As the industry continues its digital transformation journey, there is a need for solutions that provide the end-user and OEM with simplified license management, helping to avoid high costs due to overages in pay-per-use and usage-based models.
AVEVA, a major global engineering and industrial software provider, offers a one-stop performance intelligence solution that connects teams to actionable information at every level. Its extensive portfolio of solutions, including HMI/SCADA, operations control, asset performance, and value chain optimisation, leverage a common digital thread that enable a connected flow of data from engineering to operations, helping companies improve agility, reliability, and efficiency as well as operational resilience and sustainability.
In this interview with Rashesh Mody, SVP Monitoring and Control, AVEVA, IAA examines several common digital transformation issues that manufacturing enterprises face. This interview uncovers how AVEVA’s Operations Control solutions help them leverage leading technologies to respond to evolving market demands, enhancing agility, and accelerating digital transformation growth.
Q1: Since the first mention on Industrial 4.0 in 2015, we have yet to see wide spread usage of this application in SEA. We observed that there are generally four different reasons that causes the delay of this technology deployment, there are: cost; dashboard that lacks the ability to combine individual department requirement needs with the overall process and output; fear related to security issues; and training/support for the end-user. Do you agree with our observation and are there other factors which you could add to the list?
Rashesh Mody (RM): It is less about cost and more about understanding the projects to undertake based on a prioritised ROI. Industry 4.0 in general offers huge opportunities for industrial improvement – but Industry 4.0 also means a lot of different solutions/applications, that varies depending on what the customer has today in OT/IT infrastructure, talent, assets, and more. There are likely components of an Industry 4.0 strategy that offer a much higher ROI to begin with. That said, there are also some Industry 4.0 enablers that must be in place first before other aspects of Industry 4.0 can be realised. An example here is Predictive Analytics – without a robust operations data infrastructure and appropriate sensor inputs, Predictive Analytics is nearly useless or at best won’t provide a sufficient ROI to justify the cost.
Dashboards that combine individual department elements with overall process insights are available today. We call this solution area Enterprise Visualisation. These solutions blend deep process insights (HMI/SCADA, 3D models, Analytics) and broad business information (Financial, Weather, CCTV, etc.) into a visual application for command centers, remote operation centers, and casual users (think executives or strategic analysts). This capability is a relatively new space, but it does rely on having an information structure in place and an understanding of how these data types should be brought together. That can be a challenge for some organisations just beginning to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.
Security will always be a concern, this will never entirely go away. There are methods of mitigating the risk however. And it really comes down to understanding what the organisation’s tolerance for that risk is, in combination with their internal talent across OT and IT. Taking into account the business strategy around managing server infrastructure versus outsourcing to the cloud, or the need for mobile access to information, or whether there are resources they can leverage to fill gaps in their talent. Once that is known and addressed, security is a factor to always include and ensure best practices are followed, but it is not a gating issue anymore.
Training and localised support can be a factor, particularly in some countries based on language alignment. This also can be related to talent concerns, whether the organisation has access to the necessary talent to both implement, maintain, and enhance an Industry 4.0 solution over time. The way to look at it is not just about setting a system up once; Industry 4.0 has to be nurtured and adapted over time to account for organisational changes and technology changes. An Industry 4.0 system that is left to languish will not maintain the ROI and could lead to more dramatic impacts to efficiency, reliability and overall agility of the business to remain competitive.
Q2: How can AVEVA help in the cost issue? Is subscription model the answer?
RM: Subscription is certainly one lever that can help with upfront CapEx. Being able to scale the solution is another – for example starting with a pilot to understand the implications of the solution before a broader roll out. This can be done through the AVEVA Flex subscription program by leveraging Flex Credits to buy in to what you need and then add more as required. This also offers the benefit of being able to try other software solutions and discontinue them if they don’t work out. Another factor would be proper consultation up front to understand what the goals are, why the organisation is seeking a solution. Sometimes a perceived solution is not necessarily the solution that can deliver the best results. Which goes back to the ROI factor.
Q3: Information needed for each department is very different. How can AVEVA help to create relevant information dashboard for each department?
RM: There are various technologies within our portfolio that are best suited to different types of user roles. An operator will have a very different perspective compared to a reliability engineer, or a plant manager, or an executive. However, there are common attributes across them that need to be aligned, or can provide a single source of truth. This can include having an operations information management platform that feeds information to a Predictive Analytics engine that the reliability engineer will want, but also rolls up production KPIs for the plant manager; or having an operations control platform that helps the operator react to changes in process conditions, while rolling up alarms to a regional operations center who can task a subject matter expert to assist that operator in resolving any issues. Our solution portfolio takes these needs into account, while offering a connected set of tools purpose-built for industrial environments.
Q4: The fear in security issues have been discuss in greater details these days as hackers are getting better. How is AVEVA system addressing this issue?
RM: We leverage best practices across our software development teams to ensure our software meets the highest standards. We also work with customers and third-parties to understand their concerns, unique system configurations, and build capabilities into our solutions that solve those needs – this can include our cloud infrastructure providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. We also work with government and independent entities where we can certify our technologies based on their standards – for example, we recently received a first-level information technology security certification from the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI) for one of our operations control solutions.
Q5: What sort of training program does AVEVA provide for their customer?
RM: Our training programs offer a wide range of options from free video module-based learning, virtual instructor led sessions, to full in-person training at one of our facilities. The training programs also include standardised and customised training offered by AVEVA, and that of our distribution partners with their own facilities and training staff located around the world.
Q6: Which industrial sector is way ahead of others? For e.g., Oil & Gas or F&B manufacturing, or assets management?
RM: Each industry has their own drivers and challenges that is for sure – this affects how they have reacted and begun to deploy Industry 4.0 solutions. Some industries have gravitated towards Predictive Analytics faster than others, such as Oil & Gas versus Food & Beverage, which is impacted by the quantity of heavy assets. Others like Power Distribution and Water are slower due to critical infrastructure and resiliency needs, preferring to take a slower measured approach. Some industries are also affected by talent shortages, in particular Water, where they traditionally have struggled with technology proficiency. Where Renewable Power Generation is more accepting of Industry 4.0 capabilities to manage recently built wind and solar farms that are frequently in dispersed geographic locations. All industries have their unique attributes, however they all have reasons to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies that will drive value for their organisations. It is just a matter of understanding their current situation and filling their most important gaps.
Learn more about AVEVA Operations Control here.
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