Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 1 | Automation.com

Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 1

Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 1
By Paul Miller and Dick Hill

Following a full day of interesting workshops and supplier press announcements during the "pre-forum" activities, the 2010 ARC Orlando Forum officially began February 9, 2010 with the general session for the approximately 600 registered attendees. Many attendees and presenters traveled to Orlando from distant corners of the globe. Others fought the somewhat bizarre weather to get here — including more than two feet of snow in the Washington, D.C. area!

The general session for all forum tracks included presentations by Andy Chatha, ARC's President and Founder, Marty Edwards from the DHS Control Systems Security Program at Idaho National Laboratories (INL); Thomas Lange, Director of Modeling and Simulation at Procter & Gamble; and Ralph Rio, Research Director, Enterprise Advisory Services here at ARC.

An interesting executive panel Q&A session wrapped up the morning general session. During this session, Maryrose Sylvester, President and CEO, GE Intelligent Platforms; Keith Nosbusch, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation; and Steven Sonnenberg, President, Emerson Process Management; plus Mr. Edwards and Mr. Lange, fielded questions from both Andy Chatha and the audience on a variety of topics. These ranged from cyber-security, wireless technology, SaaS, alarm management, and asset lifecycle management, to the workforce of the future.

"Easy IT" Solutions Becoming Increasingly Important
Andy began by restating that the "Rethinking" themes for this year's four co-located Forum events (Rethinking Operational Excellence, Rethinking Asset Lifecycle Management, Rethinking Cyber Security, and Rethinking Performance-Based Outsourcing) was extremely appropriate, given the recent business environment, and provided an exceptional opportunity for collaboration. Andy stressed how it's becoming increasingly important for suppliers to develop easy IT solutions to help manufacturers and other industrial organizations meet today's business drivers, such as security, uncertainty, scarce resources, the need to go green, global competitive pressures, the changing workforce, increasing regulations, and the emerging smart grid.

"There is too much information to manage," according to Andy, "which is why more effective asset lifecycle management is so important and why now is the time to focus on easy IT solutions." Information is a "virtual as-set," that is critical across all project implementation and operational stages. According to Andy, owner-operators can obtain tremendous value when EPCs can effectively trans-fer the relevant information, in an appropriate format, during the critical project handover stage. And easily accessible, easy-to-understand, and up-to-date information can provide owner-operators with strategic operational advantage, enabling them to extract the most value from their physical and human assets. Thus, IT-enabled asset information management must be included in any asset lifecycle management strategy.

Returning to the "easy IT" theme, Andy stated that automation suppliers need to learn from the IT world and make automation systems much easier to use. This is especially true with today's continually increasing business complexity and the knowledge drain created by the aging industrial work-force.

Organizations Need to Establish a "Security Culture"
One of the two keynote speakers, Marty Edwards from the DHS Control Systems Security Program at Idaho National Laboratories (INL), gave a well-received presentation on cyber-security. According to Mr. Edwards, "Many of the processes controlled by computerized control systems have advanced to the point where they can no longer be operated without the control systems." This can be a problem in the 18 industrial areas that the DHS has identified as critical infrastructure.

Marty reviewed the evolution from older panel-based controls with zero cyber-security issues; to proprietary, traditionally isolated DCSs with minimal cyber-security issues; to modern automation systems that use Ethernet everywhere, largely COTS operating systems, and wireless "in the rack." These modern systems — which in many respects, are difficult to differentiate from business systems — are easily exploitable from a cyber-security standpoint. Increasing use of collaborative, web-based technologies will only add to these vulnerabilities. According to Marty, the DHS challenges the commonly heard claims that, "My systems are not connected," since any employee with a USB thumb drive or CD can represent a security risk — intentional or otherwise. Furthermore, myriad tools are available to hackers to attack systems via the TCP/IP layer upon which most of today's industrial applications are built.

Marty explained that common underlying vulnerabilities within industrial control systems include poor code quality; vulnerable web services; poor network protocol implementations, poor patch management; plus weak authentication, information disclosure, network design, and network component configurations.

According to Marty, "The vendor that is going to be the most successful in the future is the one that has the best processes in place to address (cyber-security) issues when they crop up."
After providing some well known (and a few lesser known) examples of recent cyber-security attacks to illustrate common vulnerabilities, Marty summarized the re-sources available from the DHS Control Systems Security Program (CSSP). These include desktop analysis tools, standards collaboration opportunities, risk reduction products (including boilerplate language that users can include in their supply contracts), education and training, ICS-CERT alerts, and opportunities for partnerships, such as the Industrial Control Systems Joint Working Group.

In the executive panel discussion that followed the general session presentations, Marty added that, industrial organizations that fall within this critical infrastructure category can implement initiatives and use firewalls and other technologies to help beef up their physical and cyber-security. However, what's really critical, is to establish a "security culture," under which everyone in the organization is aware of how his or her everyday actions can impact security. This is analogous to the safety culture approach that has been so successful in increasing personal safety in industrial operations in recent decades. P&G's Tom Lange, added, "You need a 'storytelling' culture within your company that does not hide either the risk or any actual incidents that might occur."

Modeling and Simulation Provide "Virtual Prescience" at Procter & Gamble
Tom Lange was next up at the podium. According to Mr. Lange, Procter & Gamble, the world's largest consumer products company, uses a somewhat obscure expression, "virtual prescience," or employing simulation to create knowledge of what's going to happen in the future, to describe the role of modeling and simulation in operational excellence.

According to Tom, "We use 'rocket science' to make consumer goods." This is because, rather than selling small quantities of products for thousands of dollars each, P&G makes billions of products a year and sells them for just a few dollars each. Furthermore, manufacturing everyday products is far more complicated than most people expect, which is why P&G makes such extensive use of modeling and simulation throughout its global operations.

Tom explained that modeling and simulation has transformed entire industries, beginning with defense and aerospace and progressing through durable goods, and now moving into consumer goods. Developing and testing new products using physical prototypes slows innovation, which is why P&G builds and tests virtual prototypes using computer simulations. Only after the virtual prototypes pass muster, does the company move on to the physical prototype stage.

It was interesting to learn that Tom has a super computer at his disposal that is faster than the fastest super-computer available a decade ago. The company uses this tremendous computing power to replace physical learning cycles with virtual ones that "pursue reality."

P&G uses simulation for more than just new product development. Other applications include optimizing paper machine loading, bottle design, mix-ing liquids in-process, aerodynamics of products as they pass through processing (such as air flow around Pringles chips...), fluid structure interaction, and process reliability.

At P&G, all modeling and simulation activities share a common five-step work process:

• Define the problem
• Gather input data
• Solve the equations
• Display and validate, and
• Shape decisions

This provides the basis for what Tom calls, "analysis-led discovery."

SaaS Helps Make IT Easy
Returning to the "easy IT" thread that Andy started, ARC's own Ralph Rio, wrapped up the 2010 Orlando Forum opening general session with a short, but thought-provoking presentation on the trend toward increasing use of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) within the industrial space.

According to Ralph, while functional silos work fine for those working within each silo, most business functions cross the silos. According to ARC surveys, the majority of the leading manufacturers use IT systems to manage their business processes. However, older applications and IT infrastructure often limit performance. Ralph explained that cloud computing and SaaS can help to accelerate implementation of current IT technology, while offloading many of the IT management tasks from users. This can help organizations enable cross-functional-silo business processes.

In the executive panel discussion that followed the general session presentations, P&G's Tom Lange provided some additional end user insights into SaaS from the perspective of a large global research and manufacturing company.

According to Tom, since purchased software represents a capital asset that can be depreciated over three years, larger companies like P&G that are not cash-constrained may find it more attractive to purchase their advanced software applications, rather than employing the software-as-a-service model. In other words, while upfront costs are far less, SaaS can actually cost more over three years than a depreciated capital asset. However, Tom acknowledged that this might not be an option for smaller companies that may have a cash issue. He also acknowledged that SaaS might work out better for those rapidly evolving applications that might have to be re-placed before they can be fully depreciated.

GE Intelligent Platforms', Maryrose Sylvester, agreed that she sees the greatest opportunities for SaaS within smaller companies that might need more flexibility or may have more cash constraints.

Last Word
Several themes kept cropping up during the general session presentations and across many of the sessions within the individual forum tracks. These included the need for easier automation and IT solutions, the need to ex-tract more value from existing industrial assets, the need for better cyber-security, and the need to develop and implement new collaborative technologies that can help manufacturers and other industrial organizations meet current and future challenges.

These are just some of the topics that ARC analysts will further research and report upon between now and next year's Orlando Forum. ARC welcomes your feedback on these and other topics.
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