Blending Honeywell & Matrikon

Blending Honeywell & Matrikon

 
By Bill Lydon - Editor
 
Interview with Norm Gilsdorf, President of Honeywell Process Solutions
 
The acquisition of Matrikon by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) was a bit of a surprise, but one that makes sense for Honeywell considering how it adds products, knowledge, and know-how to the HPS family. On June 28, 2010, Honeywell announced its completion of the acquisition of Matrikon for approximately $139 million USD (approximately $144 million CAD). Matrikon will be integrated with the Advanced Solutions business of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS).   I discussed this acquisition with Norm Gilsdorf, President of HPS, to learn more.
 
Gilsdorf described Matrikon as a company Honeywell has been very interested in for some time. Golsdorf says, “Matrikon fell into what we call a strategic acquisition category.” He explained that Matrikon can do quite a few things for Honeywell. Matrikon can help grow the advance solutions business with existing customers because they have some broader and deeper offerings including asset management, remote monitoring, and solutions to improve operator performance. Gilsdorf also sees the acquisition enabling HPS to strengthen business in other areas including mining, upstream well performance monitoring, offshore, windmill monitoring and other asset monitoring. Another area of value is Matrikon’s software offerings for compliance with Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) 002-009 standards. Matrikon is one of 12 voting members on the Control Systems Security Working Group (CSSWG) of NERC, the group responsible for interpreting the CIP standards and creating industry guidelines.
 
Gilsdorf plans to have the Matrikon OPC group continue to work independently with its own sales force. It will report directly to Gilsdorf and, as Gilsdorf says, “Will continue to be vendor neutral and an open system supporting everybody else, it will be an arms length relationship.” Gilsdorf noted that Honeywell has experience with this type of arrangement citing the acquisition of Tridium as the prime example. Tridium was acquired in 2005 by Honeywell and has maintained their identity in the marketplace.   I attended the Tridium Niagara Summit in May and Roger Fradin, President and CEO of Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) at Honeywell, spoke at a general session and reaffirmed his confidence in the Tridium team. HPS is part of the ACS group led by Fradin.  Fradin noted, “We have a real commitment to the maintenance of Tridium’s core independent business model.” “You can be assured of a level playing field in terms of technology access, in terms of economics. We know to earn your business every day we can’t just be equal to [other alternatives], we need to be better than your next alternative.” Another touch point is Honeywell’s UOP acquisition, which has also maintained its identity. It’s worth noting that Gilsdorf came from UOP.
 
When I asked Gilsdorf about the Matrikon development group he stated, “I really admire the way they do software development and we want to preserve that.” He sees an advantage in Honeywell and Matrikon design groups learning from each other. Matrikon’s design group will operate, “with a degree of independence.” Gilsdorf explained how Honeywell can provide Matrikon stronger back office support and will increase their market reach globally.
 
Gilsdorf also highlighted that he sees the Honeywell and Matrikon sales groups working well since both use a consultative sales approach.
 
Matrikon evolved from a systems integrator to a products company so Gilsdorf believes their knowledge of system integrators will help HPS better understand how to be successful with their new system integrator initiative.
 
It will be interesting to watch how this evolves. Honeywell seems to be learning how to acquire and leverage technology companies so I would keep an eye out for more acquisitions.