Industry’s Overall Approach to Digitalization Changed by Pandemic

Author photo: Sharada Prahladrao
BySharada Prahladrao
Industry Trends

During the virtual ARC Industry Forum, ARC’s Craig Resnick, Vice President, Consulting, interviewed Craig Hayman, CEO of AVEVA. Their discussion covered a range of topics, such as how the industry saw the approach to digitalization changed by pandemic, as well as innovation, open standards, sustainability and operational resilience, energy transition, and intelligent asset performance. This blog captures the salient points of the interview. It can be watched on YouTube and/or below.    

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Industry’s Overall Approach to Digitalization Changed by the Pandemic

“What a year it has been! We’ve seen five years of digital transformation in this sector,” said Mr. Hayman. Explaining the statement, he said that although this sector was using digital technologies for decades, it was a laggard compared to other industries. But all that changed a year ago. Industrial companies appointed Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) as remote operations became the norm and the digital projects either reduced operational expenses or added certainty to capital projects. Many companies that were previously hesitant to move to the cloud or deploy artificial intelligence (AI) did so because “when everyone’s working remotely that’s the only way you can do certain things.”

Open Standards for Interoperability

Mr. Resnick then asked about the company’s focus on innovation and adherence to open standards, to which Mr. Hayman responded that open standards are a top priority for companies, such as Genentech (pharmaceutical) and I-energy, because they require immediate connectivity and interoperability with global customers. He said that AVEVA is committed to open standards and that flows into how they work and communicate internally. The company invests about 15 percent of its total spend on R&D, and that funds about 150 scrum teams. During the pandemic, security became an even more important issue. In this context, he spoke about how the company’s cloud solution progressed in the last 12 months.

 How Digital Transformation Supports Operational Resilience and Sustainable Outcomes

“Operational resilience and sustainable outcomes are the footprints of our company,” said Mr. Hayman. The company’s biggest footprint used to be people on airplanes, but this has temporarily taken a backseat. Now, AVEVA is helping its customers to reduce their footprint on the world, and this is all about tackling climate change. The world has gone through multiple energy transitions, and now the total CapEX investments for renewables are exceeding fossil CapEx investments. This idea of circularity and transparency in operations accelerates this energy transition to renewables. The founder of OSIsoft, Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy, described these as “intermittents” (wind and solar) because they go up and down a lot versus a traditional energy facility, and that creates a lot more data and opportunity to optimize processes. AVEVA focuses on the entire lifecycle, from the construction of these facilities to the hand over, and then to the operations. When it comes to energy consumption, different countries are at different stages of energy transition, and AVEVA’s aim is to help all of its customers at whichever point they are on their journey.

Disruptive Technologies in a Rapidly Changing Environment

Talking about disruptive technologies, Mr. Hayman said that their customers are involved in the “staples of life,” such as food, medicine, power and energy, and have their supply chains in batch, process, and hybrid industries. With more digital technology in the manufacturing processes, the supply chain can be optimized, operational costs can be reduced, and reliability increased. He gave the example of Starbucks coffee, where the coffee bean is roasted in a facility in which AVEVA controls the software for recipe consistency. This information is available from the shop floor to the top floor. The data can be used for the supply chain, for operations, and to predict and understand the best path forward.

Intelligent Asset Performance Approach and Key Takeaways of the Pandemic

“No matter what you do, you want to get better at it,” said Mr. Hayman. One of the ways to improve performance is based on the data; so more data helps the team to take actionable decisions and scale up.

What the pandemic has taught us:

  • Time is precious: Do it now. The five-year plan became the three-day plan, then the one-day plan, it’s become the now plan.
  • Opportunity to reset: Deploy software in days or hours and get quicker ROI
  • Trust and partnership: It is important to build trust and partnership with suppliers and customers so that you can learn together

OSIsoft Acquisition

When this interview was hosted in February 2021, talks regarding AVEVA acquiring OSIsoft were ongoing.  Subsequently, in March AVEVA announced the successful completion of the acquisition.  The acquisition enhances AVEVA’s ability to help accelerate the digital transformation of the industrial world. AVEVA and OSIsoft will combine their complementary product offerings, bringing together industrial software and data management, to help industrial organizations accelerate their digital transformation strategies as efficiency, flexibility, sustainability, and resilience become increasingly urgent global requirements. The combination of the two companies creates a leader in providing real-time performance intelligence solutions.

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