It’s a Game Changer! That’s the theme of the 2014 Schneider Electric Software Global Conference in Orlando. I’ve been to more than 100 of these things, but this the first one that kicked off with a high school marching band.

The first news of the conference was the agreement to acquire InStep Software, a provider of real-time performance management and predictive asset analytics software and solutions. Schneider expects this acquisition to deepen its presence in the power and energy market. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014, subject to customary regulatory and other closing conditions.

“Acquiring InStep Software is indicative of our commitment to delivering game-changing technology and powerful new solutions that improve efficiency, manage risk and drive higher levels of customer value,” said Ravi Gopinath, Ph.D., executive vice president, Schneider Electric Global Solutions, Software Business. “They have a proven, experienced team who are dedicated to helping their customers achieve new levels of value, performance and profitability, and we are delighted to welcome them to Schneider Electric.”

InStep Software will continue to be managed by its existing executive team, adding approximately 70 employees to Schneider Electric’s operations in the United States. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Schneider recently had announced a new extension to the SimSci product line. Now we have an acquisition. I take this to mean that Schneider has seriously decided to become a software company. I’ve never thought of the company as having a commitment to software.

Gopinath just used a word I used some time ago. Stability. These manufacturing software companies (Wonderware, SimSci, Avantis plus Foxboro, Triconex, etc.) under the instability of Invensys were threatened. Perhaps the stability of Schneider Electric will help these grow and prosper.

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