Asset Lifecycle Management

CFOs in 2030: Rise of the Super Hero (Article)

Want to know what it will take to be a successful CFO in 2030? This Fulcrum Technologies article, published in the fall 2019 CCA Voice, gives a glimpse into the future:

As the industry finishes the overall conversion to digital transformation, telecommunications CFOs are facing an unprecedented deluge of data with regard to critical assets and infrastructure having a direct impact on their CAPEX and OPEX margins. This hyperconvergence of digital chaos is drawn from a number of siloed sources beyond accounting and finance; it also comes from network operations, supply chain management, the executive team, and IT. The problem with this volume of data is it’s either incomplete or non-actionable.

CFOs today have a number of major concerns that could be addressed with appropriate insight. They want to reduce the time to revenue (asset deployment cycle); track, recover, and repurpose stranded assets; optimize their levels of spare equipment; reduce fraud and theft throughout the supply chain while reducing their taxation from knowing which assets are "ghosted." Above all, they want to make sure they’re compliant with accurate, cost effective physical and electronic audits, which ultimately require their signature.

This lack of visibility, insight, and control of their assets and infrastructure is keeping CFOs at stagnant, or below average CAPEX and OPEX optimizations—deadly in today’s competitive marketplace. Wasted investments directly impact future spending on the latest and greatest infrastructure—the very core of their service offerings.

The Superhero CFO in 2030

In 2030, the CFOs who were unable to harness the digital transformation through holistic Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) will have completely washed out and been replaced by CFOs who implemented best practices across the board to turn asset information into a valuable competitive advantage. Here are some of the future best practices they will have deployed:

Mobility and electronic polling (e-polling) for 100% data collection

CFOs have empowered their organizations with end-to-end mobility collection, through both BYOD and corporate hardware. These highly configurable mobile data collection platforms empower, encourage, and enforce tracking of highly valuable assets from the warehouse to the field, all done with customization that perfectly matches the organizational needs. In addition to mobility, the future CFO has harnessed e-polling to automate some of the manual processes that make up mobility asset tracking. This is done using OSS, NMS, and EMS data through integration with network systems to find status information about status such as in-use or idle, serial numbers, manufacturer’s item number, and the exact location. This e-polling, when combined with mobility solutions, ensures an accurate Master Data Management (MDM) process for accurately creating an item master with item codes and all asset attributes.

Querying the data

Through prebuilt database views, users can perform, save, and share data searches without any knowledge of SQL. Users select criteria, apply filters, and set sort order with a scheduling as well.

Leveraging the data for inventory and requisitions

Any authorized user can create, manage, and fulfill equipment requests by utilizing a sophisticated sourcing engine with configurable rules the organization defines.

Having a central point for insight and control of the data

The CFOs in 2030 live and breathe in a centralized "command center" where the data is represented visually through reporting and dashboards. This gives them omniscient control over the vast array of corporate resources, which has a positive ripple effect on network operations, supply chain management, the executive team, IT, and all connected groups.

Using the above best practices to harness the hyperconvergence of data, these CFOs then are able to consistently reduce the time to revenue. They are able to track, recover, and repurpose all stranded assets. They optimize their levels of spare equipment while reducing fraud and theft throughout. Their taxation is down, they are compliant, and they have near-perfect physical and electronic audits. In short, they become a CAPEX and OPEX superhero in control of a pragmatic, utopian solution.

The good news for CFOs in 2020? They’re able to kick off all of these best practices using today’s technology and solutions, so they’re still standing in 2030 and beyond.

Fulcrum Technologies has engaged with more than 50 CSPs over two decades to help those carriers establish an ALM practice, develop an overall strategy, and achieve competitive advantages in CAPEX and OPEX.

-Brent Bauer, Fulcrum Technologies

Whitepaper Recommendation: “4 Key Stages of Asset Management Life Cycle”

PECB published a great article on Asset Lifecycle Management here at https://pecb.com/article/4-key-stages-of-asset-management-life-cycle-, covering the very topics Fulcrum Technologies lives and breathes daily for some of the largest CSPs on earth.

As PECB notes: “The process of optimizing the delivery of a value and making the appropriate decision is asset management. Asset Management comprises of opportunities, balancing of costs and threats against the desired level of performance of assets, which is essential for the greatest return on investment and to attain the main objectives of the organization. One of the main objectives is minimizing the overall life cost of assets which can be affected by other indicators such as business continuity or risk during the decision-making process.”

For more than two decades, Fulcrum has focused solely on solving these challenges with more experience in this particular area of discipline than any other vendor. Fulcrum specializes in capturing accurate data about network equipment when and where changes take place, validating and managing that data, communicating it with other systems and then helping users view it in the manner and at the level of detail that is consistent with the way they work within their organization. To learn more visit us at: https://www.fulcrum.net/.

Download the PECB WhitePaper: 4 Key Stages of Asset Management Life Cycle   PECB is a certification body for persons, management systems, and products on a wide range of international standards.

Download the PECB WhitePaper: 4 Key Stages of Asset Management Life Cycle

PECB is a certification body for persons, management systems, and products on a wide range of international standards.

You have a dashboard to control your car, why don’t you have one for your assets?

Spreadsheets, print-outs, static charts and rough visualizations can only give you a limited view of your network assets. To truly have visibility, insight, and control of your assets throughout the entire supply chain, you need an enterprise platform to bring your business objectives and critical infrastructure together in one place.

A business intelligence dashboard, like the dashboard of a car, indicates the status at a specific point in time. The Advanced Reporting Module (ARM) for CATS is a data visualization tool that displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your enterprise. Our dashboard consolidates the data, metrics and performance visualizations on a single screen. It can be tailored for a specific role, department, or need to display targeted metrics. You get the essential features of a BI dashboard product with a customizable interface and the ability to pull real-time data from multiple sources.  Your asset world at your fingertips.  All of it.  Visit www.Fulcrum.net today to schedule a demo.

Photo courtesy of Paul Haury

Photo courtesy of Paul Haury

 

 

Fulcrum CEO Brent Bauer Speaking at ISE Expo 2017 in Orlando - September 12, 2017

Brent Bauer, a frequent speaker on Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM), will be speaking at the ISE Expo in Orlando, Florida, on September 12th, at the Orange County Convention Center. He will be presenting "Asset Lifecycle & Supply Chain Best Practices in Telecom, Data Centers, and NFV/SDN Environments."  

Are you an information and communications technology (ICT) network professional looking to stay current with the latest network technologies and infrastructure solutions in a rapidly changing industry? Mark your calendar for ISE EXPO 2017, September 12-14 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.

Ghost assets: How to Find and Remove Every Single Ghost Asset:

“A ‘ghost asset’ is a component that is lost, stolen, or unusable… but is still listed as active in the fixed asset database. You want to maximize spares and avoid paying taxes on ghost assets you don’t possess, so the vanquishing of ‘ghosts’ is critical for your CAPEX optimization.

In the movie Ghostbusters, they vanquished the ghosts through the use of multi-pronged triangulation. That same approach can be done for finding ghost assets, where you hunt them with multiple different solutions.  The most common and pervasive is the use of mobile solutions to scan valuable physical assets, inventory, and infrastructure throughout their lifecycle.  On top of that, you can hunt them with OSS, BSS, and ERP systems, as well as e-polling technology.  

When you have refreshed all connected system databases, you can then audit and reconcile the main asset database of record using CATS from Fulcrum Technologies.  This will accurately update asset status for any assets that have vanished and do not appear in the audits.  The reconciliation process can even match lost to found items - like if someone along the supply chain changed the label or if an asset comes back from repair with a different label.  In that case, it wouldn’t necessarily be a ghost asset, as CATS would discern the match.  

The best practice for keeping ghosts at bay?  Scanning with the CATS mobile solution at every possible transaction point; receiving, warehousing, transfer, placed into service, sent to repair, and decommissioning / retirement / disposal.  Then, reconciling the data in CATS to ensure the accuracy of every connected system, as well as the asset database of record.

If you want to call the (asset) Ghostbusters, just email info@Fulcrum.net.  

Asset Lifecycle Management Benefits:

CATS is a comprehensive suite of ALM software that will automate and improve any efforts currently underway to manage information associated with network assets for the benefit of any group within your organization.  Here are some of the many benefits:

  • Eliminate the purchase of duplicate equipment.
  • Reduce the inventory level of spare equipment.
  • Assure that invoiced equipment has really been received and it matches the Purchase Order.
  • Follow equipment through the return & repair process.
  • Deter theft and fraud with increased audit trail accountability.
  • Achieve property tax and reporting compliance.
  • Vastly improve accuracy of ERP, OSS & BSS systems.
  • Reduce repair and replacement expense through warranty tracking at part and asset level.
  • Improve the efficiency of data center technicians by helping them find spares quickly and giving visibility into network information.

To get the benefits of Asset Lifecycle Management in your enterprise, company, or organization, visit www.Fulcrum.Net today.

Datacenter Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

Every data center strives to optimize their CAPEX and OPEX to stay competitive and be successful in the long run.  To do so requires a disciplined approach to infrastructure management.  Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) lets you use best practices from Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) to track and manage your data center assets, giving you an accurate, real-time view of your asset’s “useful life” using data for financial data management, analysis, dashboards, and reporting.  Fulcrum's CATS software provides powerful, flexible, intelligent mobile scanning solutions to support DCIM. 

In addition, the data collected and reconciled by CATS lets you see what assets you have, when they were installed, the depreciation schedule, and what current book value is.   Having this snapshot enables financial data management and analysis of every physical asset in your data center.  In short, CATS is the link between physical assets and financial systems, providing asset data and financial analysis throughout the entire lifecycle to reduce CAPEX. 

Some Fulcrum CATS DCIM Solutions:

Track hardware or software assets:  In addition to tracking any hardware asset, CATS lets you track software licenses, redeploy software, manage the term - and even get notifications when terms are about to expire.

Customer and/or project focus:  CATS gives you the option to track equipment by customer, project, or both.

Track it down to the blade position:  CATS allows you to track assets down to the rack and blade/spot location.

Identify idle equipment:  CATS can identify idle equipment, allowing for it to be redeployed where you need it.

End-of-life and maintenance management:  CATS lets you track equipment end-of-life and maintenance contract expiration, which includes getting proactive alerts when it is time to act.

Track rack space reservations:  CATS allows you to keep track of rack space reservations per customer opportunity, with the option to automatically set an expiration after some period of time.  

Track equipment power and heat requirements:  CATS allows you to track equipment power and heat requirements, and can provide warnings when installations are about to exceed rack power capacity or cooling capacity for the aisle or room.  

Track passive infrastructure:  CATS allows you to track passive infrastructure like battery banks, diesel generators and cooling systems.  

Track any and all relevant asset data:  CATS allows you to integrate sensor data to report on actual power utilization, temperature, battery capacity, generator fuel levels and run hours.  

Get data center visualization:  CATS lets you provide visualization of data center and rack-level equipment, allowing for visual searches and drill downs to all asset details.  

Integrate RFID sensors:  CATS gives you the ability to integrate RFID sensors to simplify data collection. RFID for rack verification and recording of equipment leaving and/or entering a room can play a big part in ensuring data accuracy for data center assets.

Use a powerful mobile front end:  CATS lets you use a best-in-class mobile front end to allow easy recording of installation activity.  

For over 18 years, Fulcrum has been the leader for Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM), integrating tightly with all major back-end ERP systems such as Oracle and SAP. CATS provides Data Center admins with a holistic view of a data center’s performance so that equipment, energy and floor space are used as efficiently as possible, while collecting data across a variety of mobile platforms, including iOS and Android.

The CATS ALM solution includes software, services, labels, and mobile hardware to make sure your solution is seamlessly integrated from end to end.  If you would like to implement DCIM at your data centers, please email INFO@FULCRUM.NET today.

Fulcrum Presenting Asset Lifecycle Management Best Practices at ITExpo 2017

Fulcrum Technologies Presenting Asset Lifecycle Management Best Practices for CSPs at ITExpo ‘17

“Mobility and Software Solutions for Asset Lifecycle Management and Capex Optimization.”

This is a high-level strategy presentation and discussion on best practices for using mobile phones to automate any asset and infrastructure supply chain using Asset Lifecycle Management technology, as proven by numerous Telecom and Communication Service Provider companies. Hear best practices for efficient ways for CSPs to get Asset Visibility, Insight, and Control of all their assets, and use ALM to purify and enhance data coming from OSS, BSS, and ERP systems.

For registration and more details, please visit their site HERE

Integrating Asset Lifecycle Management with Oracle

Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud offer accounting, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), revenue recognition, risk management, governance, compliance, procurement, project planning, tax reporting, the financial close, and much more.

ERP software is the backbone of many organizations. Oracle's modern, connected back-office applications deliver the functionality, analytics, security, mobile capabilities, and social collaboration tools you need to run your business.

When combined with Fulcrum CATS Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM), the overall solution gives any enterprise perfect visibility, insight, and control of their asset universe.

While CATS can function as a stand-along asset management system, some of the greatest value that it brings is the ability to integrate with those Oracle systems that can benefit from the data that CATS Mobility collects and stores.

The CATS system is designed around field users collecting information about assets as they are physically encountered and acted upon. As such, CATS integration with existing systems provides accurate and up to date physical inventory status using the CATS interfaces services. Oracle’s financial, planning, ordering, purchasing, warehouse, spares management, etc. have specific sets of needs that we can tailor our interface records to meet. 

For example, there are several areas in the asset lifecycle that are considered financially triggering events, including initial PO receipt, installation and project go-live, repair and warranty execution, inter-business transfers, excess availability and re-use, retirement and disposition.

A thorough analysis with each customer determines what is considered a financially triggering event based on their business needs and their ERP system’s needs.  Once established those rules are applied to CATS data entry validation and Interface configurations.

CATS integration with Oracle includes a multi-step approach:

1.    Configure CATS to include Oracle systems business logic and validations rules at the point of data entry.

2.    Evaluate each transaction as it occurs to determine Oracle system notification needs.

3.    Capture an event record of the transaction and any transient data needed for Oracle systems for later processing.

4.    Establish processing rules applying any additional integration rules required by each Oracle system (i.e. rolling up of transactions, pending of transactions, processing order of transactions, automatic reprocessing of erred integration records, etc.)

5.    Schedule CATS integration services and configure the services to create interface files in required formats and delivery methods.

6.    Establish error handling and management methods.

Fulcrum’s implementation teams have a wide array of previous CATS integrations to draw on and reference providing support and guidance for our clients when determining business requirements for each integration. 

Some examples:

> Transfer integrations might exclude transactions for inventory that is inactive, at a repair location, in a disposed or retired status, “non-trackable” part type, in a pending status in external system, have not been assigned a financial asset id in external system, etc.

> Transfer integrations might include transactions on inventory that is moving from one location to another, have a change of business unit or owner, have a change of asset label, serial number or part number, etc.

> Transfer data entry validations might include preventing transfers to inactive locations, to unapproved projects, across business units, to invalid locations and business unit combinations, etc.

> Transfer integration records may be “rolled up” to bypass consecutive intermediate transfer transactions to generate a single transaction showing movement from the Oracle system assets current location to CATS current location, reducing external system processing time.

CATS can communicate in a multitude of ways to meet a wide range of needs and requirements.

With any integration between two systems, there are often numerous considerations to consider, including:

1.    Whether CATS is deployed as a Hosted or On-Premise installation.

2.    Needs for synchronous or asynchronous transmission.

3.    Batch, real-time or On-demand frequencies.

4.    Data exchange methods – HTTP or FTP/SFTP, Direct database access, JMS messaging, Web Services, etc.

The answers to any of these considerations could affect the simplicity or complexity of the implementation of the integration.

For those looking to deploy quickly, a file transfer methodology provides the most lightweight and simple integration option. CATS provides a number of options to provide data files that can be available for external systems. The following lists some options in increasing complexity.

1.    Data Forms that provide data lookups and can be used to manually export data into .csv file format. These forms are provided in the CATS Web UI and can be made available to different user groups through configuration.

2.    Query Builder results, which can be modified by users through the CATS Web UI. Query Builder results are in .csv file format, and are based upon accessing existing CATS database views. Query Builder results can be scheduled to be run and emailed to users at a desired frequency.

3.    Services can be configured that extract data into several types of file formats (.csv, .txt, .xml) and placed into a directory or JMS messaging queue accessible by users or external systems.

4.    Services can be scheduled to run on a desired frequency, and can also include additional validation and error handling options.

5.    Services can be configured to monitor directories and message queues for the existence of data files or messages in different file formats (.csv, .txt, .xml, .jms) that CATS can select and load into the CATS database. Error handling and validation options can be instituted.

6.    CATS REST API is available for external systems to post transactional data to the CATS system.

One of the primary considerations when implementing the CATS application is how to populate the system with inventory and asset data. There are a various options available, depending upon the client’s needs and maturity level with asset management in general. This can range from performing an initial inventory in conjunction with the CATS system implementation, all the way to a comprehensive data conversion with one or more enterprise systems.

An initial inventory may be an option for Oracle shops which are implementing an asset tracking or asset management system for the first time. In this scenario, there is often no legacy data for assets and inventory, or if data is available, it is highly suspect for data integrity. Either a client’s internal team or a contracted team would travel between locations where trackable equipment resides, and perform the initial identification of asset and non-serialized inventory into the CATS application. This option may present a higher cost either materially in contractor hours, or in changing focus of internal teams that are not typically tasked with this type of work. However, this option does present a time-boxed option for getting the asset and inventory data quickly into CATS.

Another option for those clients with little to no, or suspect, legacy data is to perform the initial load of the asset and non-serialized inventory data into CATS in conjunction with performing the business processes that involve handling the trackable equipment. This is typically done by focusing on distribution centers first, where equipment moves through prior to being shipped to field locations, and at locations where excess equipment is consolidated from the field. This is often augmented with an Audit schedule of field locations, to allow for capture of those locations’ trackable equipment over a reasonable time period.

Over time the CATS system is populated with data as the system is exercised. Initial costs should be lower than dedicating an inventory team to perform the initial identification, as described in the first option. However, this option isn’t time-boxed, so there may be more ambiguity as to when the majority of trackable equipment has been identified, and the ability to realize full benefits from the asset and inventory data may take longer to manifest.

For a client that has legacy asset and inventory data available, and there is a level of confidence in that data, a data conversion plan is an attractive option. Within this approach, there are several different methods available to load the data into the CATS application. Options can include having users load Excel data files directly into CATS via web forms, setting up one time jobs within CATS that systematically ingest data, to implementing incremental loads of initial and delta data extracts through a dedicated interface.

Costs associated with performing data conversions will range commensurately with the level of systematic process needed. High degrees of system based integration will cost more to setup and run than simple import processes used. However, a direct data conversion will preclude the need for hiring dedicated inventory teams and can provide a sooner benefit return of implementing CATS.

Fulcrum’s implementation teams are well versed in the different options available to load the CATS system with asset and inventory data and work with our Oracle enterprise clients to identify the best options for them. Often this is a combination of different options available. As an example, a data conversion and then an audit of field level locations within an initial time frame to true up discrepancies that would inevitably occur with snapshot data. The goal of the Fulcrum implementation team is to get the CATS system providing benefits for the client, with the least amount of disruption to the user base, as soon as possible. 

Enable your team to lead digital transformation of their core business processes and asset lifecycle management with the powerful combination of Fulcrum and Oracle.

 

 

At Fulcrum Technologies, We Make Asset Superheroes.

To survive and thrive in a changing environment, successful companies create Asset Superheroes to track their most valuable assets as well as deploy next generation technologies in an efficient and timely manner. As a result, these successful companies operate at peak performance while reaping maximum benefit from their capital investments.

CFO/Accounting and Finance Managers, Supply-Chain Executives, and Network Operations/Engineering Executives and Managers can all become Superheroes with powerful, intelligent, flexible Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM), saving their company millions of dollars in CAPEX.  These Superheroes use CATS ALM, a solution trusted around the world.

But with great power comes great responsibility.  We ask that you not abuse your new-found abilities with your coworkers. 

Some CATS users are unable to handle their newfound Superhero ALM skills.  

Some CATS users are unable to handle their newfound Superhero ALM skills.  

Using Asset Lifecycle Management to Improve Your Supply Chain

A successful ALM implementation starts by identifying key areas and key performance indicators for improvement and creating a strategic long-term vision.  According to the Gartner Group, a company that effectively and efficiently implements an automated Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) program can anticipate a saving of 15-20 per cent of the Total Cost of Ownership.

That is because ALM is the complete end-to-end management of equipment through each of the lifecycle stages, from acquisition to receipt, return, warehousing, order fulfillment, transportation, installation, maintenance, sparing, repairs, decommissioning, redeployment, and finally retirement.

To read the rest of the article, please click HERE.

Fulcrum Technologies CATS ALM Solution Featured on RCR Wireless:

Fulcrum ALM was featured in an article in the RCR Wireless Opinion Page "Should telecoms be OK with losing $90B per year on waste?":

Should telecoms be OK with losing $90B per year on waste?   Over 50% of a telecom’s annual capital expenditure is invested in acquiring expensive network assets that are the foundation of their services for the customers. This capex number globally is $350 billion, which is a painful hit to the bottom line. What’s even more staggering is how much of that capex is wasted.  According to a 2015 TeleManagement Forum survey, asset managers reported an average asset accuracy rate of only 74%. This means $90 billion dollars per year is wasted due to purchasing duplicate equipment, inefficient reuse of excess inventory and spare equipment, theft, fraud, hoarding, inaccurate warranty tracking and more.  In any other industry, this would not be tolerated. In the telecom asset and infrastructure world, however, it has become commonplace to assume a systemwide failure to accurately track these critical assets. Validating this, the same telecom executives who only had visibility, insight and control of 74% of their assets, said an 84% level of accuracy would be “acceptable.” Making it more painful is that the asset losses are avoidable with an asset lifecycle management software and services solution in place.  The problem started in 1984, when the Bell system was broken up into 29 different operators. These operators were suddenly faced with P&L responsibilities they previously didn’t have to worry about. They all recognized the need to track and manage their expensive network assets, but all 29 tackled it in 29 different ways. They made various types of notes and lists on every visible asset. Those notes and lists gave way to ledgers, and ledgers gave way to spreadsheets. Some of these spreadsheets then rolled up into a variety of operating support systems, business support systems, ERP and network polling solutions, which produced an asset database of record considered “good enough” to track the full ALM.  Many telecoms today still attempt ALM through paper trails, spreadsheets, ERP, OSS or BSS. The problem is these solutions have one common weakness – a significant delta between what happens with assets in the real world and what is reflected in the asset-tracking database. To have accurate visibility, insight and control of your assets from end to end, you have to have ALM in the center of multiple systems. This improves the accuracy of the data by means of data reconciliation as well as data collection. A great ALM solution can reconcile and verify any and all asset data regardless of the source(s), to provide every connected system with the most accurate data possible, at either a high or low level. This ensures the integrity of CSP asset information, reduces the need for physical audits and serves as the database of record for all assets.  Because infrastructure costs are so significant, stakeholders (and shareholders) are starting to demand an accuracy rate closer to 100%. Network operations, engineering executives, CFOs, accounting, finance managers and supply chain executives are all starting to test better ALM for a number of reasons:  –It reduces or eliminates the purchase of duplicate equipment.  –It allows for the efficient reuse of excess inventory and spare equipment.  –It gives visibility into invoiced equipment to provide an understanding of what has really been received and if it matches the purchase orders.  –It gives visibility into the status of equipment going through the return and repair process.  –It reduces theft, fraud and hoarding.  –It gives communication service providers an accurate picture of what is actually in use (as well as where the inventory and assets reside) to allow for accurate tax payments.  –It supports internal controls to allow for compliance, which greatly reduces organizational and regulatory risks.  –It removes excessive repair and replacement expense through accurate warranty tracking.  –It also allows field technicians to locate spares quickly, with visibility into network information, revision numbers and updates.  The ability to use ALM to reduce and optimize capex becomes a telecom’s biggest strategic advantage in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. ALM is the complete end-to-end management of network equipment through each of the many lifecycle stages – from acquire to retire. These stages include, among others, receipt of shipment; warehousing and spares management; picking and shipping; “minimum/maximum” settings; transfers; assembly; installation; deployment; maintenance; upgrades; repairs; returns; audits; cycle counts; and decommissioning.  A complete solution takes ALM a step further, adding a mobile solution to provide accurate, real-time information that allows you to keep track of where every asset is – across the field, warehouse, datacenter or back office. It can be configured to let any worker scan 1D, 2D or micro PDF barcodes with the least number of attempts required, capturing data as it flows organically throughout its lifecycle. The right solution should work on any major scanner or smartphone scanning platform in any environment. Of course, this mobile solution should also require enterprise-grade security, ensuring the data you collect remains uncompromised. This includes a secure logon, user limited permissions, and encrypted password protection to safely connect to any integrated system through a secure transport layer behind your own firewall.  ALM mobile solutions allow any field technician to collect the information needed when and where changes occur. These updates are captured in real time and communicated to the systems that rely on different types of asset information.  Implementing initial planning, multiple-step processes could be configured for different types of users, ensuring intelligent, directed decision support and visibility into all inventory at every step, whether the field tech is offline or online. Intelligent decision support tools would allow you to see and control everything you need to accomplish your job, no matter who you are, what mobile platform you are using or where you are located.  A full ALM solution includes software, services, asset tags and mobile hardware to make sure your solution brings you the highest possible asset assurance. From a best-practice perspective, a productive ALM suite tailors and customizes its routines to match your specific business processes.  The many departments within a telecom that work with network assets do so in a variety of ways. This requires initial business analysis and consulting around the needs of all departments, and involves the implementation of holistic process improvements to maximize operational efficiencies.  As part of the set-up process, there is a data clean up and preload of legacy asset data into the ALM database, which may require an audit of all network and warehouse sites. When that’s completed, the full software solution can be deployed, which includes integration between the ALM application and other key enterprise applications. To ensure successful adoption, a proper and thorough training of ALM system users also happens up front.  The fact is, telecom equipment and other assets move around frequently during their lifecycle – whether it’s due to regular maintenance, the upheaval of mergers and acquisition activity, or the technology cascade that occurs when new equipment is deployed and old equipment is reassigned to new locations or retired. Successful CSP organizations use ALM to get visibility, gain insight and take control of their assets, with the ultimate goal of driving the accuracy score up towards 100%.  For information on Fulcrum ALM, visit  FULCRUM TECHNOLOGIES  today.    To read this article at RCR, as well as other fantastic articles from RCR, please visit the incredibly resourceful  RCR site, starting with this article's original post .    

Should telecoms be OK with losing $90B per year on waste?

Over 50% of a telecom’s annual capital expenditure is invested in acquiring expensive network assets that are the foundation of their services for the customers. This capex number globally is $350 billion, which is a painful hit to the bottom line. What’s even more staggering is how much of that capex is wasted.

According to a 2015 TeleManagement Forum survey, asset managers reported an average asset accuracy rate of only 74%. This means $90 billion dollars per year is wasted due to purchasing duplicate equipment, inefficient reuse of excess inventory and spare equipment, theft, fraud, hoarding, inaccurate warranty tracking and more.

In any other industry, this would not be tolerated. In the telecom asset and infrastructure world, however, it has become commonplace to assume a systemwide failure to accurately track these critical assets. Validating this, the same telecom executives who only had visibility, insight and control of 74% of their assets, said an 84% level of accuracy would be “acceptable.” Making it more painful is that the asset losses are avoidable with an asset lifecycle management software and services solution in place.

The problem started in 1984, when the Bell system was broken up into 29 different operators. These operators were suddenly faced with P&L responsibilities they previously didn’t have to worry about. They all recognized the need to track and manage their expensive network assets, but all 29 tackled it in 29 different ways. They made various types of notes and lists on every visible asset. Those notes and lists gave way to ledgers, and ledgers gave way to spreadsheets. Some of these spreadsheets then rolled up into a variety of operating support systems, business support systems, ERP and network polling solutions, which produced an asset database of record considered “good enough” to track the full ALM.

Many telecoms today still attempt ALM through paper trails, spreadsheets, ERP, OSS or BSS. The problem is these solutions have one common weakness – a significant delta between what happens with assets in the real world and what is reflected in the asset-tracking database. To have accurate visibility, insight and control of your assets from end to end, you have to have ALM in the center of multiple systems. This improves the accuracy of the data by means of data reconciliation as well as data collection. A great ALM solution can reconcile and verify any and all asset data regardless of the source(s), to provide every connected system with the most accurate data possible, at either a high or low level. This ensures the integrity of CSP asset information, reduces the need for physical audits and serves as the database of record for all assets.

Because infrastructure costs are so significant, stakeholders (and shareholders) are starting to demand an accuracy rate closer to 100%. Network operations, engineering executives, CFOs, accounting, finance managers and supply chain executives are all starting to test better ALM for a number of reasons:

–It reduces or eliminates the purchase of duplicate equipment.

–It allows for the efficient reuse of excess inventory and spare equipment.

–It gives visibility into invoiced equipment to provide an understanding of what has really been received and if it matches the purchase orders.

–It gives visibility into the status of equipment going through the return and repair process.

–It reduces theft, fraud and hoarding.

–It gives communication service providers an accurate picture of what is actually in use (as well as where the inventory and assets reside) to allow for accurate tax payments.

–It supports internal controls to allow for compliance, which greatly reduces organizational and regulatory risks.

–It removes excessive repair and replacement expense through accurate warranty tracking.

–It also allows field technicians to locate spares quickly, with visibility into network information, revision numbers and updates.

The ability to use ALM to reduce and optimize capex becomes a telecom’s biggest strategic advantage in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. ALM is the complete end-to-end management of network equipment through each of the many lifecycle stages – from acquire to retire. These stages include, among others, receipt of shipment; warehousing and spares management; picking and shipping; “minimum/maximum” settings; transfers; assembly; installation; deployment; maintenance; upgrades; repairs; returns; audits; cycle counts; and decommissioning.

A complete solution takes ALM a step further, adding a mobile solution to provide accurate, real-time information that allows you to keep track of where every asset is – across the field, warehouse, datacenter or back office. It can be configured to let any worker scan 1D, 2D or micro PDF barcodes with the least number of attempts required, capturing data as it flows organically throughout its lifecycle. The right solution should work on any major scanner or smartphone scanning platform in any environment. Of course, this mobile solution should also require enterprise-grade security, ensuring the data you collect remains uncompromised. This includes a secure logon, user limited permissions, and encrypted password protection to safely connect to any integrated system through a secure transport layer behind your own firewall.

ALM mobile solutions allow any field technician to collect the information needed when and where changes occur. These updates are captured in real time and communicated to the systems that rely on different types of asset information.

Implementing initial planning, multiple-step processes could be configured for different types of users, ensuring intelligent, directed decision support and visibility into all inventory at every step, whether the field tech is offline or online. Intelligent decision support tools would allow you to see and control everything you need to accomplish your job, no matter who you are, what mobile platform you are using or where you are located.

A full ALM solution includes software, services, asset tags and mobile hardware to make sure your solution brings you the highest possible asset assurance. From a best-practice perspective, a productive ALM suite tailors and customizes its routines to match your specific business processes.

The many departments within a telecom that work with network assets do so in a variety of ways. This requires initial business analysis and consulting around the needs of all departments, and involves the implementation of holistic process improvements to maximize operational efficiencies.

As part of the set-up process, there is a data clean up and preload of legacy asset data into the ALM database, which may require an audit of all network and warehouse sites. When that’s completed, the full software solution can be deployed, which includes integration between the ALM application and other key enterprise applications. To ensure successful adoption, a proper and thorough training of ALM system users also happens up front.

The fact is, telecom equipment and other assets move around frequently during their lifecycle – whether it’s due to regular maintenance, the upheaval of mergers and acquisition activity, or the technology cascade that occurs when new equipment is deployed and old equipment is reassigned to new locations or retired. Successful CSP organizations use ALM to get visibility, gain insight and take control of their assets, with the ultimate goal of driving the accuracy score up towards 100%.

For information on Fulcrum ALM, visit FULCRUM TECHNOLOGIES today.  

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Fulcrum Technologies Launches Capex Optimization Consulting Practice

Fulcrum Technologies, a global provider of Asset Lifecycle Management solutions, today announced a new consulting practice to help Communication Service Providers optimize their supply chain and business operations from end to end.

 

SEATTLE, WA. — March 1, 2016 — Fulcrum Technologies, maker of the CATS Asset Lifecycle Management software, today announced the formation of Fulcrum Consulting Services (FCS) - a consulting services organization aimed at helping Communication Service Providers (CSPs) get visibility, gain insight, and take control of their business operations.  Fulcrum Technologies has consulted for Finance Managers, Supply Chain Executives, Network Operations, and Engineering Managers from over 40 different CSPs, and is positioned to engage with additional clients who are interested in enhancing their CapEx Optimization plans.

Fulcrum, along with logistics management partners, SIs and complimentary technology partners, can assess your business operations and provide solid practices to optimize your Asset Lifecycle Management and other Supply Chain Management functions - from acquisition to retirement. This includes management of warehousing, inventory, warranties, spares, and more, and gives a precise snapshot of what is actually active (as well as the geographic location of inventory) to allow for accurate property tax payments. It also provides best practices for compliance with governing and internal process controls, which greatly reduces organizational and regulatory risks. 

FCS offers two pre-packaged offerings. The first consulting package is the “ALM Readiness Review.”  This option includes two days of on-site meetings, stakeholder interviews, detailed questionnaires, and intense analysis of key ALM areas, all followed by a detailed report of findings and recommendations. 

The second consulting package is the “Business Operations Review.”  This option includes two on-site trips - one week on the front end to do data gathering, and two days on the back end to present findings and recommendations.  The areas of study include inventory turns, equipment out for repair or return, taxation, time from receipt of asset to installation, sparing levels and philosophy, reuse, decommissioning management, and audit process and capabilities.  Following the data gathering and analysis, the consultants will produce a PMO (Present Mode of Operations), an FMO (Future Mode of Operations), a report comparing PMO with industry best practices and metrics, and an ROI analysis.

Additionally, FCS will engage with end clients and strategic partners to provide any custom engagement format desired.

“Having engaged with over 40 Communication Services Providers in the past 17 years, Fulcrum understands very well the considerations that CSPs have in optimizing their investments in network equipment. Over 50 percent of a CSP’s annual spend is on network assets and we understand the best practices associated with tracking, managing and optimizing those assets. Fulcrum’s new consulting division will provide consulting services directly to our end clients as well as through a variety of partners. These services will help our clients understand the processes, workflows, and best practices required to achieve phenomenal savings on their network spend,” states Brent Bauer, CEO and Founder of Fulcrum Technologies. 

Communication Service Providers wanting more information about FCS consulting offerings should visit www.ALM.Consulting to learn more. 

Fulcrum Technologies Opens Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Gurgaon, India

Fulcrum Technologies, a global provider of Asset Lifecycle Management tools, today announced the opening of its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Gurgaon, India. Operating under the name Fulcrum ALM Solutions, the new headquarters underscore Fulcrum’s commitment to providing services and support for major Communication Service Providers around the world.

SEATTLE, WA. — November 20, 2015 — The largest expansion and growth among Communication Service Providers (CSPs) in the next three years will come from Asia and Africa. As these CSPs grow their networks, they will need accurate, real-time information about the true state of their network assets and infrastructure.  Fulcrum Technologies, creators of CATS Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) software, today announced the opening of their international headquarters in Gurgaon to support the CSPs in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

“As the communications industry’s leading provider of Asset Lifecycle Management solutions, Fulcrum is growing into new markets where there is a definite need for visibility and control surrounding network assets and infrastructure,” said Brent Bauer, CEO of Fulcrum Technologies. “Our new APAC headquarters in India will help us respond to the increasing international demand for our solutions, and will further our initiative to provide 24x7 support to our customers and partners worldwide.”

Gurgaon, a major technology hub with more than 250 Fortune 500 companies, is a suburb of Delhi and part of the “National Capital Region (NCR)”. It is also located strategically close to the headquarters of some of the largest service providers in the world, including a recently won Fulcrum customer with operations in over 20 countries. This customer has opted to use Fulcrum’s CATS ALM tool to track and manage its widespread network assets and inventory from acquisition to retirement. This includes receipt of goods, spares management, return and repair of equipment, regulatory compliance, and more.