How to gain total asset visibility within your enterprise

The benefits of deep visibility are evident. Total asset visibility will:

• Reduce waste by ensuring employees find what they need when they need it.
• Assist future planning by providing knowledge of where assets are and how quickly they can get deployed.
• Maintain accurate inventories, improving planning and forecast accuracy.
• Boost customer satisfaction and make businesses more profitable.

In today’s environment with complicated supply chains, companies face the challenge of how to effectively identify and analyse data on their assets.

For example, an IT professional can spend hours responding to issues and troubleshooting security system problems on site at the point of need, or they can develop a system to track and analyse their assets and become less responsive and more predictive.

In this example, businesses could see lower costs by responding to software security threats, as well as a high return on investment as they undertake high-cost, last-minute interventions.

Businesses can take several steps to gain total visibility.

1. Understand predictive analytics

IT professionals know the panic that comes from an asset failing at an inconvenient time. When there is a breakdown, the costs of repairs and disruption to overall productivity and customer satisfaction can significantly harm any business’ bottom line and reputation.

When trying to gain total visibility of enterprise assets, companies must keep this in mind and move beyond responding to emergencies and toward predicting the future of their equipment and supplies.

Tools using machine learning can help managers, business owners and IT professionals analyse their business data, recognise patterns and predict future needs for assets within the supply chain.

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The data from computers, machinery, vehicles, sales data and other internal systems must be combined with relevant predictive metrics. Accurate asset visibility requires real-time information into not just the status of equipment, but also about external factors that affect it, such as weather, traffic, security threats and more.

Companies should ensure they have continuously updated information. For example, IT professionals will want to go beyond a knowledge of things like:

• Hardware data.
• RAM and CPU count.
• Installed software and applications.
• Geographic location.

Professionals will also want to understand existing and upcoming vulnerabilities, as well as IT policy compliance issues. Employing a predictive analysis with asset management plans will ensure total visibility and reduce losses of productivity.

2. Focus on intelligent analysis

In the world of big data, companies are increasingly using new, cutting-edge technology to track information about their assets. Sensors can go almost anywhere and measure almost anything. You can track inventory, quality, productivity and more.

There are apps and automated programs for every industry, and these make up the Internet of Things (IoT). But IoT data is only one tool. Without proper analysis, no amount of tech will result in better overall visibility of systems and assets.

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Companies also have access to a variety of other data sources from their websites, social media platforms and internal business systems. In industries with sales staff, companies can employ tools to visualise their assets better. Gathering information on hierarchical territories can optimise routing and provide faster service times.

Businesses must be able to move from collecting data to intelligently analysing it. Mixing sources, often in real time, helps realise the value of having highly visible data. In a scenario where equipment breaks down in one part of the supply chain, quickly recognising and analysing the assets on hand can prevent a loss of productivity.

Moving beyond a knowledge of the identity, location and status of equipment to a full analysis of the systems these assets live in will provide decision-makers with total visibility of their assets and the knowledge to deploy them effectively.

3. Create flexible, agile supply networks

Markets are more competitive than ever. Customers expect excellent service with no downtime. In a world where supply chain complexity continues to increase, this means companies must respond with more data and greater visibility.

Intelligent analysis and predictive analytics can be tools to create visibility of enterprise assets, but recognising the challenges inherent in modern supply chains points to the need for additional resources.

Consider the rise of cloud-based networks and how they alter the landscape of supply chains and sales processes. This change in how businesses network and share information among their suppliers, customers and internal departments offers new ways to gain additional visibility of assets. Collaboration is the new normal when it comes to recognising and understanding shifts in enterprise assets.

Until recently, supply chains could be a dead spot in asset visibility. When a product or shipment was in transit, companies could lose track of the location. Modern, advanced systems can use dynamic forecasting to track the route of assets by using data on congestion, loading times and process disruptions to create total asset visibility.

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Gathering this information from the supply chain can help create substantially greater agility and the flexibility to respond to needs.

The value of total visibility

With ever-growing sources of data, businesses no longer have difficulty identifying metrics or KPIs to track. A company, manager or IT professional could become lost in a sea of data created by the IoT, internal processes and supply chain metrics.

However, by moving towards more intelligent analysis, predictive analytics and flexible supply chains, companies can develop a system to gain total visibility of their assets.

By keeping up with the trends and ensuring a deep understanding of enterprise assets, companies will be able to respond faster, reduce loss and deliver higher profits.

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews, is a tech journalist and writer.