A true, cross-enterprise view of operations through OT is important when transforming today's transit challenges into competitive advantages. With a true vision of the current state, public transportation authorities can make strategic, efficient and cost-effective inroads to an improved future state.
Moving forward: OT steps for success
Success requires a fundamental shift in how transit authorities think about managing operations. They must move from what needs to be done, to a high-level view that accounts for organizational interdependencies and overarching business goals.
Operators must overlay their focus on tasks, actions, and who will do them — with analysis that drills down to understand and probe causes and effects. It is a new focus on relational data over transactional data — a shift from reactive to proactive decision making. OT helps transit organizations to:
- Analyze transactional data in real-time in its original context to achieve new visibility
- Make informed operational decisions among field and back office managers
- Drive predictive whole life management of all operations assets to maximize value
- Enhance personnel productivity and efficiency
- Break down information silos that exist across departments and business units
- Reduce technology integration cost of ownership
- Enable new insights into cross-fleet integration
- Support long-term planning and capital expansion
Many public transportation organizations have laid the groundwork for OT through their existing investment in SES, EAM and ERP systems. However, to improve customer satisfaction and on-time performance, transit authorities must implement an OT framework to realize the full value of their investment.
There are several elements that should be in place for public transit authorities to move toward OT:
1. Awareness of the interdependent data necessary for operations visibility
It is vital that organizations identify all the operations data that needs to be collected and/or integrated together to provide the right visibility leading to the right decisions.
2. The essential foundation for OT is the right data
Data collection in a proper technological framework can prove challenging. Often, operations and the data that goes with it are disconnected. Organizations need both an awareness of what data to assess and a means of consolidating this data. An operations data collection framework can capture, manage and analyze data.
Many transit authorities rely on multiple systems to store different types of operations data. What's needed is a single EAM operations platform leveraged to its fullest and integrated with an ERP platform.
3. Standardization of processes, procedures, management practices and controls
OT represents a very different way of working for public transit authorities. The data and the collection framework are only as good as the processes that establish and clarify how operators can most effectively act on data insights.
4. A cultural change at every level of the public transportation organization
Although it is easy to take for granted, the human element of the OT transformation is central to its lasting success. Historically, the industry has not had access to this kind of technology. Now that it is available, the challenge is to help workers break old habits when new systems are put in place so organizations can gain the most value from their technology investment. Furthermore, the organization-wide transition from a "seat of the pants," incident-based management style to a data-driven, predictive one will require a keen and comprehensive change management focus.
Many transit companies have one or many of the above mentioned technologies in place and are making efforts to progress in each of the four elements described above. However, the high performers will be those that embrace the concepts and technologies to transform themselves on the way to supporting a customer centric business based around smarter infrastructure.
Rajesh Ramamurthi, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an OT architect with Accenture and Scott Tvaroh, email@example.com, is a global EAM lead with Accenture.