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Integral Analytics' Architect First Principle of Asset Monitoring and Diagnostics Development through Implementation

Integral Analytics’ Architect First Philosophy of Asset Management

Architect First simply means, “Plan before you implement,” or to begin with end in mind. Engaging early and thinking about the long-term implications of your Asset Monitoring & Diagnostic (M&D) program’s programmatic and technical architectural decisions can lower ongoing program execution costs and the total cost of ownership. Planning program architecture is as important as planning technology architecture, but program architecture is often overlooked … until it is needed.

The following concepts should be communicated and understood by all program stakeholders and executives alike during the planning stage:

  • Model and their quality are foundational to the program’s success

  • Alerts are early warning indicators and are key to value proposition

  • Continual improvement of models and alerts is critical to program health

Legacy M&D programs (early- to mid-2000s) were built with Advanced Pattern Recognition (APR) at their foundation. Predictive modeling technology was, and still is, attention-grabbing to those who are new to it, creating a mindset of fascination with models and their predictions. However, creating a prediction alone through modeling is often of limited use unless the purpose of the model and prediction are well-understood. Models, predictions, and associated alerts must be viewed as supportive of the end goal, which is actionable intelligence. When viewed this way, models and their associated alerts must be continually maintained to support actionable intelligence delivered by the overall program.

Many view modeling as a one-time cost; but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Model maintenance is a continuous process, particularly fine-tuning alert settings as identified in ANSI/ISA-18.2 (Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries). With good processes for model maintenance, nuisance M&D alerts can be minimized and failure mode detection can be maximized.


Figure 1: Five phases of the Architect First approach.

Although variations on terminology and timelines exist, the Architect First approach consists of five basic phases: Define, Discover, Measure, Fund, and Launch.

Define Phase

The define phase involves brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders and program managers to adequately define program mission, goals, and requirements. This phase should focus on three categories of requirements, which are people, process, and technology.

  • People - Data analysts, managers, stakeholders, information technology, etc.

  • Process - The method by which the Alarm Management Lifecycle is executed.

  • Technology - The hardware and software utilized in the M&D program.


Discover Phase

The discover phase validates assumptions made during the definition phase. A good method of validation is benchmarking. Benchmarking should be diverse, preferable including perspectives outside of your industry. This phase can also identify innovative ideas for consideration.

Measure Phase

The measure phase is dedicated to establishing meaningful metrics that relate back to program goals. Specifically, how success is defined and measured, and what remedial actions are to take place when specific indicators are reached. Metrics should include organizational measures closely aligned with the value proposition stated to obtain funding.

Fund Phase

The phase is when resources are authorized and the program manager begins executing the plan. The time spent crafting a documented use of funds will save time and effort during the execution phase.

Launch Phase

The launch phase is completed in three dependent steps: Demonstration Site(s), Priority Sites, and Scale Up. The demonstration site should be chosen for strategic (e.g., high-value asset) and tactical (e.g., collaborative culture) reasons. Priority sites that follow benefit from lessons learned from the demonstration site and help explore difference in scale up efforts needed. Scale up occurs when the program has a firm foundation with processes and procedures in place.

Integral Analytics specializes in all phases of Asset Monitoring & Diagnostics, from definition through launch, in addition to continuous improvement of existing systems. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with developing or improving your program.


Concord, North Carolina 28223


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