ERP Installation Pain A Thing of the Past

ERP Installation Pain A Thing of the Past

I grew up on (ERP) pain. The quickest way to find unemployment was to be selected to be the program manager implementing the company’s new ERP system. Actually, in reality the death was long, slow, and painful. A new study conducted by my old friend Cindy Jutras lays the old myth to rest.

Ultra Consultants, an independent enterprise solution consulting firm serving the manufacturing and distribution sector, published an industry survey conducted by Mint Jutras, researchers specializing in analyzing the business impact of enterprise applications. The in-depth report resulting from the survey is titled The Real Facts about ERP Implementation: Busting the Myth of Failure, But Are You Overrating Your Success?

In late 2018, Mint Jutras surveyed more than 300 North American manufacturers and distributors, focusing on the success of their ERP implementations in terms of schedule, cost and return on investment (ROI). The study of ERP implementation success by manufacturers and distributors found 67 percent rate their implementations as successful or very successful.

The report findings show that previous statistics related to lack of ERP implementation success rates are out of date, and “flip the script” on often cited success rates from previous years. Highlights of the study include:

  • The Mint Jutras/Ultra Consultants study found that the primary reasons for success had to do with people and process, and not just software. Key success factors include top management support and change management.
  • Reasons for lack of implementation success include inadequate business process re-engineering and inadequate project planning.
  • While many ERP implementations meet expectations in terms of schedule, budget and ROI, the Mint Jutras/Ultra Consultants study shows a significant number of manufacturing and distribution companies over-rate their success and leave additional attainable returns on the table.

“ERP project disasters were quite common in the early days of ERP. It’s noteworthy that this study reveals as myth the once-cited high rates of failure in terms of schedules, costs and payback,” notes Cindy Jutras, President of Mint Jutras. “Solutions today are far more technology-enabled, easier to implement and use. Equally important is management support of the project, and change management initiatives.”

Notes Jeff Carr, Founder and CEO of Ultra Consultants, “This research study reflects the performance of current offerings of modern ERP systems now available to manufacturers and distributors. The report shows that the majority of ERP implementations drive value, are on time and meet budget expectations. It also reveals the importance of setting goals for a project, and putting the focus on people and processes, not just technology.”

Eclipse in Open Source IoT Leadership

Eclipse in Open Source IoT Leadership

The greater IT community makes abundant use of open source projects. These projects have proven great worth in operating systems, networking, and applications. The OT community, well, not so much. Maybe some. Microsoft and Dell Technologies, among many others, have donated millions of lines of code to open source projects.

However, the Internet of Things has proven to be one of the places where IT and OT can come together.

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Foundation has been a favorite of mine for probably 20 years. I remember downloading and playing with the Eclipse IDE for Java a long time ago. The foundation makes the news again this year announcing open source advancements in IoT.

It announced major milestones that make Eclipse IoT a leading collaboration of vendors working together to define an open, modular architecture to accelerate commercial IoT adoption. Similar to the early days of the Internet–where open source and vendor collaboration on standard building blocks brought the web to ubiquity–industry leaders including Bosch, Red Hat, Cloudera, and Eurotech are collaborating to standardize open source, modular IoT architecture components within the Eclipse IoT Working Group.

In 2011, the Eclipse IoT Working Group was launched with three projects aimed at reducing the complexity of developing Machine-to-Machine IoT solutions. Eclipse IoT quickly evolved as vendors signed up to collaborate on IoT’s end-to-end interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms. Today the Eclipse IoT community has grown to 37 projects, 41 member companies, and 350 contributors who are building IoT solutions based on Eclipse IoT code.

In a recent case study, Bosch Software Innovations detailed the reasons why it decided in 2015 to participate in Eclipse IoT and the major advantages that open source community involvement has brought to its cloud-based IoT platform, the Bosch IoT Suite. Bosch today has more than 60 developers working on Eclipse IoT projects and has contributed around 1.5 million lines of code. The Bosch IoT Suite is based on the Eclipse Ditto, Eclipse hawkBit, Eclipse Hono, and Eclipse Vorto open source projects.

“We have accomplished so much since we began our open source strategy at Bosch,” added Caroline Buck, Product Owner, Bosch IoT Suite. “Open source development has enabled us to transform how we build software internally and it is making our organization a better product company. Any company that is serious about IoT should consider an ‘open source first’ strategy. If you are planning to do open source IoT, then Eclipse IoT is THE community we recommend.”

In a recent report–Eclipse Foundation’s Open Source IoT Activity Reaches Critical Mass–industry analyst firm 451 Research concluded: “It is time to take a look at what Eclipse IoT has to offer as organizations that choose vendor-specific (proprietary) alternatives to get started begin to run into challenges regarding scale, complexity or cost that has them interested in open source alternatives. While it is not necessarily easier to get an IoT project up and running using open source software, the long-term advantages once an IoT system reaches critical scale are clear–more predictable costs and avoidance of vendor lock-in–and they are driving enterprises to investigate open source options.”

“We are proud that Eclipse IoT is the open source community of choice for commercial-grade IoT innovation,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Eclipse IoT projects are where industry leaders collaborate on developing the production-ready, interoperable, and flexible open source building blocks needed for the market adoption IoT. Our members are at the forefront of accelerating IoT innovation with the quality and sustainability that the Eclipse Foundation is known for.”

On Eclipse Foundation’s blog, Milinkovich described how–similar to the early trajectory of the commercial Internet, and the importance of the LAMP stack in particular–industrial IoT’s progress is being catalyzed by open source standards and interoperability that allow vendors to drive solutions forward while competing above the common infrastructure level. Eclipse IoT represents the largest open source community that’s driving these open, interoperable, and flexible components.

Eclipse IoT projects are broadly grouped under three categories of innovation critical for building an end-to-end IoT architecture:

  • Constrained Devices — the set of libraries that can be deployed on a constrained embedded device to provide a complete IoT development stack.
  • Edge Device Gateways — projects that provide capabilities to coordinate the connectivity of a group of sensors and actuators to each other and to external networks.
  • IoT Cloud Platform — projects that deliver the highly scalable, multi-cloud software infrastructure and services required to manage and integrate devices and their data. These technologies support deployment flexibility for running IoT workloads at the edge, on any of the leading cloud platforms (e.g. Amazon Web services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud), or in enterprise data centers. These projects also facilitate the interoperability of Eclipse IoT-based solutions with existing enterprise applications and other IoT solutions.

In addition to the Bosch IoT Suite, Eclipse IoT technologies are powering production-ready, commercial IoT offerings from other leading vendors. Eurotech’s award-winning Everyware IoT integrated IoT portfolio is based on Eclipse IoT projects. Everyware Software Framework is an enterprise-ready IoT edge framework based on Eclipse Kura, a Java/OSGi middleware for IoT gateways. Everyware Cloud, an enterprise-ready edition of Eclipse Kapua, offers an open, modular, and microservices-based IoT cloud platform.

“The market adoption of new business models is driving the demand for more agile, secure, and flexible solutions based on open standards and open source technologies. This trend contributed to Eurotech’s decision, in 2012, to become a founding member of the Eclipse IoT Working Group hosted by the Eclipse Foundation”, said Giuseppe Surace, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Eurotech. “The Eclipse Foundation is the place where industry leaders collaborate to deliver innovative and extensible tools, frameworks, and runtime components for an open development environment. Within Eclipse IoT, Eurotech is working with Cloudera, Red Hat, and others to develop key IoT runtimes and other enabling technologies that will deliver an integrated, end-to-end open IoT architecture. Eurotech was the original contributor to the Eclipse Kura and Eclipse Kapua projects within the IoT Working Group. Our core objective is to ensure that when customers are ready to deploy IoT, the solutions will be there.”

IoT ecosystem leaders join Eclipse IoT to take advantage of the following opportunities:

  • Participate in industry collaborations to develop common open IoT platforms for Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, Smart Home, Edge Computing, and more.
  • Ensure the quality and sustainability of an end-to-end enterprise IoT architecture fully based on open source and open standards
  • Play a role in defining Eclipse IoT strategic priorities
  • Gain insights into the Eclipse IoT technology roadmap and direction
  • Benchmark and learn best practices from peers for leveraging open IoT technologies to accelerate product development and improve time-to-revenue

Learn more about joining the Eclipse IoT or participating in any of its projects.

186 Women In Engineering Careers – a Podcast Conversation

186 Women In Engineering Careers – a Podcast Conversation

As march into Women’s History Month, I welcome Isabel Yang, CTO at Advanced Energy Industries. As a minority woman in a C suite position at a publicly traded manufacturing company, Isabel has a plethora of unique insight on her path to success as well as advice for all women looking to spearhead their careers.

Yang says, “I believe women need to shape their own destiny in their careers and lives. Now more than ever, we must work to establish a set of core skills early in our careers and gradually grow ourselves into experts, then progressively branch out to learn about adjacent areas or new areas to acquire new skills.”

Encouraging Women To Pursue Technical Work

Encouraging Women To Pursue Technical Work

I meant to post this Friday on the actual International Women’s Day, but since it is not an actual anniversary day, I guess missing by the weekend is OK.

Back in the 60s in my freshman engineering class, there were 700 total students. Seven were women. Plus, almost all the faces were white.

Today when I go to a technical conference the proportion of women is large. Perhaps 40% or so. And the cultural mix is similarly large. In many ways we have progressed. In other ways, there are still people, processes, and systems that prevent many people, especially women, from pursuing a technical career.

Several media relations people reached out to propose interviews with women in technology in order to tease out their career path as an example to others. Now, the junior and senior high girls who would be the target do not read this blog. I know, that is shocking! However, you are reading, and you could be encouraged to pass the thoughts along to those who might benefit from encouragement.

One such interview was with Isabel Yang, CTO at Advanced Energy Industries She is both (as described by the PR person) woman and minority, an MIT PhD in engineering, who now holds a C-suite position at a publicly traded manufacturing company. We actually recorded the conversation which will appear as Episode 186 on my long-running podcast series Gary on Manufacturing.

She told me, “I believe women need to shape their own destiny in their careers and lives. Now more than ever, we must work to establish a set of core skills early in our careers and gradually grow ourselves into experts, then progressively branch out to learn about adjacent areas or new areas to acquire new skills.” She lived this out as an engineer honing one expertise, then as a business strategy analyst, then finally putting it all together as chief technology officer.

Last week I attended the ABB Customer World conference in Houston. Here, my media contact set up an interview with Susan Peterson Sturm, Digital Lead for Oil & Gas at ABB, and a cybersecurity expert.

She told me that people may not get a degree in cyber security. What happens is perhaps a woman earns a technical degree. As she becomes involved on an engineering team, she sees problems involving cyber security. Perhaps she becomes curious and dives deeper into the field. She reads articles and books, goes to conferences, makes contacts in the field. Then she becomes recognized in the field and earns an assignment. At this point (if not before), she learns that just being technical isn’t enough. She must learn how to influence people. Her effectiveness rises. It’s a virtuous cycle.

ABB and Dassault Systèmes Partnership Unleashes Digital Twins

ABB and Dassault Systèmes Partnership Unleashes Digital Twins

Yesterday I tweeted ABB Chief Digital Officer Guido Jauret’s keynote at ABB Customer World that included the digital roadmap ABB is on including digital twin technology with a partnership with Dassault Systèmes. Then I realized I have not put the news on the blog.

This is an important step on ABB’s digital journey—something that has made impressive strides in two quickly moving years. Here is the news.

ABB and Dassault Systèmes announced a wide spanning global partnership to offer customers in digital industries a unique software solutions portfolio ranging from product life cycle management to asset health solutions. The two companies will provide customers an end-to-end offering of advanced open digital solutions, enhancing competitiveness of industrial companies, while increasing flexibility, speed and productivity of their products’ lifecycles, manufacturing and operations.

The partnership will combine the strengths of ABB Ability digital solutions and Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and build on both companies’ strong installed base, deep domain expertise, and global customer access. ABB has already adopted the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to model and simulate its solutions before delivering them to its customers. With this partnership, ABB will develop and provide customers with advanced digital twins, enabling customers to run ABB’s solutions and their operations with improved overall efficiency, flexibility and sustainability.

The companies will, in a staged approach, focus on factory automation and robotics, process industry automation, as well as electrification solutions for smart buildings. The first joint solutions will be showcased at the upcoming industrial Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, April 1-5, 2019.

“This game-changing partnership will serve our customers to lead in innovation and growth, fundamentally transforming their entire value chain to tap the vast opportunities of industrial digitalization. Together, we are offering an open, end-to-end digital portfolio – from digital twin to asset health – that gives our customers a competitive edge, building on our combined offering, domain expertise and global reach,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is adding Dassault Systèmes to its strong partner network for industrial digitalization, including Microsoft, HPE and IBM. We look very much forward to working with the entire global Dassault Systèmes team to drive innovation and customer value.”

“The Industry of the 21st century is no longer determined simply by the ability to manufacture goods. Today’s leaders will be determined by superior mastery of technical know-how. This is the new competitive differentiator and it’s happening now due to a convergence of digital technologies that are transforming every aspect of industrial business,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “In this industry renaissance, a platform approach enables the real and virtual worlds to inform and reinforce one another. Our partnership with ABB will draw from decades of combined expertise to help customers make the most of this powerful and dynamic trend.”

In today’s highly automated industries, digital factory modeling and flexible, robotized manufacturing systems help businesses to generate more design iterations at a quicker rate with more robust designs. This, in turn, helps to accelerate the shift from mass production to mass customization, where goods are manufactured in a greater variety and in smaller batches and in shorter product life cycles. For many manufacturers, the cost of downtime has dramatically increased in recent years as just-in-time delivery has become the norm. An hour of downtime at a modern production site can cost more than $1 million.

ABB has already a strong digital solution offering within the industry through its offering ABB AbilityTM. It was launched in 2017 and offers more than 210 digital solutions to plan, build and operate industrial operations with higher productivity and safety at lower costs.

Dassault Systèmes works with companies of all sizes in 11 industries to help them meet new challenges in today’s Industry Renaissance. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform integrates all the technologies and capabilities that leverage knowledge and know-how into one cohesive digital innovation environment that delivers digital continuity from concept to manufacturing to ownership and back. Industrial companies can integrate the platform’s 3D applications to create a digital twin that captures insights and expertise from across their entire ecosystem, to measure, assess and predict the performance of an industrial asset and help optimize its operation in an intelligent way.

The ABB – Dassault Systèmes partnership will initially focus on:

Factory Automation and Robotics

Digital twin experiences for end-to-end optimization of processes and systems, combined with the flexibility of robotics automation, will give factories the agility to adapt to increasingly dynamic markets. This includes ready-to-operate manufacturing solutions and services, along with joint consulting for industrial business transformation, to optimize and speed the launch of new products. Electronics makers can increase the production of new but short-lived products quickly, while food processors can alternate between locally tailored seasonal offerings while producing at high speed. In highly automated industries such as automotive, the digital twin experience of factories allows an integrated design and manufacturing environment to support new assembly processes with flexible and reconfigurable cells. It also makes it possible to link separate systems, such as connecting logistics automation systems to robots at work on manufacturing lines that rely on precise parts delivery for optimal production performance.

Smart Buildings

The digital partnership between Dassault Systèmes and ABB around digital twin systems will enable a seamless workflow during design, engineering and operation of buildings, as well as connected sustainable transportation solutions. The available information, in combination with Dassault Systèmes’ virtual universe 3DEXPERIENCE, will also allow greater customer interaction during the design specification phases and operation.

Process industries: Mining example

Competitive pressure in process industries, such as mining, requires companies to continuously look for new ways to increase safety, productivity and energy efficiency of sites, while reducing costs and risk of daily operations. A digital model of the underground environment, in connection with mine planning and control systems, would allow to optimize energy consumption and mine automation, as well as enable mine operators to monitor and optimize production in real-time, while running virtual simulations of future scenarios.

ABB Reveals Future Course at ABB Customer World

ABB Reveals Future Course at ABB Customer World

ABB Customer World began Monday, but keynotes began Tuesday. Uli Spiesshofer, ABB CEO, described a renewed and refocused business model. ABB is all in for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitalization with ABB Ability, says Spiesshofer.

ABB Ability is essentially a platform with APIs connecting field, edge, and cloud with Analytics as a Service built in.

Spiesshofer noted 2014 business plan for ABB was to No. 1 or 2 in the world in each of its businesses. With move of power grid business with Hitachi, by 2018 the goal had been accomplished.

ABB took three action steps in its latest corporate makeover—Focus on digital business, Simplify organization, and Shape four leading businesses that include power, electrification, industrial automation, motion, robotics and discrete automation. The simplified organization took the company from its historic matrix structure to solidify four business units with strong leadership. The move also reduced corporate overhead.

The recent partnership with Dassault adds digital twin capability enhancing digitalization. Later discussions talked about how this capability helps ABB have customer conversations earlier in the project lifecycle.

The featured partnership at ABB Customer World was with HPE with President and CEO Anthony Neri speaking. Neri says HPE is built with partnerships—some 70% of the business. He told the approximately 11,000 attendees that the partnership of the two companies was a great blending of IT and OT for the benefit of customers.

Neri discussed the importance of Edge to Cloud. The Edge defined as “places where we live and work” is also the primary source of data only 6% of which is utilized right now.

He concluded saying HPE wants to work for solutions to the world’s biggest problems. “We have an insatiable desire to understand everything.”

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