ABB Customer World Wrap-Up: ABB positioning for industrial digitalization |

ABB Customer World Wrap-Up: ABB positioning for industrial digitalization

ABB Customer World Wrap-Up: ABB positioning for industrial digitalization

By Bill Lydon, Editor,

The global push for industrial digitalization continues to grow in momentum in 2019 as many corporate leaders drive the call forward. At ABB Customer World in Houston, in March, Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB, discussed their company’s steps in positioning themselves to be a leader focused on digitalization.  “We are the market leader in Electric Vehicle Fast Charging in the World,” Spiesshofer emphasized,   “In the digital space our partnership with HPE allows us to have  unique capabilities for data center automation.”  Describing how the company has been strengthening its core businesses, power grid, electrification, industrial automation, robotics and motion, Spiesshofer shared how digitalization has been shaping the ABB’s strategy as it works to take a leadership role in digital industries. 


Overall Strategy

Spiesshofer described ABB’s overall strategy:

  1. Focus on digital industries through divestment of Power Grids
  2. Simplify our business model and structure – “fundamentally simplify our company” This is being accomplished with four entrepreneurial businesses including common Global Business Service (GBS
  3. Shape four Leading businesses

Spiesshofer described how ABB Ability delivers tailored digital solutions based on the domain expertise for:

  • Electrification - Electrical Distribution, Control System, Asset Health & Condition Monitoring, EV Charging Digital Services
  • Industrial Automation – 800xA DCS, Collaborative Operations; Cybersecurity Services
  • Motion - Connected Powertrain, Smart Sensing; Remote Condition Monitoring
  • Robotics & Discrete Automation - Connected Services, RobotStudio™, MAPPS; Asset Performance Monitor

The ABB goal is a solution-oriented business model with:

  • Physical & digital offering
  • Deep domain expertise
  • Application & solution engineering


Partnering on a Path Forward

Spiesshofer went into detail about the partnerships that ABB has made with other companies in order to help facilitate industrial digitalization. In particular, he discussed the ABB and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) strategic global partnership, which  combines ABB’s digital offerings, ABB Ability, with HPE’s hybrid information technology (IT) solutions.  “ABB and HPE will deliver solutions that span the entire range of computing required by enterprises today, from the edge to the cloud to the core,” Spiesshofer insisted.


PLM Positioning

Following an industry trend for automation suppliers to acquire or partner with PLM companies, Spiesshofer also discussed ABB’s global software partnership for digital industries with Dassault Systèmes.  Spiesshofer expressed that the benefits from the partnership include the supporting of customer operations through plan/design, build, and operate phases. This is intended to accelerate the shift from mass production of mass customization. ABB focus segments will be:

  • Smart factories and robotics
  • Smart buildings
  • Process industries

With this partnership, ABB will develop and provide customers with advanced digital twins, enabling customers to run ABB’s solutions and their operations with the goals of improved overall efficiency, flexibility and sustainability.  The companies will, in a staged approach, focus on factory automation and robotics, process industry automation, as well as electrification solutions for smart buildings.  The first joint solutions will be showcased at the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, April 1-5, 2019.

"This game-changing partnership will serve our customers to lead in innovation and growth, fundamentally trans-forming their entire value chain to tap the vast opportunities of industrial digitalization. Together, we are offering an open, end-to-end digital portfolio - from digital twin to asset health - that gives our customers a competitive edge, building on our combined offering, domain expertise and global reach,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is adding Dassault Systèmes to its strong partner network for industrial digitalization, including Microsoft, HPE and IBM. We look very much forward to working with the entire global Dassault Systèmes team to drive innovation and customer value.”

 “The Industry of the 21st century is no longer determined simply by the ability to manufacture goods. Today’s leaders will be determined by superior mastery of technical know-how.  This is the new competitive differentiator and it’s happening now due to a convergence of digital technologies that are transforming every aspect of industrial business,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “In this industry renaissance, a platform approach enables the real and virtual worlds to inform and reinforce one another. Our partnership with ABB will draw from decades of combined expertise to help customers make the most of this powerful and dynamic trend.” 

Bill’s Thoughts and Reflections


Traditional automation suppliers are clearly positioning themselves, through investments or partnerships, to supply the software and hardware for manufacturing customers to be able to achieve the higher productivity and profitability promised through Industrial Digitization/Industry 4.0. 

The Dassault Systèmes partnership positions ABB along with other major industry players.  Siemens made billion-dollar investments some time ago this area; AVEVA and Schneider Electric is a hybrid mergerRockwell Automation and PTC have also created a partnering relationship.

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