Senior management have always been reluctant to invest in technology and especially upgrades once a technology is in place. I have seen instances where management lays off the senior engineers who implemented something like Advanced Process Control or Manufacturing Execution Systems keeping a recent graduate engineer to maintain the system, if even that. Management sees only a large salary cost reduction. Rarely is maintaining momentum a virtue.
I have been in way too many of these discussions in my career. I’ve seen results one way or another. There have been the instances where they had to hire back the laid off engineer at higher consultant rates to get the system back up and running properly.
So, this report from CIMdata detailing research on PLM software upgrading was hardly surprising. Disturbing, perhaps, but not surprising.
Digital transformation is a popular topic, and CIMdata has written much about it. While many still wonder whether digital transformation is real or just the latest buzzword, many industrial companies are taking its promise very seriously.
While it is clear to all within the PLM community that PLM is foundational to a meaningful digitalization program (or digital transformation strategy), this truth is not always understood by senior leadership within companies. While CIMdata believes that the level of investment in digital transformation is appropriate, based on our research and experience we find that executive awareness of the dependency of digital transformation on PLM is lacking. This lack of understanding of its association to PLM-related investment, sustainability and impacts on business performance and benefits puts many digital transformation programs at risk of becoming yet another program of the month.
This research on obsolescence identified areas that increased the cost of technology refresh and found that heavy customization was at the top of the list. This aligns with CIMdata’s experience in the field and is why companies strive to be more out-of-the-box with their PLM implementations. CIMdata’s view is that customization can add significant value to a PLM implementation, but it needs to be either business or cost justified and deliver an appropriate return on investment over the long-term (i.e., even through subsequent solution upgrades).
A new study from CIMdata exposes the financial risk many organizations face when they take PLM upgrades for granted. According to the study, the cost of upgrades with legacy PLM vendors can average between $732,000 and $1.25 million. The study – which compares industry heavyweights such as Dassault, PTC, and Siemens – finds the Aras PLM platform is easiest to keep current. Aras users upgrade more frequently, over a shorter duration, and at less cost than other leaders in the space.
What’s behind PLM obsolescence? According to CIMdata, “A sustainable PLM solution is one that can meet current and future business requirements with an acceptable return on investment (ROI) via incremental enhancements and upgrades.” But as clearly shown in the research, many companies using PLM software are not staying current. The five reasons are:
1. Technically Impossible. Typically, after an arduous deployment and the necessary customization to meet the businesses current needs, the software is no longer capable of upgrading.
2. No ROI. If you take a year to upgrade and it costs close to a million dollars, the cost and impact to the business is so outrageous it can’t be justified.
3. No Budget. Not having the budget is a real concern, but often the lack of budget is a mistake—a mis-prioritization of what’s important to your organization’s future growth, often combined with a high percentage of the overall budget being consumed by technical debt.
4. Companies overinvest and therefore are committed. The only thing worse than spending large amounts of money on the wrong thing is doubling down and spending more, expecting a better experience. The pandemic has accelerated the need to change, to expect transformation with less risk, less cost, and greater ROI that will lead to greater business resiliency. Throwing good money after bad is no longer being tolerated—there is more of a focus on the bottom-line and doing more with less.
5. Leadership Doesn’t Understand Dependency of Digital Transformation on PLM. If your PLM system hasn’t been upgraded in years and isn’t the foundation for continuous digital transformation efforts, there is an absolute lack of understanding of how PLM can transform a business.
Our schedules finally converged. I caught up with Tom Bradicich, PhD, known within Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as “Dr. Tom,” to learn the latest on the converged edge. Tom is one of the half-dozen or so people I know who can dump so much information on my brain that it takes some time to digest and organize it. He led development of the Edgeline device connecting with the Industrial Internet of Things. He is now VP and HPE Fellow leading HPE Labs developing software to come to grips with the complexities of the converged edge and “Converged Edge-as-a-Service”.
He likes to organize his thoughts in numerical groups. I’m going to discuss converged edge below with his groupings:
4 Stages of the Edge
7 Reasons for IoT and the Edge
3 Act Play
The foundation of the converged edge is found in the 3 C’s:
- Perpetual Connectivity
- Pervasive Computing
- Precision Controls
I remember Tony Perkins following up the demise of Red Herring magazine (charting the hot startup and M&A craze of the 90s, the magazine grew so large it came in two volumes for a while) with an online group called AlwaysOn. Trouble is, back in the 90s, we weren’t “always on.” Persistent connectivity was beyond our technology back then. Now, however, things have changed. We have so much networking, with more to come, that perpetual connectivity is not only possible, but also mundane.
HPE didn’t take a personal computer and package it for the edge. It developed Edgeline with the power of its enterprise compute along with enterprise grade stacks. It is powerful.
Then we have the 4 Stages of the Edge:
- Things—sensors and actuators
- Data Capture & Controls
- Edge IT (networking, compute, storage)
- Remote Cloud or Data Center
This is where Internet of Things meets the Enterprise.
Why do we need edge compute and not just IoT-to-Cloud? 7 Reasons:
- Minimize Latency
- Reduce bandwidth
- Lower cost
- Reduce threats
- Avoid duplication
- Improve reliability
- Maintain compliance
The Converged Edge is a 3-Act Play:
- Edgeline systems & software; stack identicality
- Converged embedded PXI and OT Link
- Converged Edge-as-a-Service
At this point in time, we are faced with 12 challenges to implementation:
- Limited bandwidth
- Smaller footprint for control plane and container
- Limited to no IT skills at the edge
- Higher ratio of control systems for compute/storage nodes
- Provisioning & lifecycle management of OT systems and IoT devices
- OT applications are primarily “stateful”, cloud unfriendly
- Data from analog world & industrial protocols
- Unreliable connectivity—autonomous disconnect operation
- Higher security vulnerabilities
- Hostile and unfamiliar physical environments and locations
- Long-tail hardware and software revenue model—many sites, fewer systems
- Deep domain expertise needed for the many unique edges
Of course, we could go into each of these items. Dr. Tom does in one of his latest talks (I believe it was at Hannover). We should pause at number 12, though. This is an often-overlooked necessity by AI evangelists and other predictive maintenance would-be disrupters. When you begin messing with industrial, whether process or discrete manufacturing, it really pays to know the process deeply.
I can’t believe I summarized this in less than a 600-word essay (is that still the common university requirement?). It is just an outline, but it should reveal where HPE has been and where it is going. I think its power will be disruptive to industrial architectures.
We’ve seen news about the clouds of many IT companies. Here is news about Oracle. Two companies are collaborating to bring Oracle customers to the Oracle Cloud. In so doing, they wish to help the customers achieve “digital transformation.” Someday we may have a definitive explanation of just what this digital transformation is. It isn’t in this news. But I believe that this instance means making a company’s digital data available.
Kalypso, a professional services firm, announced its partnership with AVATA, a services provider for Oracle Cloud, enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), and enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions. The partnership will help clients accelerate digital transformation initiatives with Oracle’s suite of Cloud applications. Both Kalypso and AVATA have long-established and successful Oracle practices; the partnership extends each firms’ expertise and reaches to deliver more comprehensive SCM, ERP, product lifecycle management (PLM), and enterprise data management (EDM) solutions through Oracle’s Cloud technology.
The two firms complement each other’s Oracle Cloud application implementation capabilities. AVATA delivers strategic and implementation services related to Oracle’s SCM, ERP, and EPM solutions, and Kalypso provides services related to Oracle’s PLM, EDM, and emerging applications, such as IoT, blockchain and data science. With this combined expertise, the partnership can provide comprehensive coverage across Oracle’s Cloud applications portfolio to accelerate digital innovation and Industry 4.0 initiatives.
“We’re excited to combine forces with AVATA to deliver increased value for our rapidly expanding Cloud client base,” said Nigel Hallett, Oracle Practice Managing Director, Kalypso. “As digital transformation and Cloud have become even more critical to business success as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership will enable us to better support our clients by helping them leverage the power of Oracle’s comprehensive, integrated Cloud solutions.”
Leveraging both companies’ experience from hundreds of Oracle implementations, the combined solutions portfolio and services expertise will help Oracle customers:
- Migrate legacy/on-premises Oracle applications to the Cloud
- Develop value-based solution roadmaps for digital transformation
- Enable the digital thread with end-to-end Oracle Cloud enterprise solutions
- Accelerate innovation by increasing connectivity and insights in the enterprise value chain
“We’re honored to partner with Kalypso to help our clients maximize the value of Oracle’s Cloud applications,” said Kevin Martin, Vice President, Sales, and Solutions, AVATA. “Kalypso’s strategic expertise complements ours well, and we look forward to joining forces to help our clients expand and make the most of their digital investments.”
Kalypso, a Rockwell Automation company, is a professional services firm helping clients discover, create, make and sell better products with digital. The firm provides consulting, digital, technology, business process management, and managed services across the innovation value chain. For more information, visit http://kalypso.com
AVATA is a leading strategic partner of Oracle and is recognized for its global capabilities in
helping companies solve critical business challenges through people, processes, and technology. We offer the unique blend of real-world industry experience, best practices, and software expertise that sets us apart from pure system integrators. Leveraging Oracle SCM and ERP Cloud solutions, we provide our clients with a strategy that fits their organization and competitive processes that differentiate them in their respective markets and successfully deliver rapid improvements impacting bottom-line performance. AVATA is headquartered in the US with resources throughout the USA, Australia, India, and Europe. Follow AVATA on Twitter and LinkedIn. For more info, visit www.avata.com.
OK, we probably already know that companies who had invested in digital technology before the pandemic were prepared to ramp it up and survive—both commercially and with the sudden work-from-home necessity. This research report bears that out. It is also paid for by a mobility provider, so the research results showing potential growth in that market is hardly surprising.
However, if you are on the fence about technology investments, consider this research from Stratix Corporation, and VDC Research surveying North America-based IT stakeholders to better understand how they adapted their technology programs to rapid disruption due to the pandemic, and gauge the impact of these changes on their investment and larger strategic initiatives for their mobile and frontline workforces.
The survey’s findings establish that only those already ahead of the curve on IT investments were able to continue operating normally. Consequently, those same innovative organizations are now most aggressively expanding their mobile technology investments and capabilities in response to COVID-19. This leaves the trailing majority of businesses that were most impacted by the pandemic in dire need of establishing their own “new normal” of baseline mobile technologies to empower them with the flexibility necessary to remain productive and competitive.
Additional findings from the report include:
- Organizations using MMS were 36% more likely to continue to operate normally with no revenue impact from COVID-19, than those who did not use MMS.
- 55.4% of respondents invested in additional mobile technologies in response to the pandemic, and 47.7% added new mobile programs.
- More than 75% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that COVID-related disruptions have transformed the ways in which their organizations engage and do business with their customers.
- 33.2% say COVID-19 has aggressively accelerated the pace at which they pursue and roll out new IT/mobile technology projects.
- Amongst those who are aggressively accelerating IT investment, 61% are most likely to move to a 1:1 model of device deployment, a significant paradigm shift away from corporate-owned shared devices.
“This paper and the research done to support it both highlight the organizational characteristics that enabled successful pandemic pivoting – factors such as a flexible IT infrastructure and mature technology vendor partnerships proved critical,” said Pat Nolan, Analyst, Enterprise Mobility & the Connected Worker with VDC Research. “Moreover, this research leverages firsthand insights to provide guidance regarding the cross-industry accelerated focus on disruption readiness that will be grounded in increased mobile technology investments and partnerships.”
“The VDC findings showcase the need for flexible IT infrastructure and the substantial value MMS provides the enterprise,” said Stratix Senior Vice President Marketing Elizabeth Klingseisen. “It’s clear that a combination of innovative planning and expert IT partners well-versed in technology deployments and support for mobile workforces is a must-have to successfully navigate disruption.”
The full survey results and findings can be found in the Enterprise Mobility Outlook: Thriving and Amidst Disruption Through Mobile First Strategies research report.
I first heard about the Open Manufacturing Platform during my last trip to Germany, well, my last business trip anywhere, last February. I wrote about it here–Open Manufacturing Platform Expands.This effort, led by Microsoft and BMW joined by ZF, Bosch, and ABInBev, “helps manufacturers leverage advanced technologies to gain greater operational efficiencies, factory output, customer loyalty, and net profits.” That’s a tall order. These are companies that I’ve seen leverage technology for improvements over the years. This should be an advancement.
This month’s news items (2) relating to OMP include NI through its recent acquisition Optimal Plus joining the organization and a new deliverable from the OMP’s working group.
NI says that it has joined OMP “with the goal of establishing an architecture and standards for auto manufacturers to better leverage and automate analytics to improve quality, reliability and safety.”
I had an opportunity to interview Michael Schuldenfrei, NI Fellow and OptimalPlus CTO about smart manufacturing, what OptimalPlus adds to NI, and OMP. The roots of OptimalPlus lie in enterprise software relative to manufacturing of semiconductors. An early customer was Qualcomm who used the software to collect and analyze data from its numerous manufacturing plants. It branched out into assemblies, such as with a new customer Nvidia. Later the company added mechatronics to its portfolio. That was a good tie in with NI.
Rather than become just another smart manufacturing application focusing on machines, OptimalPlus brings its focus to the product being manufactured. Given NI’s strength in test and measurement, this was a definite synergy. As I have written before here and here, this enterprise software addition to NI’s portfolio is just what the company needs to advance a level.
Michael told me he was an early advocate for OMP due to seeing how his technology worked with Tier 1 automotive suppliers to drive digital transformation process.
NI announced that its latest acquisition, OptimalPlus, has joined the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP), a consortium led by BMW, Microsoft, ZF, Bosch and ABInBev that helps manufacturers leverage advanced technologies to gain greater operational efficiencies, factory output, customer loyalty, and net profits.
The OMP’s goals include creating a “Manufacturing Reference Architecture” for platform-agnostic, cloud-based data collection, management, analytics and other applications. This framework will provide a standard way to connect to IoT devices on equipment and define a semantic layer that unifies data across disparate data sources. All in all, this has the potential to create a rich, open-source ecosystem that enables faster and easier adoption of smart manufacturing technologies.
In the same way that interpreters at the United Nations help delegates communicate and make new policies, standardized data formats accelerate the adoption of big data and machine learning, creating a universal translator between multiple machine and process types. OptimalPlus, now part of NI, will bring to OMP its vast domain expertise in automotive manufacturing processes and provide leading production companies with actionable insights and adaptive methods from its big data analytics platform.
“We’re honored to be invited to join the prestigious Open Manufacturing Platform, which plays a key role in helping manufacturers all over the world innovate,” said Uzi Baruch, VP of NI’s Transportation business unit. “With pressure mounting to ensure quality and prevent faulty parts from shipping, it’s important that manufacturers have access to the transformative powers of AI, machine learning and big data analytics. We’re excited to collaborate with industry leaders in the OMP consortium to help manufacturers evolve and optimize their processes.”
AI and advanced analytics help to streamline manufacturing, reduce costs and improve quality, reliability and safety. OMP makes it easier for manufacturers to deploy this technology across their operations and fulfill the promise of smart manufacturing.
White Paper: Insights Into Connecting Industrial IoT Assets
The second bit of news describes a first deliverable from the OMP as it progresses toward its objective.
OMP announced delivery of a critical milestone with the publication of our first white paper. The IoT Connectivity Working Group, chaired by Sebastian Buckel and co-chaired by Dr. Veit Hammerstingl of the BMW Group, authored Insights Into Connecting Industrial IoT Assets. Contributions from member companies Capgemini, Cognizant, Microsoft, Red Hat, and ZF present a consensus view of the connectivity challenges and best practices in IIoT as the 4th industrial revolution unfolds. This paper is the initial publication laying out an approach to solving connectivity challenges while providing a roadmap for future OMP work.
Manufacturing at an Inflection Point
The intersection of information technology (IT) and operational technologies (OT), as well as the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), presents opportunities and threats to the entire manufacturing sector. In manufacturing, multiple challenges complicate the connection of sensors, actuators, and machines to a central data center. Lack of common standards and proprietary interfaces leads each engineer to solve similar problems, introducing inefficiencies and forcing the same learning curve’s ascension over and over. The long renewal cycles of shop floor equipment, software, and processes present gaps in modern technologies and a general avoidance of making significant institutional changes. This initial publication begins to tackle these problems and lays the groundwork for future, more detailed work.
Each connectivity challenge will have a range of diverse constituents and the content of this paper addresses issues faced by individuals and teams across job functions. Operational technology (OT) professionals are responsible for the commissioning, operation, and maintenance of shop floor equipment. Information technology (IT) personnel look after overall data processing, the hardware and software infrastructure, and enterprise-wide IT strategy. General managers and logistics teams are typically aligned at a corporate level, coordinating processes across a network of plants. Each of these functions will have roles spanning from operational hands-on to strategic and managerial. The unique demands of each part will require connectivity solutions to be forward-thinking and value-accretive while offering practical solutions implemented with minimal incremental investment.
Industrial IoT Challenges
Also explored in the paper, are the IIoT devices’ critical real-time needs for repeatability and high availability. An example is an AI model that optimizes the parameters of a bending machine based on the current air temperature and humidity. Possible connection failures or high latencies can lead to stopped or interrupted processes or products with insufficient quality.
Manufacturing throughput requirements vary from low bandwidth for simple sensors using small packets to much higher bandwidth required for streaming data for video analytics, vibration sensors, or AR/VR visualization. A holistic connectivity solution can address this complexity successfully, spanning from the individual devices on the shop floor up through edge gateways and servers to the central data center or cloud resources such as compute and storage.
Networks are usually customized to their precise environment and the desired function, and therefore can be very complex.
In the white paper, we discuss the functions of each of the network levels, their benefits and limitations, and security considerations. Additional sections of the document cover common challenges in IIoT, connectivity levels, basic principles for successful connectivity solutions, communication types, and best practices for program implementation.
I keep wondering when some enterprising entrepreneur or integrator (most likely not an incumbent in the automation sector) will check out the coming decoupling of software and hardware, latch onto the readily available high performance compute platforms, and totally disrupt the market. Maybe never. Maybe the market is too small? I see the possibilities!
New HPE GreenLake cloud services for HPC will enable any enterprise to run their most demanding workloads with fully managed, pre-bundled HPC cloud services to operate in any data center or colocation environment.
Today’s news from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) packs potential. Check out the customer references toward the bottom of the release for a suggestion of the import to industrial and manufacturing applications.
HPE announced it is offering its HPC solutions as a service through HPE GreenLake. The new HPE GreenLake cloud services for HPC allow customers to combine the power of an agile, elastic, pay-per-use cloud experience with the world’s most-proven, market-leading HPC systems from HPE. Now any enterprise can tackle their most demanding compute and data-intensive workloads, to power AI and ML initiatives, speed time to insight, and create new products and experiences through a flexible as-a-service platform that customers can run on-premises or in a colocation facility.
It removes the complexity and cost associated with traditional HPC deployments by delivering fully managed, pre-bundled services based on purpose-built HPC systems, software, storage and networking solutions that come in small, medium or large options. Customers can order these through a self-service portal with simple point-and-click functions to choose the right configuration for their workload needs and receive services in as little as 14 days.
“The massive growth in data, along with Artificial Intelligence and high performance analytics, is driving an increased need for HPC in enterprises of all sizes, from the Fortune 500 to startups,” said Peter Ungaro, senior vice president and general manager, HPC and Mission Critical Solutions (MCS) at HPE. “We are transforming the market by delivering industry-leading HPC solutions in simplified, pre-configured services that control costs and improve governance, scalability and agility through HPE GreenLake. These HPC cloud services enable any enterprise to access the most powerful HPC and AI capabilities and unlock greater insights that will power their ability to advance critical research and achieve bold customer outcomes.”
HPC provides massive computing power, along with modeling and simulation capabilities, to turn complex data into digital models that help researchers and engineers understand what something will look like and perform in the real world. HPC also provides optimal performance to run AI and analytics to increase predictability. These combined capabilities are used to solve challenges from vaccine discovery and weather forecasting to improving designs of cars, planes and even personal and consumer products such as shampoo and laundry detergent.
Enterprises can deploy these services in any data center environment, whether on-premises in their own enterprise or in a colocation facility, and gain fully managed services that allow them to pay for only what they use, empowering them to focus on running their projects to increase time-to-insight and accelerate innovation.
HPE will initially offer an HPC service based on HPE Apollo systems, combined with storage and networking technologies, which are purpose-built for running modeling and simulation workloads. The service also leverages key HPC software for HPC workload management, support for HPC-specific containers and orchestration, and HPC cluster management and monitoring. HPE plans to expand the rest of its HPC portfolio to as-a-service offerings in the future.
Customers can choose these bundles from small, medium or large configurations, receive in as little as 14 days, and gain a fully managed service from HPE.
As part of the offering, customers will gain the following features to easily manage, deploy and control costs for their HPC services:
- HPE GreenLake Central offers an advanced software platform for customers to manage and optimize their HPC services.
- HPE Self-service dashboard enables users to run and manage HPC clusters on their own, without disrupting workloads, through a point-and-click function.
- HPE Consumption Analytics provides at-a-glance analytics of usage and cost based on metering through HPE GreenLake.
- HPC, AI & App Services standardizes and packages HPC workloads into containers, making it easier to modernize, transfer and access data. The factory process is leveraged by experts to quickly move applications into a container platform as needed.
From Research to Reality: Improving Accuracy, Product Design and Quality
Zenseact, a software developer for autonomous driving solutions based in Sweden and China, uses HPE’s HPC solutions as-a-service through HPE GreenLake for modeling and simulation capabilities to analyze the hundreds of petabytes of data it generates globally from its network of test vehicles and software development centers. The solutions help fuel Zenseact’s mission to model and simulate autonomous driving experiences to develop next-generation software to support driver safety.
“At Zenseact, our mission is to improve Advanced Driver-Assisted Systems and Automated Driving to create robust and flexible solutions that will push the envelope in technological innovation and transform the driving experience,” said Robert Tapper, CIO at Zenseact. “By deploying HPE’s high performance computing solutions as-a-service with HPE GreenLake, we are addressing our mission by performing 10,000 simulations per second, based on driving data from our test cars, to accelerate insights for designing software to enable safe autonomous vehicles.”
Other enterprise use case examples include:
- Building safer cars – Car manufacturers can model and test vehicle functions to improve designs, from simulating effectiveness of rubber types in tires to performing crash simulations to test impact for potential injuries to drivers and passengers.
- Improving manufacturing with sustainable materials: Simulation is used to discover new materials for additional, sustainable options for aluminum and plastic packaging to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
- Making critical millisecond-decisions in finance markets: Financial analysts can predict critical stock trends and trade, and even improve risk management, in milliseconds in a fast-paced financial services environment where quick and accurate insight is critical.
- Advancing discovery for drug treatment: Scientists at research labs and pharmaceutical companies can perform complex simulations to understand biological and chemical interactions that can lead to new drug therapies for curing diseases.
- Accelerating oil & gas exploration – Performing simulations, combined with dedicated seismic analytics, can increase discovery and accuracy of oil reservoirs while reducing overall exploration safety risks and costs by identifying when and where to drill for oil.
Optimizing the HPC Experience with a Dedicated HPC Partner Ecosystem
HPE has a robust ecosystem of HPC partners to help enterprises easily deploy solutions for any workload need, in any data center environment. Partners include:
- Colocation Facilities: Customers can free up their own real estate by choosing to deploy their HPC systems and equipment in a colocation facility and use their services remotely through HPE GreenLake. HPE colocation partners for HPC deployments, which provide scalable, energy-efficient data centers, include atNorth (formerly Advania Data Center), CyrusOne and ScaleMatrix.
- Independent Software Vendors (ISV): HPE collaborates with partners, such as Activeeon, Ansys, Core Scientific and TheUberCloud to provide solutions to optimize a range of software application needs from automation, artificial intelligence, analytics and blockchain to computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD) that are critical to improving time-to-market for manufacturing, engineering and product design.
Initial pre-bundled offerings for HPE GreenLake cloud services for high performance computing (HPC) will be generally available in spring of 2021 for customers globally.
HPE plans to expand HPE GreenLake cloud services for HPC to additional technologies, which includes Cray-based compute, software, storage and networking solutions, in the future.
All HPE GreenLake cloud services, including for HPC, are available through HPE’s channel partner program.