Yesterday I wrote about my conversation with Sudipta Bhattacharya and the Invensys FY11 financial results. What I wrote was mostly congruent with my colleague Walt. He spent more time speculating on Invensys Rail–but I know nothing about that market and will leave that discussion for others.
He did mention that much of the future depends upon Invensys Operations Management selling more of its “Enterprise Control Systems”. This is a question often brought up by Jim Pinto. I’ve also heard at least one other editor ask “How many ECSs have you sold?”
This is a common misconception brought about by the marketing messages from Invensys Operations Management–and before that both Wonderware and Invensys Process Systems. They were in such a rush to establish a brand that they sort of left the details for another day.
So, free of charge, I offer this analysis. I think this is a Yogi Berra quote, “There is no there there.” ECS is not really a noun. Or better stated, it isn’t an SKU. It sort of reminds me of the definition of Sequential Function Charts in IEC 61131-3–“an organizing principle.” It begins with a platform–branded ArchestrA–that allows components of instrumentation, control and information to work together. It is componentized, such that it can be built a component at a time atop the platform.
That is the reason Sudipta emphasized to me the importance of all the Wonderware licenses sold over the past two years–and that those licenses represent the base upon which other ECS components can be sold and implemented.
Even the financial report notes that ECS results are spread among the three primary units of IOM. They don’t sell ECS. They sell instrumentation (yes, they are still in that market even though a couple of years ago it appeared that they would be exiting it), systems, advanced software together. The parts are unified as ECS.
So what is it? It is the coherent strategy IOM uses to market all its products and services targeted to the needs of each unique customer.
And yes Walt (and everyone else), you’re right, its future rests on how well it explains that to its customers and makes the sale. It is the future of the company.