Inspectioneering Journal

Considering Buying Linked Inspection Database Management and RBI Programs?

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the March/April 2004 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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Data management is an important issue in today’s world. We have data all over the place. Every manager is looking for ways to migrate data from platform to platform to save on the cost of re-gathering data and ways to share output from various platforms to better schedule and coordinate activities.

There are various types and levels of software platforms that exist in the industrial world, e.g.:

  • Enterprise systems
  • CMMS (computerized maintenance mangement programs)
  • Inspection database management programs
  • Risk Based Inspection programs
  • Etc.

When enterprise systems first emerged they touted “BAPI” (business applications programming interface), i.e. that you could use your existing lower tier programs and that they would communicate with the enterprise accounting system. They made it sound like linking would be “easy”. The same thing happened with various CMMS and other maintenance work order scheduling programs and statistical analysis programs. The tough lessons that our industry learned in this adventure:

  1. Links are not all that “easy”
  2. Links can be quite complex and costly
  3. Links have to be maintained
  4. If they said it would cost X and take Y time multiply both by 3 to 5 times
  5. Don’t abandon effective platforms and compromise quality for the sake of the link. This will lead to lost profit opportunities and unnecessary costs.
  6. When a company feels like they made a mistake embarking on the journey, i.e. it appears they are not going to get the value out of the investment they though they would, they usually will not admit it and continue funding. In other words, they are too far in to back out now.

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