The Data Historian is a time-stamped database that stores Real-Time operational data that can be accessed and used for a wide range of purposes such as visualisation, event tracking, production reporting, and consumption by other systems for Advanced Analytics and Asset Performance Management. Market Research Future ® report that The Global Data Historian market is estimated to reach USD 1.4 Billion by 2024.

With the onset of new and disruptive technologies, data lies at the heart of these transformation initiatives. With improved computing and network infrastructure the demand for data has grown increasing the importance and value of a data/industrial historian in Data Management.


Operational Excellence opportunities

Operational Excellence is the realisation of executing your business strategy effectively and reaping the benefits of Continuous Improvement initiatives. There are many focus areas that contribute to this objective such as a leadership engagement, commitment to quality, and a strategic focus.

The Data/Industrial Historian enables the capture, storage, and usage of plant data for a variety of things. The list below highlights just some of the operational focus areas that data stored in historians can be used for:
  • Process Automation
    • Advanced Process Control
    • Real-Time Optimisation
    • Calculations (e.g. detailed operational calculations or composition estimators for inferential control of distillation columns)
  • Visualisation of Operational and Production Data for analysis and troubleshooting
  • Operational Dashboards and Reports
  • Production and Event Tracking
  • Environmental Auditing
  • Asset Performance Management
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Big Data and Advanced Analytics
  • Digital Twin technologies
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence


Digital Transformation Enablers

Initiatives such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) have great value potential for the process industries and manufacturers. At the core of these technology solutions are data platforms and data management. With the right strategy, technology selection, and delivery approach, lie the promise of scalable and tangible cost benefits and the unlocking of new business opportunities.

From a data architecture infrastructure perspective, we now have more options available to us to store operational data that includes, on-premise, cloud, edge, and the data lake. Each option has its own technical merit and so there needs to be careful consideration and a enterprise strategy developed that considers the data, the operational processes, business requirements and future growth plans.

This will lead to determining an optimal data architecture infrastructure potentially utilising newer technologies such as cloud and edge infrastructure. This improved architecture can allow the integration of unstructured data and IoT data opening further opportunities to improve operational performance and streamline operations.


Having a clear plan and a targeted approach

So, what are the steps we need to take on this journey?

1.    Carry out an audit of your Data Historian as this will highlight how it is being used currently.
2.    Undertake an internal assessment of your operational activities as this will highlight opportunities for improvement and identify opportunities to improve or leverage the use of the process historian
3.    Establish a roadmap for making improvements that consider remedial actions, quick wins, and longer strategic objectives
4.    Undertake a pilot project and adopt an agile and scalable approach



With the substantial operational and productivity improvements that other newer technologies such as IoT, Advanced Analytics and AI can provide, at the core of each is data.

By ensuring your data is collected, secure, accessible, and of high quality, it provides the foundations to making tangible and scalable digital transformation improvements to your operations.

The benefits realisation will be reduced costs, better data-driven decisions, improved cybersecurity, and the creation of new business opportunities.

Contact us to see how we can help you with improving your Data Historian usage and increase your competitive edge.


Data is at the core of every business and how organisations maintain, govern, and store their data will either hinder or fast-track their efforts to reshape their business models by harnessing the immense potential of data.

With the many changes taking place to respond to our changing current working practices lieu of the worldwide pandemic, there also lies the opportunity for a Data Management review to fully harness the benefits that digital solutions can provide to improve your operations and business performance.

Taking a time out to rethink your current strategy

Much like in several sports like basketball, a time out allows us to take stock and modify our current strategy. A review of your current data management strategy and practices in a time when we are having to make other strategic changes could provide opportunities for a co-ordinated effort.

Cross-functional collaboration will help to reduce siloed actions that may address specific needs but do not take account of the wider organisational picture. The strategy review can also help to provide clarity on feasible options for the future.
A review of current practices using a framework such as a Data Management Maturity (DMM) model for example, will allow organisations to evaluate their capabilities and build a roadmap to accelerate progress in delivering value to the business.

A data management review will allow for the identification of:
  • Data quality issues and the need for improved quality rules and data governance
  • Regulatory Compliance issues
  • Operational inefficiencies (e.g. workarounds, lack of system and data integration) that if addressed would provide considerable benefit in reducing operational costs and improved efficiency
  • Legacy systems integrated with old interfaces that are costly to maintain
  • The level of readiness for strategic digital transformation initiatives

Now for the team talk

A team talk provides the opportunity for a review and active discussion. The data management review should focus on a current state assessment and a capability gap analysis. Key dependencies should also be factored as they will need to be part of the corresponding implementation plan.

Key outputs of a data management review will include:
  • A vision statement
  • Programme scope
  • Major gaps identified in the current state resulting from a Data Management assessment
  • Identification of high-level roles and responsibilities
  • Success measures and metrics
  • Business benefits

Drafting the new strategy

Keeping with the sporting theme, we are ready to draw up the new plan of attack. Having completed the review, an implementation plan can be drafted. This will typically contain a mixture of remedial changes and strategic implementations that all serve to improve operational performance and achieve strategic objectives.

The ensuing activities need to align to a strategic roadmap. By doing this, goals will emerge that are more specific as they represent desired achievements in quantifiable terms.

Examples of key activities in an implementation plan are:
  • Establishing a new governance model
  • Implementing remedial improvements in a phased and prioritised manner that eliminate manual processes and workarounds (AS-IS) to better defined business and process workflows (TO-BE)
  • Carry out a pilot Master Data Management (MDM) or Data Historian implementation ahead of further phased rollouts
  • Implement cloud-based data management solutions for improved data access, scalability, and cost savings
  • Deploy solutions that create new market opportunities

Putting words into action

Having had the time out, the team talk and made the required adjustments, we can put to action the cumulative effort of taking stock and producing an improved strategy. The approach should be an agile one that allows benefits to be realised early and incrementally.

The cost benefits of this approach will be both immediate and long term. The immediate benefits will be realised from short term improvements and quick wins. Medium-term and long-term improvements would then follow, and having a strategic approach will have the added benefit of:
  • Greater Integrated Operations with users sourcing data from trusted sources
  • Improved data availability for business processes that require consolidation and aggregation such as data analytics, business intelligence and KPI reporting
  • Reduced project delivery costs through simpler and optimised data and system integration
  • An integrated architecture platform
  • Incorporating related cyber resilience initiatives
  • Improved readiness for unlocking further value by implementing Machine Learning and other Artificial Intelligence solutions


Given timely and accurate data is key for making the right business decisions, a review of your data management strategy will allow you to address operational inefficiencies and risks. Addressing the issues identified in the assessment will bring about performance improvements, increased profitability, and better operational practices.
It will also allow you to improve your readiness to implementing strategic solutions and potentially reducing the cost of these implementations and their ongoing maintenance costs by way of improved Data Architecture and System Integration capabilities.
Contact us to see how we can help you with your Data Management Strategy.

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