The Open Enterprise

EP Editorial Staff | May 2, 2005


Alan T. Johnston, President, MIMOSA

The desire to integrate the plant with the rest of the enterprise might, to some, still seem to be a far off dream.Yet, with the combination of evolving software technologies such as Service Oriented Architecture, and the increased deployment of open information standards, the reality of joining traditionally disparate groups within the enterprise is almost within reach. A significant contributor to this shift in the direction of true open standards-based interoperability is the work being done by the OpenO&M™ Initiative.

The OpenO&M Initiative is the coming together of several existing industry standards groups to provide a coordinated set of data standards for exchanging Operations & Maintenance (O&M) information. It is this open, collaborative effort that is bringing real solutions to the industry faster than ever. Gathering subject matter experts into industry-specific Joint Working Groups (JWG) not only provides interoperability in the O&M area for manufacturing plants, but for fleets and facilities as well. The Manufacturing JWG provides an example of the practical benefits of this approach.

In the Manufacturing JWG, MIMOSA, the OPC Foundation and OAGi focus on information standards applicable across many industry groups, while collaboration with ISA SP95 and WBF-B2MML provides critical manufacturing industry standards. The cross industry, open interoperability standards are complementary because MIMOSA focuses on standards closely related to the physical assets, while OAGi provides standards for the enterprise business applications and OPC provides data acquisition and transport standards to and from the shop-floor. This collaborative approach enables critical cross-industry functions associated with the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of manufacturing assets while also properly enabling the required vertical information integration within a particular manufacturing organization.

OpenO&M is a virtual organization. Maintained by MIMOSA, one of the founding members, it serves as an umbrella for the collaborative effort. Work done by members includes crossreferencing their related standards and collaborating on content for true open standards-based interoperability. OpenO&M has been able to document reference implementations based on these combined standards at venues such as the International Maintenance Comference.At IMC 2006, more than a dozen vendors participated at various levels to demonstrate the successful integration of maintenance and operations activities.

Benefits from the work done by OpenO&M in open standards-based interoperability have already been realized, including fulfilling the integrated data requirements for ARC Advisory Group’s DOM (Design, Operate, Maintain) Model, enabling UID-based asset traceability throughout supply chains across all industries, enabling neutral condition-based maintenance (CBM) implementations and providing integrated data exchange between operations and maintenance.

While individual standards enable interoperability and cost savings in parts of an operation, far greater benefit is achieved when multiple standards groups eliminate the boundaries and collaborate in cross-industry efforts. Ultimately, operational planning and scheduling decision support systems can provide near real-time operational optimization. This leads to more satisfied customers, reduced downtime and products built and delivered to market rapidly and efficiently. The OpenO&M Initiative enables these benefits in a win/win paradigm for both end-users and vendors as precious resources can now be better focused on value-added activities, rather than on redundant and costly efforts to achieve and sustain effective business processes. MT

Alan Johnston is based in Tuscaloosa, AL. For more information on MIMOSA and/or OpenO&M, e-mail him directly at:




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