Ask the Experts: How to accelerate your digital journey thanks to a unique industry partnership

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Peter Herweck, EVP, Schneider Electric Industrial Automation, is in charge of Schneider Electric’s global Industrial Automation Business since 2016. He has extensive experience in Automation, Digitization and Industrial Software. Peter started his career at Mitsubishi in Japan and after joining Siemens held several executive positions in Factory and Process Automation and headed Corporate Strategy. 
Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA,  joined AVEVA in February 2018 as Chief Executive Officer. Previously he was Chief Operating Officer at PTC, where he had responsibility for engineering, marketing, and sales of the ThingWorx® platform, as well as computer aided design, and product lifecycle management solutions. Craig also served as President of the Solutions Group at PTC, where he led a resurgence in core solutions businesses, while driving sales of the company’s IoT technology platform.  

93% of industry leaders cite digital transformation as their top priority, but only 20% are confident they are working with the right partners to deliver their vision[1]. The combination of two key industrial software businesses, Schneider Electric’s software business and AVEVA, brought together two complimentary portfolios, which can help industrial companies optimize their operations more quickly and achieve sustainable productivity gains.

In this first blog post of a 3-part series, Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA and Peter Herweck, Executive Vice President, Schneider Electric Industrial Automation discuss how the fast-moving digitization trend is changing industrial markets.

Q: How does this unique partnership drive the digital transformation momentum for industrial customers?

Peter Herweck: It’s all about productivity gains. The customers we engage with want vendors who combine easy-to-integrate and robust engineering, operations, management and maintenance software with a deep understanding of automation processing. In this way, the benefit of OT and IT convergence can drive higher levels of productivity. Our combined expertise simplifies the work that the customer must do and helps drive their digital agenda. Productivity gains are good for our customers, for their end customers and for the world in conservation of resources and greater outcomes.

Craig Hayman: Two years ago, industry was just getting comfortable with the idea of the Digital Twin, and complete digital transformation. The world has changed. Today, customers understand the potential of digital transformation and they have a digital agenda to transform their business. They have hired chief digital officers, which is an indication that they want to move more quickly. They are focused on generating value in a very short time and cutting risk. This is where Schneider Electric and AVEVA come in – together, we can offer interlocking hardware and software solutions that are proven to deliver value in a very short period. We have done the work to technically integrate and we have commercial alignment. This means that, when we come to a customer, we know the value that we can deliver for them and the timescale in which we can deliver it. Typically, our customers achieve lasting benefits within weeks, rather than months or years.

Q: Can you provide examples of how customers are benefiting from your own internal digital transformation?

Peter Herweck: In the past, many customers used only a fraction of what most software is capable of. Our own digital transformation is enabling us to refine our business models. Now, because we can offer software on a subscription basis (i.e., Software as a Service) we view it as our responsibility to work with a customer, train their staff, and offer them intuitive software packages with simple and easy to use functions. In this way our customers are provided with a more powerful and faster means for exploiting the business benefits of their data.

Craig Hayman:  In the industrial environment, all customers are dealing with a lot of different systems, built up over the past 30 years. They need insight that draws data from all their existing infrastructure together with some new – they don’t have the luxury to rip-and-replace. This means they need an open digital model that works with lots of different vendors, because it helps them move more quickly.

Our customers are in capital-intensive industries. We noticed they were having to invest in software and hardware long before they saw the benefits. This is why we shifted to a subscription-based model. It’s equivalent to moving from iTunes tracks to Spotify.  Today, our customers subscribe to our software and we are motivated to ensure that they get full value from it, so that they use more of the functionality and get better benefit from their investment.

Q: How do you help industrial manufacturers to better leverage the benefits of big data?

Craig Hayman:  We see that customers often have data in storage, but they have not been using it. It is trapped in what we call a “data lake”. It could be in a cloud or inside one of their operational facilities. Our software pulls the data from all the different sources they have and runs analytics across all of it to gather unified insight. Using historic data and our years of experience, we can also identify false positives. This means we have developed our understanding of our customers’ businesses and we have optimized our software in such a way that, the more data we have, the better we are at providing accurate diagnostics that enable the customer to act preemptively with confidence, to optimize their performance.

What does this mean in practice? Consider complex machinery like an industrial compressor.  By looking at the daily operational data from that compressor, we can accurately predict when it’s going to fail before it actually does. The customer is notified on the status of the equipment so that they can proactively plan maintenance at a convenient time, rather than face the high cost of unnecessary maintenance or unplanned downtime.

Peter Herweck: When we consult with a customer, we understand their core processes very well. When analyzing their process data, it’s important to dig as deep as it takes to determine where that data was generated, why it was generated and how that data impacts performance. For example, consider a spinning machine on the manufacturing floor. It utilizes a variety of motors and drives to perform the spinning. Data can be extracted from that drive indicating how that motor is performing.  You can also add another sensor that records the temperature of the individual motor. We then share that performance and environmental data with software either on premise, in the cloud or as a mixed hybrid solution for complete analysis.  These coordinated capabilities differentiate us from the competition. Offering our customers, a way to perform these tasks flawlessly and work across a broad range–from the individual data components all the way to gigantic historians that store data– and then use analytics to predict what will happen.

Stay tuned to the two upcoming blog posts from this series to keep learning about how Schneider Electric and AVEVA can jumpstart your digitization projects and help drive business growth.

[1] TechValidate research, sponsored by AVEVA, on a cohort of 300+ C-level industry executives in 2018

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