Emerson Exchange Day 1

By Harry Forbes

Industry Trends

Emerson Exchange

Day 1 of Emerson Exchange convened Monday in San Antonio with over 3000 in attendance. The morning general session featured a “baton-passing” of sorts, as Mike Train departed the role of president/CEO of Emerson Automation Solutions to become president of Emerson itself. Taking over leadership at Emerson Automation Solutions (and the stage) was Lal Karsanbhai who was named to succeed Train last August.

The afternoon was busy with conference sessions and a show of Emerson’s Digital Transformation Roadmap for the press, featuring digital transformation end user stories by Ensco (offshore drilling rigs) and Sasol (synfuels). The exhibit hall opened in late afternoon and was crowded with people, partners, and products. And, yes, I confess that the evening in the hotel bar was busy as well with opportunities to see many friends, some of many years.

Three takeaways:

First is the obvious dedication of Emerson to innovative measurement and actuation products. This truly makes them a different firm as compared to their process automation competitors, and it provides Emerson with a big share of the more profitable segments of the process automation business.

Second is Emerson’s large and healthy partner ecosystem, with dozens of partner booths forming the entire perimeter of the exhibit hall. These ranged from very traditional products (say, flared tube fittings) to the latest venture-backed IIoT communication and application platforms. This partner ecosystem is large, comprehensive, and seems generally quite happy to be working with Emerson.

Third, and most important, is depth of leadership. Yes, Emerson Automation has had superb leadership for decades at the CEO level, and consistently strong leadership is not something all its competitors have enjoyed. But much further, Emerson (in my opinion) has a very deep bench of leaders at all levels of its business, many of whom (though young) have extensive experience and bring both enthusiasm and loyalty to their roles. It’s a very strong team.

On to Day Two.

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