 2.1 we added the ability to select the ones you want to complete and complete them in one click. Once updated, the system then keeps track of all the metadata.
The Integration of Work and Assets
As you know, in the real world, critical utility and pipeline work is performed on assets within the service territory. Your work and asset systems should model the real world as a seamless system. Work performed within the service territory and tracked within your WAM should update the assets you’re managing and vice-versa.
In Lifecycle Work and Assets Part 1 and Part 2 , we introduced all the new capabilities for bringing the Work and Asset sides of Lifecycle together in a seamless system, and 2.1 was the official release of these capabilities. In summary, 2.1, we did a lot of work to integrate the Work side and the Assets side to provide a continuous, automated system. Including:
- Specified work functions in your ‘as builts’ directly update assets in Lifecycle, configurable to the way your business process works. So, now you can ensure your non-rotating assets are created or your rotating assets are updated when they’re specified as constructed in a Lifecycle Work job by entering their tag/code/id.
- We heard that you wanted to track and view all the work performed on an asset, so we added a panel that links to jobs in Lifecycle Work for each asset as the system automatically keeps track of those jobs over the life of the asset.
- You told us that you need to use the map or asset queries and searches to initiate work (e.g. inspections and maintenance, so we gave you the ability to initiate these jobs directly from an embedded map:
Asset Mapping from the Source
Your GIS is the primary System of Record for asset location and we strongly believe your Asset Management System should not have a separate map engine or location store that isn’t your GIS system of record. For 2.1, we added the Asset Map that’s fully integrated to your Esri GIS through ArcGIS Enterprise http://enterprise.arcgis.com/en/get-started/latest/windows/what-is-arcgis-enterprise-.htm. Among the many things the Asset Map provides, you can:
- Quickly search the map for assets.
- View asset data exactly as it exists in the GIS.
- Access the related Lifecycle Asset Main page directly from the asset feature in the map.
- Generate work for selected assets in the map.
Real-world Asset Models
The way that assets are interdependently constructed in the real-world has an impact on the way they are inspected and maintained. We heard that you need ways to define your own asset models regardless of the GIS data model. So, we added the Asset Hierarchy panel to the Asset Main Page.
Based on rules established within the system, you can create hierarchy models in a variety of ways, defining which assets are the parent/governing asset and which assets are the child(ren) of other assets. Further, that model may or may not have an impact on the way they are inspected, opening the pathway to varying inspection and maintenance cycles.
Start Tracking More Assets. Now.
As asset investment continues to increase and complete Asset Management becomes essential to daily operations, more and more assets need to be tracked. For instance, many organizations have invested heavily in AMI projects and continue to upgrade aging infrastructure. To make the most of these investments, you’ve told us you need to be able to quickly start tracking other important assets that aren’t being managed properly or even managed at all. So, for the assets that aren’t integrated to an automated system, we’ve added the Assets Config Module. Administrators can access the new module and define a new asset type and the fields they want to start tracking. With this functionality, you have the ability to track, inspect, and maintain every asset that’s important to your business!
We hope that you can clearly see these improvements are a direct response to your feedback. There are a lot of initiatives we’re working on for the next release. Be on the lookout for new implementation patterns with SPANS and MIMS, as well as new capabilities for creating and scheduling inspection and maintenance plans and Work Maps! The exciting advancement of SSP Lifecycle continues!