In preparation for the upcoming Foxboro User Conference in Boston, I received an opportunity to catch up with CEO Mike Caliel in order to hear how well his first seven months back in the saddle have gone.

Due to previous commitments, I won’t be able to attend, so this had to suffice. I do have a reporter covering the event. We’ll have some live coverage.

When we chatted in February (reported in my blog and at Automation World), Caliel noted that he thought that the Invensys Operations Management strategy was solid, and that he saw his task as one of execution–as well as providing assurance to customers and employees.

Caliel told me that the initial work has gone pretty much as planned, that is to engage with key clients and employees. Not so much focus on strategy, but on execution. He said he’s been taking the pulse, seeing “where we need to press the gas peddle a little harder.”

Next I asked about how things were going within the varioius groups within IOM, Software and Advanced Applications, and Control and Safety, and Measurement and Equipment. “I’m pleased with the alignment of investment decisions we’ve made based on what I’m hearing from clients. We’re extending technologies well, but some gaps need to be closed. In Control and Safety, we’re focused on providing a level of scalability and price/performance in those architectures with elegant and thoughtful path forward. Our development teams are focused there. We’ve got some exciting programs underway in instrumentation. It has performed extremely well, but we will invest to increase it. There are some exciting things in software that we’re working on. In sum, I’m pleased we have a good alignment with what marketplace is asking for.”

Asked to address current market demands, Caliel remarked, “Our customers still are under huge pressure to get as much as possible out of existing investments. They have a whole host of disparate systems, but they have to drive them effectively. People are also asked to hit unprecedented levels of utilization, performance, productivity (human as well as automation). Then there is limited availability of capital. We’re being asked to help clients find the path forward–not just to replace systems, but how to take existing business and move forward while modernizing. So for us it’s not only technologies, but also domain expertise.”

This all sounded like the problem that InFusion was meant to address, so I asked him about acceptance of that initiative. “It’s very much in the sweet spot,” he noted. “Or even the core or epicenter of helping clients merge the disparate systems. That’s pointed toward enterprise control. I believed in it in 2006 and now even more given the progress that’s been made. We’re continuing to evolve the strategy and the ArchestrA strategy. For example, as we talk to clients and they embrace new I/A platform, ArchestrA is standard issue with it. So it’s embedded as they adopt the new technology. It’s absolutely something that we need to get the message into the marketplace.”

Summarizing his experience of meeting so many people over the past seven months, Caliel said, “I’m very pleased with the technology, people and momentum. My bias is seeing to it we execute on the solid strategy.”

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