For Arnlea, the journey our customers are taking towards digital transformation could be described as steady as she goes. Some are taking their first step, others have moved to the second, and our challenge is to ensure that when they need the third step (and the fourth and the fifth), we have already prepared the way and have shown them what is next.
So what are these first, second and third steps? What do we mean by this journey our customers are on?
There has been a shift in asset management and inspection in recent years, but the traditional model was, for example, an inspection team with pen and paper doing regular weekly, monthly, or annual inspections on assets that fall under the ATEX regulations. Even in 2021, there are energy businesses on and offshore conducting asset inspections this way. Our first step is to see customers embark on a digital journey and decide to deploy our Intrinsix asset management software. We provide the latest handsets, and our most recent updates have a UX/UI that rivals consumer software, something rare even in this landscape.
Many of our customers are at Step One. They have not moved to cloud-based software, rather Intrinsix is deployed on their servers. It integrates and functions well with SAP and other operational systems, and delivers high value inspection software, and facilitates far better and more efficient reporting and decision-making. Sales pitch aside, Intrinsix is delivered to customers on a variety of different handsets. Many are now upgrading to our preferred and latest option but there are some who are still engaged with older handsets and other equipment.
As we’ve discussed elsewhere, we have a set of objectives for our business and customers that begin with a cloud-based approach to business – our platform for the future. This in truth is our Step Two. Our other two objectives, Mobile First and Product Agility meet our Step Two pathways for customers and also lay considerable groundwork for Step Three. Step Two is the decision taken by customers who wish to move to a cloud-based software platform. In other words they decide to use Intrinsix as a cloud-based web application, because of all the flexibility and operational efficiencies this approach delivers.
What then is Step Three? We already have global operators pushing at the door for the next level again and this is the logical destination for customers who choose to partner with Arnlea. This Third Step is really a question for our CTO and his team, but from where I sit, our third step is about helping our second step customers take even greater advantage of their data by combining it, anonymously, to paint a fuller picture of how different assets perform in different environments or with different criteria. This is something that the automotive and aerospace industries have been doing for years now and it’s something our industry would benefit from enormously, particularly as energy is, more than ever, under greater scrutiny and more pressure from all sides.
When I talk with senior industry figures about this digital journey, there is a real sense of the value and role of partnership relationships in this process, rather than just seeing businesses like Arnlea as mere suppliers. We wish to be more widely recognised as the SaaS providers that we are. We want to be able to behave in this manner with all our customers, and this is part of our second and third steps forward. We believe, like them, that it makes for far more productive relationships. Furthermore, it drives goodwill and a more open, productive collaboration, rather than the traditional approach to the supply chain that often still persists in our industry.
The global pandemic has also highlighted the benefits of an operational environment that is based in the cloud. The energy industry has effectively had its own pilot scheme in experiencing what it’s like to be chained to an office-based server, rather than the freedom, flexibility and financial benefits cloud-based software delivers. It’s rather a shame that we all had to endure something like this to see a physical demonstration of the benefits digital transformation brings, and it’s fair to say that many of the barriers to understanding those benefits are moving rather more quickly than they might otherwise have done.
We have customers embracing cloud-based SaaS provision, clearly understanding the value of controlling all their own data, directly connected with SAP or other systems. They have made the step-change forward and their mindset has also changed to consider that they do not have to have all their software physically on their own servers, nor do they need to conduct EX inspections by hand using pen and paper, or by transferring the data into a complex but limited spreadsheet.
Many of our customers are still at Step One and will be for some time. Others, like Equinor and Total are pushing for more. Our business is leading the way in developing third step platforms and when the energy industry is ready to share data, we will already be there, with the platforms, security, and operational excellence they already experience. As we stand on the cusp of greater post-pandemic freedoms, it is my hope that our industry takes a brave step forward and fully champions digital transformation to garner all the 360 degree benefits it brings. It is incumbent on Arnlea to make that transformation seamless as possible, with technology that is leading edge, with easy-to-understand integration combined with customer service excellence. In other words, working with Arnlea will unite the IT architecture. And that’s a challenge we’re embracing.