By Bill Lydon, Editor
The 2012 North America Wonderware /Avantis User Group held October 10-11, 2012 in Anaheim, California focused on advancing the company’s integrated enterprise software for industry.
Ravi Gopinath, President of the Software Business, gave an overview in his keynote presentation. Gopinath joined Invensys Operations Management (IOM) in 2009. He has a deep background in manufacturing starting in 1994 with Tata Consultant services and Geometric Ltd., a PLM systems integrator and engineering services company. The company announced twenty seven new product launches since last year. IOM’s software business revenue increased by 20% - Wonderware software grew by 11% and the services business by 30%. Wonderware retains the number one worldwide position in HMI software with over 750,000 installed licenses.
Gopinath described strategic initiatives to continue increasing global reach, innovation, and service excellence. Core markets for their Enterprise Control System are batch manufacturing (consumer packaged goods, life sciences, food & beverage), heavy industry (power generation, chemical, oil & gas), and infrastructure (solar power, SCADA water, facility management). “Our vision of enterprise control is that within each of these industries our applications and products can be uniquely customized to meet specific business requirements,” said Gopinath. He further explained they have offerings that are fit to purpose, but users with unique requirements are provided an open software framework to create applications to meet their unique needs. In addition, the Enterprise Control System framework provides seamless interfaces to integrate other systems.
Over 12% of the company’s revenue is spent on research and development, allocating 22% to production and performance applications; 23% to design, simulation, optimization and advanced process control; and 55% to platform applications (engineering, supervisory, HMI, etc.). Gopinath described these “high level themes:”
Convergence - MES, Integrated Workflow, Multi Plant Communication, Historian, and others on the ECS
Distributed Supervisory Applications – Openness, Scalability & Performance, Enterprise IT tools support (Virtualization, Disaster recovery, Security, OPC UA)
Embedded Operations Management - Task & Operation Integration, Alarms & Events Integration, Unified Asset Modeling, Enterprise Visualization
Cloud Enablement - Intelligence and Analytics
Enterprise Control System (ECS)
The company continues to build upon their Enterprise Control System (ECS), which was launched in 2009, by adding more applications, including enhancements to workflow. The foundation of the Enterprise Control System (ECS) is an integration framework that ties applications together in an open Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) that allows systems to be deployed with standard components and minimizes customization. The open ECS Service Oriented Architecture framework enables their partner ecosystem to add and extend the capability of the software. This extensibility enables the system to meet varying industry and global needs, solve a wide range of customer problems, and improve efficiencies. IOM believes ECS allows users to implement systems that constantly refine plans and adapt in real-time to highly variable manufacturing factors including raw material cost & quality, energy costs, order sizes, and product mix. The scope of coordination and control encompasses basic control loops for manufacturing business systems including ERP, production control, and process control.
Dirk Kozian, Product Manager of Batch & Workflow Software and Maryanne Steidinger, Director of Product Marketing, provided an update on ArchestrA Workflow. It gives users a “click and configure” platform to build and visualize processes. The Forms module of ArchestrA Workflow allows users to capture and trace information with electronic documents and form entries can be used to trigger workflow. Users define notifications for operators, supervisors and managers that are delivered in multiple ways including emails and SMS. There is a new Work Tasks Mobile App for iPhone and iPad that allows users to update tasks, receive new task notifications, and approve or reject tasks. There are also new electronic signatures features that increase information security.
The company is participating in the industry trend to provide specialized knowledge for customer projects to be successful. Today, the company has over 500 services people around the world that can work with users to implement solutions in addition to their Ecosystem partners and system integrator partners. I asked Ravi Gopinath if he has any new visions or directions in his role as President the Software Business. He is committed to continuing to evolve and extend the Enterprise Control System (ECS) offering, improving their presence in the market, and “building out” their services capability. Every global region today has a Delivery Center. This is based on the belief that many systems will be engineered solutions requiring strong global services practices to provide business process consulting, functional requirement analysis, architecture, and project rollout. Service today is about 30% of the business and growing. Gopinath views services as a requirement to participate in projects that demand services from the vendor. However, he reinforced that they will continue to primarily be a product company.
Thoughts & Observations
Gopinath emphasized that they are a software & technology company with an enterprise control vision. He noted that in the future they will embed more intelligence into their products using increased amounts of data from systems. This would seem to suggest creation and integration of more analytics.
While discussing the ESC with Gopinath, he described it as the manifestation of their products and third party products coming together to address a well specified business problem, including complex MES installations with strong connection between the automation and ERP system. In many ways this describes the problem with MES systems - they have been a partial solution requiring significant custom software for specific applications. The ECS provides the software platform based on open standards to easily configure applications for customer applications without custom software.