Damien de Gouveia is our Asset Performance Management Lead. With a strong background in industrial engineering and a passion for data and analytics, he believes that the increasing pressure on asset-intensive industries will compel companies to adopt new technologies.
What has been the greatest influence on your career?
I heard of an interview with Steve Martin in which he said, “What you can’t do defines your style”. If you cannot drive to your destination because you do not have a car, the route you choose will be far more unique than most motorists. In those moments when we say, “I need to do Y but don’t have X” and come up with a plan to substitute X with what we do have, we create unique solutions, and new permutations in a feasible solution space, that would have otherwise never been born. Every limitation, in this sense is an undiscovered route with tributaries to destinations beyond our current understanding. Viewing the world in this way, you stop looking at what you do not have, cease comparing yourself to others and focus on solving the immediate challenge.
This has changed my perspective on how to approach challenges both in a personal and professional capacity, resulting to one of the biggest influences on my career.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for businesses in today’s digital world?
Data literacy. The general consensus is that data should be made simple, easy to interpret and above all, must tell a story. I agree but not all stories are simple. Some have complex character arcs, and others deal with complicated philosophical issues, but all are worth telling. It is foolish to expect every complicated and complex problem to be reduced without losing some nuanced detail. Thus, we must encourage those interpreting data to spend focused time on developing a resilient understanding of the underlying story.
Data, on the other hand, is rarely put into a story and even less frequently packaged into a digestible piece of information. Organisations don’t seem to develop these skills with the same tenacity as they would others, yet it is an act performed daily. I believe the aversion to such training lies in the vox populi that storytelling is an innate ability, a genetic predisposition, that few possess rather than a learnt skill.
What has been the biggest enhancement or change in digital technology that has had an impact on your life?
Digital technology is seldom enhanced in large discrete leaps but rather in small continuous actions. You can liken the process to the adage of boiling a frog. If you put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately leap out, noting the immediate change in temperate. Instead, if you put the frog in cold water and slowly raise the temperature it will remain in the pot until it is too late. Technology improves so often in small leaps that we are oblivious to its value. It is only when we look back and realise how far we have come that we internalize the magnitude of improvement.
Technology is also highly interconnected literally and figuratively. An improvement in a chip manufacturing process reducing the defect rate and cost to manufacture can lead to increased sales of the computing device. This then expands the market for software vendors who can either specialise or improve on their current offering leading to further attraction by consumers to obtain the product. And with increased consumer demand and more advanced applications, chip manufacturers are forced to improve their products.
A single product’s value is dependent on the network of products supporting and enabling it. So, the biggest enhancement in digital technology is the development of a thriving marketplace pursuing continuous improvement.
What is the one thing that stands out for you, working at Vetasi?
Vetasi is a growing company in a highly competitive market, and our product, time, is a limited resource. The growing pressure from the market to continuously deliver is always knocking at your door. Some organisations shift this pressure onto their employees, trickling down the hierarchy until it reaches even the furthermost point. The stress seldom encourages comradery as work becomes a zero-sum game – if I succeed it’s because you failed.
What distinguishes Vetasi is that each person in the hierarchy pushes back with all their might, the external pressures so that the next person shoulders a little less. Seeing this, each team member bands together to support their immediate supervisor and the collective force holds us firm. The respect, care, and consideration our leadership shares with us make us care about what we do and how we do things. This is how we can deliver the very best solutions to our customers and stay in the game – they care so we care.
What is your area of focus?
Vetasi understands the needs of our customers are continuously evolving and as such we are striving to learn what lies beyond the adjacent edge of asset management. My role is centered around enabling Asset Performance Management technologies within the group. Our primary focus now is leveraging the Maximo Application Suite to introduce Artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and predictive modelling to our customers.
You work for a company that specialises in asset management across all asset classes, what is it about asset management that you are passionate about?
As an industrial engineer, I do not design equipment, nor do I physically maintain it and so my responsibility lies in the intangible domain of the process. There is a unique beauty in solving an asset management problem without the need for adding ‘things’ but by understanding the underlying behavior embedded in a process and rearranging what you have.
The various processes used in industry today are far more complex and complicated than textbook examples of a single input and single output. Understanding these multi-parametric processes requires a new set of skills and technologies. I am passionate about implementing these technologies and using these skills to find hidden value in the most complex confines of our customers organizations.
How do you think asset performance management is going to change businesses in the next 5 years?
I do not anticipate a ‘big shift’ in the coming years but a gradual increase in pressure will be placed on asset intensive industries. The definition of improvement will continue to extend beyond the triple bottom line and incorporate other environmental and social aspects. The cost of capital will continue to increase, forcing organisations to sweat their assets longer than planned.
The window of opportunity for advancements in Industry 4.0 to provide a competitive advantage will be short-lived. Organisations who wish to get ahead must start investing in these technologies today before they become imposed requirements. The early an organisation adopts modern technologies, the more time they can mature into them, lessening the impact of change.
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