NI (formerly National Instruments) has been making some intriguing moves in the last year or so under CEO Eric Starkloff. I wrote recently about Software as a Service and other “as-a-Service” business models. And more recently how HPE is continuing to pivot from primarily a hardware supplier to serious software and as-a-Service model. And a recent post discussed some radical moves at Rockwell Automation in these same software lines. So, NI is rapidly building out a new business model. Which is good. I wondered how they’d grow a business out of (admittedly excellent) hardware. Pay attention to what is happening here. 

NI’s release points out that this news, “Underscores company vision to connect test data through software to optimize product development lifecycle.”

NI announced October 6 the appointment of Thomas Benjamin as Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Head of Product Analytics. Thomas will lead NI’s development of software-driven business models essential to the test and measurement market, while driving disruptive technology innovation. The CTO role will be pivotal in driving new and long-term growth opportunities for the company, including new areas tied to data, product analytics, and enterprise software. 

Additionally, the company announced the promotion of Scott Rust, an experienced NI leader, to the role of Executive Vice President, Platform & Products. In this role, he will lead NI’s global development teams responsible for building the products required to meet customer needs and the platform capabilities to create differentiation and leverage across NI’s business. 

“Thomas joins a strong team of NI leaders and will accelerate our ability to use software, data, and new business models to drive growth across our business,” said Eric Starkloff, NI CEO. “The combination of Thomas’ external experience and software knowledge with Scott’s deep understanding of NI’s platform and customers will enable us to reach an even higher degree of customer and business success.”

Thomas comes to NI with extensive experience building software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud native solutions powered by APIs, data, and insights. Most recently he was the CTO and SVP of Technology at SAP Ariba. His career has also included CTO and VP roles at General Electric and Emirates Group, and technology leadership roles at Visa, Walmart, and Oracle.

“NI’s position as a leader in automated test and measurement software and hardware is an excellent match for my track record of implementing robust business models based on a strong technology foundation,” said Thomas Benjamin, NI CTO. “I’m passionate about providing value to customers through the right blend of people, process, innovation and products, and I’m confident that the talent at NI enables limitless possibilities to change how we engineer the future.”

At NI, we bring together the people, ideas and technology so forward thinkers and creative problem solvers can take on humanity’s biggest challenges. From data and automation to research and validation, we provide the tailored, software-connected systems engineers and enterprises need to Engineer Ambitiously™ every day.

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