Part V: Platform for Product Support and Lifecycle Management

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Control & Safety Systems, Services, Consulting & Training

Alvin Ribano

Alvin Ribano

Sr. Manager, Lifecycle Services (Asia Pacific)

Part V: Platform for Product Support and Lifecycle ManagementWe conclude our series on the 5P’s of Control System Reliability and Performance with this final P – Platform for Product Support and Lifecycle Management.

A platform that combines product knowledge base, technical support, software updates, and asset lifecycle information can help you keep your control system running smoothly and reduce risk in several ways:

  1. Information sharing enables risk mitigation. A vendor’s knowledge base and service bulletins are valuable risk mitigation tools for control system users. They serve as an early warning system, informing users of recently discovered vulnerabilities, threats, and even common malfunctions being reported in the field. This information equips automation or maintenance teams with solutions to frequently encountered problems, troubleshooting best practices, or workarounds. Empowering them to resolve issues more efficiently without relying on external support, before they escalate to system downtime. Other knowledge base articles may include updates on new software versions or features. These help users make informed decisions about their system modernization plans.
  2. Multichannel, round-the-clock support leads to rapid issue resolution. Multichannel 24/7 support, including phone, email, chat, and submissions via a mobile app provides users immediate access to assistance. This ensures prompt issue resolution, minimizing downtime and potential losses. Having a platform that offers real-time updates on support calls gives additional transparency for system users. They can actively track the progress of their inquiries and gain insight into actions being taken by the vendor to address their issues.
  3. Asset lifecycle data facilitates proactive planning. Understanding the system components’ lifecycle status and lifespan is important in both planning and budgeting decisions. These include both major (capex) and minor (opex) investments that need to be made and justified to management. Component retirement dates and usage data allow users to create a transition plan for replacement and upgrades, aiding them in developing an overall technology roadmap for the site. The last thing anybody would want is to find they could no longer get a replacement for a failed component, with the only recourse being an unplanned upgrade due to software compatibility issues!
  4. Software updates strengthen security and improve performance. Minor updates are often required to address security flaws that have been discovered in the operating system or control software, thereby preventing potential attacks or data breaches. They also correct software bugs or optimize performance, resulting in more efficient or more robust systems. On the other hand, major software updates (or upgrades) introduce new features while ensuring compatibility with the OS and modern hardware, allowing smooth communication and integration. Sometimes, these upgrades are necessary to comply with industry standards or government regulations.

Guardian Support

Enter Guardian: Emerson’s digital platform for end-to-end lifecycle needs of automation & control software!

For almost two decades now, Emerson’s Guardian has served as a central platform connecting users to expert support, knowledge base updates, proactive maintenance, and asset lifecycle insights. As Emerson’s software and services transition to modern subscription models, the portal also gives users the ability to manage their subscriptions.

Secure, personalized access to your information via the Guardian portal

Guardian Portal: The Guardian portal, available in several languages, is a comprehensive hub for users to submit and track support calls, manage knowledge base articles, analyze asset inventory, and download software updates. It also provides access to various service deliverables such as maintenance reports and system health information.

The portal offers visibility across multiple sites depending on a user’s credentials, enabling fleet management and comparative analysis of assets in various locations. Key features are accessible through a mobile app, providing users flexibility and quick access to information and support channels.

Never face an issue alone with unlimited access to technical support expertise

Support Services: Emerson’s Global Service Center (GSC) provides expert technical support 24/7. It is staffed by industry-experienced engineers with access to a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory and capabilities for secure remote diagnosis. GSC engineers undergo rigorous training and are backed by product engineers and development teams to handle complex issues and create hotfixes when necessary. Users can reach the GSC directly by phone or submit questions via the Guardian platform, mobile app, email, or chat. The portal then allows them to track the status of support requests and view call history across all the sites and systems they are managing.

Go beyond reactive support through proactive risk management

Risk Management: The Guardian platform includes a system health score that measures how well risks to a system’s safety, security, and process are being managed by the combined user and Emerson teams. The score reflects the number and type of open (unaddressed) risks, providing a useful prioritization aid for managing multiple systems. Each risk identified through the Guardian dashboard prompts users to review and act on potential issues at the earliest possible time.

Simplify asset lifecycle and software management with system-specific guidance

Lifecycle Management Tools: Guardian enables system lifecycle management by matching enrolled hardware or software content to its associated lifecycle status. This information helps users plan system management and sustaining investments accordingly.

For instance, users can download the installer media of the latest major software versions and upgrades directly from Guardian. Monthly Microsoft security updates are also tested for compatibility, uploaded, and matched to systems based on their Microsoft Operating System version and DeltaV applications.

Guardian Transformation

After twenty years of being a reliable partner in managing and maintaining control and asset performance management software, Guardian is undergoing a major transformation! Emerson is introducing an all-new digital experience that will revolutionize how users address their end-to-end lifecycle needs — from subscription management to connecting with product support. Guardian is also envisioned to seamlessly integrate with various lifecycle software and services, giving users a singular comprehensive portal. Watch this video to get a sneak peek into what’s coming:

Guardian continues to empower teams in achieving optimal control system reliability and performance, by providing:

  • A unified platform for all your automation system needs
  • 24/7 access to expert technical support
  • Proactive risk identification and mitigation
  • Simplified software updates, upgrades, and asset lifecycle management

Author’s Note:

While some of the solutions described above are mainly for Emerson DeltaV control system users, the concepts and principles should generally apply to any other Industrial Control System. If you want to learn more:

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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