Q&A: Our plans for Sabisu in 2015

A couple of weeks ago we sent out a few bullets on our plans for 2015 and invited our customers to pitch us questions about those plans. This blog post is the result.

Tell us about your plans for 2015.        

We’re continuing along a logical path, driven by our customers, to where Sabisu tells you what you need to know before you need to know it; using industrial & enterprise data to provide decision support through intelligent, predictive analytics and visualisations.

Intelligent analytics will be applied to process and alarm data to identify and predict failure conditions, increased risk exposure and to better rank/prioritise issues. Sabisu is leading the way here already so we can really build on that this year.

Context is the ‘elephant in the room’ when it comes to industrial data. That’s where the Community aspect of the platform is key, so you’ll see us integrating the Hub and Workplace closer to give more context to the data.

You’ll also see an emphasis on mobile, both for data & context capture and reporting across a variety of applications including Project Management, Operations, SHE & Logistics.

Tell us about the journey to ‘big data’.

Sabisu has always had great visualisation, calculation and prioritisation capabilities. What you’re seeing is the natural progression of those in response to increasing customer demands.

So the visualisation capabilities are growing to better accommodate more complex datasets through techniques such as force directed graphs, and some specific visualisations using custom home-grown CSS libraries.

The calculation capability grew through 2012 and 2013 to be faster and able to deal with non-linear calculations to allow us to model physical properties, resulting in better cost impact accuracy and prioritisations. From there it’s a logical step to build out a more complex analytical capability – to ask whether we can extract value from the large datasets common in our sector.

The answer to that is very positive. We brought in new people with new skills and through 2013 we tested our analytics capability on alarm and process data. We’ve proven that Sabisu can show relationships in the data that were hidden and can materially affect the process, the plant, the people, their safety.

Does the focus on analytics mean that collaboration is taking a back seat?

Quite the opposite; the focus on analytics doesn’t take away from the collaboration improvements – in fact, it increases the need for them. With great collaboration we can put context around the data. Our customers also have lots of information in Sabisu, right in the line of sight, useful and useable; we know how valuable this is.

Context is king. We can do things with outlier detection and ranking – very good for binary problems like alarm management – but process data for a large plant is more complex and contextual. The collaboration data provides this context; effectively, process metadata. Tagging is one of the big challenges.

How does your approach to analytics differ to other MIS / BI platforms?

Sabisu is great in that space and our customers do like to use it for general reporting, so we’ll continue to extend it. We’re also going to target those niche applications where we can elucidate links and relationships that aren’t going to be obvious from a simple visualisation of data. The feedback we’re getting is that this would add real value.

The alarm cascade analysis we’ve already piloted; applying technology from Google to industrial data is a real buzz. We also have some very interesting insights from process data, not least in predictive maintenance and historical correlations, with advanced statistical analysis of project data in the pipeline too.

Is there going to be a change to the Sabisu footprint/install to accommodate new technology?

We are using technologies such as Hadoop when appropriate but where this affects the On-Premise installation it’ll be packaged up so you don’t have to worry about it. Our commitment has always been to give you an ‘enterprise friendly’ implementation, without esoteric applications that you or your IT guys might find hard to support.

Sabisu will still be easy to live with.

What’s included in my existing license?

Sabisu is usually licensed according the modules required. For each module, all currently licensed users will receive all enhancements while as part of the annual license fee.

All customers have the Sabisu Core licensed. This will continue to be the backbone of all solutions, updated with new visualisation, collaboration and data integration capability.

Both Sabisu Operational Decision Support (Jidoka) and Sabisu Alarm Management Decision Support (Seion) will see further enhancements including ranking, fault detection and predictive algorithms, along with specific visualisations and significant use of the improved backbone (‘Core’) collaboration and other platform capabiltiies.

Sabisu Mobile will support Android and iPad via direct connectivity, with regular releases to improve performance and compatibility throughout the year. At present no offline application is planned. In order to support Logistics, SHE/EHSS, Project and Operations users, support will be prioritised for Atex Zone 2/22 compliant Android devices and Apple iPads.

Sabisu Publisher will continue to be updated with significant performance improvements and to further allow the use of MS Office data as an unstructured datasource.

Sabisu Shika will also be updated with significant performance improvements this year, using more of the Hadoop ecosystem where appropriate.

I’m really interested in something that’s not in the list above.

We have a list of 80 functional improvements to make to Sabisu this year and, in the best traditions of an agile DevOps environment, that list will change yet. We’ve always been driven by customer requirements, so drop us a line and we’ll make sure the platform meets your needs.

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