During my annual trip to the ARC Forum, one meeting I always anticipate is with Alan Johnston, President and CEO of MIMOSA and Cliff Pedersen, CIO of North West Redwater Partnership. MIMOSA is an alliance of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) solution providers and end-user companies who are focused on developing consensus-driven open data standards to enable Open Standards-based O&M Interoperability. Johnston has been spearheading this initiative for years. Pedersen represents the interests of owner/operators in the group.

MIMOSA and the Open O&M Initiative were accomplishing much until the recession hit. Its demo showcase at the 2009 ISA Expo revealed the potential of the work. The group has recovered from the slowdown and is rapidly progressing toward building a critical mass of suppliers and owner/operators who have signed on for data interoperability.

Data Exchange

One key element involves the data exchange from the design/procure/construct process to the operations/maintenance process. Too often, information necessary for efficient and effective operations or maintenance is buried in design documentation or is even not in existence. Many times the supplier will give just enough information for the purchase of replacement equipment but not enough for effective and prompt service. For example, you may get a pump curve, but not the actionable data points you need when you go out to service or repair the pump.

Another problem lies in the “who owns the data” argument. Owner/operators believe that they own the data that they paid for, while suppliers try to retain ownership of the data forcing owner/operators to pay extra service fees for access to the data. This is another situation where the organizations are looking out for buyers.

Fiatech Weighs In

Meanwhile, Fiatech has just announced that it has released an Interoperability Vision Paper for the capital projects industry. The paper, which was recently circulated to Fiatech membership for review and input is available now for all industry sectors (including process plant, building, and infrastructure). The Vision Paper presents an overview of current activities for advancing interoperability, and puts forward building blocks with calls for action to accelerate advancement of interoperability to achieve step change value gains in the industry. “We welcome input and feedback from the industry on the Vision Paper and see the document as a dynamic guide for the industry which Fiatech will up-date periodically based on industry feedback, new advancements and industry progress in achieving value gains from Interoperability,” stated Ray Topping, Fiatech Director.

Advancing interoperability is a recognized global opportunity. Achieving interoperability will enable significant savings and opportunities for step change improvements in work process efficiencies. Advancing interoperability would enable the delivery of information exchanges across functional, organizational, and life cycle phase boundaries. Exchanging models and other data between different software platforms remains one of the industry’s biggest challenges. Topping said, “This paper highlights current progress in advancing interoperability and puts forward building blocks with calls for action to accelerate advancement of interoperability to drive huge value gains in the industry. It has been a hands-on effort by an exceptional group of cross industry, global technical experts in the capital projects industry. We appreciate their efforts and we’re pleased to issue their paper to the industry to provide focused recommendations for advancing interoperability.”

The paper presents four building blocks necessary for the industry to achieve the vision of interoperability: (1) the business case, (2) information delivery processes, (3) information management, and (4) cultural changes. It also details industry “calls to action,” specific undertakings that participants in the capital projects industry can take to help achieve the vision.

The paper provides insight into the challenges, the opportunities, and implementation methodology for advancing interoperability. For more information on this activity, contact Faith Junghans, Fiatech Project Manager at [email protected].

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