Understand Long-term Asset Needs with Predictive Analytics

When I joined Copperleaf™ in 2009, we were helping hydro operators understand the long-term needs of their assets. Specifically, through a combination of consulting and spreadsheets, we would compute the optimal replacement dates for all of their assets—by comparing the cost of replacement with the environmental, safety, and operational risks associated with continuing to run older assets. We were able to put a single constraint on the expected spend over 20 years and determine the increase in risk that resulted from investing less than the optimal amounts in those assets. Back then, doing a single run in a spreadsheet with just 1,000 assets could take hours!

When we released Copperleaf C55, we moved those spreadsheet calculations into a proper application with a user interface and created an option to perform this calculation, named Asset Analytics (and subsequently combined with Program Analytics under the name Predictive Analytics).

Around the same time, we also introduced the concept of “investments” in C55. Investments (also sometimes called “projects”) are different than simple asset replacements for a number of reasons:

  • Investments can exist even without assets, or can involve multiple assets, or different types of interventions
  • Investments have other values beyond risk mitigation: they can impact Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or have other financial benefits
  • Investments can include multiple “alternatives” – one of several possible options for undertaking work to solve a problem or create value for the organization (e.g. refurbish, replace, etc.). Different alternatives can then be evaluated and selected by the C55 optimizer when trade-offs need to be made between competing investments.

These capabilities made it possible for C55 to not only create a long-term plan for asset replacements, but it also allowed utilities to make enterprise-wide trade-offs of capital and O&M costs.

Today, C55 is a platform that helps organizations make cross-enterprise investment decisions. However, Predictive Analytics (a C55 module) remains an important tool for understanding the long-term needs of the asset base. While investments are typically only planned out for five years or less, Predictive Analytics allows you to look out further into the future. With the release of C55 version 12.3, we are proud to announce some very significant improvements to our Predictive Analytics capability, including:

  • Ability to now run on 10 million assets:  Original versions of the software were only suitable for customers with relatively small numbers of assets. With support for millions of assets, C55 is now also an excellent fit for transmission and distribution utilities.
  • Ability to run using any value function:  We now bring the same flexibility to Predictive Analytics that our customers have enjoyed in Investment Optimization. Any financial or non-financial benefits and risk mitigation benefits can be calculated as part of the value function.
  • Ability to support alternative interventions:  C55 can now support alternative interventions on the same asset, so it is possible to consider different alternatives in the same run (e.g. replace, refurbish, inspect).
  • Ability to run with multiple constraints:  As with our Investment Optimization, it is now possible to constrain on multiple constraints, including costs, resources, or service levels.
  • Data Warehouse:  The results of each asset strategy are written to a data warehouse. This gives customers the ability to compare the risks, benefits, costs and resources of individual investment strategies, and compare across those strategies.

Predictive Analytics is a powerful tool that enables our customers—even those with millions of assets—to analyze and predict the long-term needs of their assets.

To learn more about Predictive Analytics, book a demo today.


About the Author

Stan Coleman

With more than 25 years of high tech development and management experience, Stan is currently the CTO at Copperleaf.

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