Pointing out that the ability for a company to effectively synchronize corporate strategy and execution rests within the realm of production control technologies, Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and CEO of Invensys Operations Management (IOM), underscored the company’s continuing focus on its enterprise control system strategy at IOM’s annual OpsManage event.
“No single company has yet been able to deliver a complete enterprise control systems strategy, but we remain committed to being the leader in this effort,” Bhattacharya said. Current investments in IOM’s InFusion enterprise control system (ECS) solution are less focused on adding new features and more directed on making the offering “simpler to scale and integrate,” he said.
First introduced in 2006, InFusion ECS has always had the integration of plant floor control systems with corporate enterprise systems as part of its core message. The trick in getting this message accepted by its intended audience has been in adapting businesses’ focus from a corporate transaction viewpoint to seeing the value in the real-time operations world of the plant floor.
IOM has been pointing out for years that closing the control gap [the gap between real-time plant systems and transaction corporate systems] is key to the enabling a company’s real-time adaptability to market conditions and customer demands. And it appears that the message may be getting through. According to Bhattacharya, IOM has recently received 12 requests for proposals for the InFusion ECS as a means of connecting numerous global plants. These RFPs are “a good validation” that a higher level of understanding about the value of real-time data is starting to take root in the marketplace, Bhattachrya said. “Real time is the new frontier of sustainable value creation,” he added.
With such a heavy focus on the simplification, integration and extension of its current product offerings, only a few new product announcements were made at OpsManage 2010. Among the more significant releases were the Foxboro PAC–the company’s first programmable automation controller integrated within the Wonderware System Platform using ArchestrA technology; and the SIL 2-certified Triconex General Purpose System for safety and critical control applications.
To read more about the Foxboro PAC, click here to see more about the Triconex General Purpose System, click here.
Rashesh Mody, senior vice president, portfolio and marketing, IOM, says that the next two years will see a wave of new product releases and upgrades from IOM as a result of the R&D work being done now. Some of the upcoming highlights he noted include a release of System Platform 5.0, InTouch 10.5, and Intouch Embedded in 2011, as well as the embedding of ECS operations management capabilities in all IOM controllers in 2012.
As for where IOM sees most business coming from in the near term, Steve Blair, president North America and chief nuclear officer, IOM, said that “most interest is coming from the power industries–nuclear in particular.” He also noted that the refining industry has been holding back on a number of significant capital expenditure plans this year and he expects them to open spending on such projects again soon.
Blair also pointed out that IOM signed three large deals in 2010 that were put on hold due to general economic uncertainties. Those projects are expected to move forward before the end of the year. With data points about pending and booked projects such as these, as well as other factors that figure into the company’s sales and operations planning, IOM expects things to “really take off in terms of projects next year,” Blair said.