Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software is a mature offer that has been around for over 30 years. At its core, it includes basic functionality such as data acquisition from control systems and the presentation of this data for operators. We all know a biscuit factory is quite different from a wastewater treatment plant so how do we ensure that customers get the best solution?
Let’s take the example of an auto manufacturer. Not everyone is looking for the same thing in a motor vehicle. Customers will walk into a dealership with different needs – big families want minivans; singles might opt for sports cars; some need to carry big loads; others might want fancy sound systems. A car manufacturer that can accommodate these demands with different models and options will secure the sales and satisfy the market. Otherwise, the customers will look elsewhere.
Similarly, a supplier with a portfolio of SCADA products which can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of specific industries can better respond to the needs of its customers. The advantage of such differentiation means the customer gets a much better “fit” out of their SCADA solution.
A good SCADA strategy is based on this premise and should be able to cater to the needs of a wide array of customers and industries.
Technology trends such as object orientated design, cloud computing and mobility solutions are increasingly being demanded by customers. A key success factor is the speed at which these can be integrated into the offer and put in the hands of customers. A broad technology base means development time is drastically reduced and leveraging best-of-breed components adds immediate value to users.
What does the future hold?
Consolidation and simplification are the natural next steps. For SCADA users, this will mean a consistent look & feel across multiple software applications to streamline the operator experience as they move between their SCADA and other systems. Integral connectivity will also provide the proverbial glue for processes from shop floor to top floor, giving customers the benefit of a comprehensive solution.
Ultimately, the evolutionary roadmap is headed toward a core SCADA offer that is enhanced to suit the particular needs of individual vertical markets through variants such as dedicated segment libraries and add-on applications.
SCADA providers who recognize that a one-size SCADA doesn’t, in fact, fit all and who embrace the diverse needs of the different market sectors are the ones who the customers will turn to in the end.