Podcast 210 They Don’t Look Like Athletes

The first writer to seriously look at the new phenomenon of data-driven analytics in baseball found himself allowed to sit in the locker room of the major league baseball team. He observed the players. Something naggged at his consciousness. Then it dawned on him—they didn’t look like athletes. Showering, getting dressed, no one really looked like a standout athlete. Yet, they were winning. Yes, said data-driven baseball exec Billy Beane, everyone else evaluates how players look. We look at their performance and indicators that they have future potential. But I really wanted to discuss Digital Transformation. And to transform digitally, you need to be (digital) data-driven.

Digital Twin Alliance to Address Complex Digital Transformational Challenges

In brief: Three Organizations Combine Expertise to Bring Digital Twins to Life, Create Added Value, and Deliver Support Across the Asset Lifecycle

The idea of an open system for data flow from engineering through construction to startup to operation & maintenance, and perhaps even to decommissioning has intrigued me for years. I have worked with MIMOSA and its Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem for many years. Check it out.

For the most part, suppliers have been a bit slow to this game. The way of the world is that automation vendors never liked the “open” part, since their design emphasizes tight integration of as many parts as possible under their proprietary umbrella.

An ecosystem is one thing, and a partnership is another. Sometimes companies announce partnerships with great flourish and publicity only to see the great promise wither from neglect. Sometimes end users (owner/operators) reap significant benefit.

With that background, I approach the announcement of a partnership. I like the idea, but execution and sustainability will be proof of the strength of this partnership. Note that two of the companies are sort of like “conjoined twins” joined at the hip.

From the announcement:

DORIS Group, global Engineering and Project Management company in the energy industry, Schneider Electric, supplier of products and solutions for digital transformation of energy management and automation, and AVEVA an engineering and industrial software supplier, have agreed to develop a strategic partnership to deliver Digital Twin technology for the upstream oil and gas markets.

These new solutions will support the goals of oil & gas organizations to improve asset performance, increase sustainability and maximize return on capital on projects.

The three companies will combine offerings to bring engineering capabilities, an asset lifecycle software solution and digital specialization in order to create a fully formed digital twin to serve as a backbone for improving performance for the upstream sector. The new solution will:

  • Bring new assets on stream faster through the use of cloud-enabled software that improves collaboration and increases engineering efficiencies
  • Deliver enhanced safety leading to better business outcomes
  • Improve traceability through a single point of accountability
  • Enable remote operations and production assurance through a fully functional Living Digital Twin that mirrors all aspects of the operating asset

Oil & Gas owner operators have struggled to go digital due to the lack of a structured offering and orchestration as no single vendor currently delivers what is required to achieve this. Large amounts of data of various types, from different sources is another challenge they face, often leading to data inaccuracy and incompatibility, as well as difficulties in organizing that data and identifying trends.

Similarly, the oil & gas sector is under considerable pressure to quantify, track and reduce CO2 emissions as well as reduce overall pollution – this can be even more difficult with limited monitoring, no established method and no data-driven decision making.

Together, DORIS, AVEVA, and Schneider Electric will offer a structured digital and collaborative solution across the lifecycle of projects that will help oil & gas owner operators address many of these challenges.

Christophe Debouvry, CEO of DORIS Group, stated, “DORIS Group is excited to be strategically partnering with Schneider Electric and AVEVA in this unique venture which will allow us to accelerate the building out of our digital transformation strategy. Combining our complementary expertise will go a long way to providing a powerful enabler to offer our customers embarking on their digital transformational journeys with optimized solutions throughout their assets lifecycle.”

Craig Hayman, CEO AVEVA, also commented, “Leaders driving the next wave of transformation are moving quickly and that’s why this partnership with Schneider Electric and DORIS Group is so opportune. Our common aim is to support organizations on their digital journey especially in the current environment, helping them accelerate the use of digital technology, realize the value of a digital twin and also work towards a more sustainable future. It’s never been easier to begin a digital transformation program, as access to cloud computing, great connectivity, a merged edge and enterprise combined with analytics and machine learning, means that the ability to digitally drive productivity improvements into the industrial world is now unprecedented.”

Christopher Dartnell, President Oil & Gas and Petrochemicals at Schneider Electric, commented, “This partnership is in line with Schneider Electric’s objectives around Digitization and Energy Transition and we will bring our expertise in both energy and process efficiency to the industry. Our goal is to support customers looking to adopt a digital twin model, by offering our experience to facilitate the overall digital transformation for our clients enable them to improve lifecycle performance and safe operations while also making their operations more sustainable.”

People and Data—the Most Important Assets

This week I attended the AVEVA World customer conference sitting on my patio with a bank of computers on the table. It’s always nice to catch up with the latest from technology suppliers, even if we couldn’t meet in person and have all those informative hallway conversations.

Next week I’ll be attending three conferences, something that would have been a physical impossibility only a few months ago. Looks like all of my anticipated conference trips have been cancelled until November.

I must begin with a note regarding the AVEVA/Schneider Electric relationship. If you go back a few years, Schneider Electric made a rather large and significant acquisition. It kept the Foxboro and Triconex (and a few other) brands and used the software parts—Wonderware and Avantis and some others—as an investment into an engineering software company called AVEVA. As a result, Schneider Electric owns just over a majority of the shares in the publicly traded software company. And, therefore, Schneider Electric played a significant minor role in this conference.

Schneider’s chairman and CEO, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, said, “AVEVA should be agnostic. Our customers don’t have just one system but have the problem of integrating the complexity of having more than one system. AVEVA is completely open. We are independent companies working closely with each other.”

Craig Hayman, CEO of AVEVA, noted during his keynote address, “We’ve pivoted to emphasize digital. We recognize that people and data are the two most important assets. We do this technology in order to make people successful. Businesses have the great responsibility to protect employees and customers. We’re seeing the power of data and analytics helping companies respond to incidents as they occur and operate assets as efficiently as possible.” Indeed, digital, data, and people were the keywords of the event.

In further remarks, Tricoire emphasized “Digital Trust and Sustainability”. He shared how COVID-19 has accelerated existing digital trends, encouraging more efficiency, “remote everything,” greater resilience, and for sustainability to mitigate and adapt to primary threats of both the pandemic and climate change. He said, “Faced with a very volatile environment, companies need superior agility, and increased efficiency. This means they need increased capacity on one side, resiliency on the other side. The overall winner is digitalization. And the need for digitalization has been further reinforced by companies new need to operate remotely, for higher efficiency, and ultimately, for much better sustainability.”

Guest customer keynoter, Saad Bashir, CTO of the City of Seattle, speaking on “Digital Agility in the Age of COVID-19” shared his thoughts on what happened in Seattle when the pandemic hit. “Although we had planned for digital resiliency for some time, we didn’t really know how it would go until one morning all 30,000 people in our team decided to stay home and log on.” Although the team’s resiliency plans have held up well, Saad adds, “We’ve already seen opportunities from the lessons learned and one that’s worth highlighting is digital resiliency…with a unified view of our infrastructure with systems that are seamlessly connected so that they can inform decisions.”

Much discussion involved both Cloud and Edge—you must develop both, can’t have one without the other.

Ravi Gopinath, AVEVA Chief Cloud Officer and COO discussed cloud and AI. He noted four areas of investment—new way of engineering; new way of visualization; reliability and safe operations; drive agility. Develop cloud on one side and AI on the other. The cloud strengths—deploy applications easily, low TCO, enable flexible consumption, and enhance collaboration. AI provides—analysis, prediction, guidance, learning. Leading to Digital Twin, Big Data, and Industrial IoT and Edge.

The press release coming from the event focused on Schneider Electric, who announced expanded partnerships with AVEVA, Lenovo and Stratus to address the convergence of IT and OT. This partnership is bringing together system integrators with IT solution providers to build integrated industrial edge computing solutions resulting in the immediate release of three programs to empower system integrators to expand their value to end users, enabling their customers’ industrial digital transformations.

These programs include:

      Industrial edge reference designs: Co-developed with AVEVA, including solutions from Lenovo and Stratus, these reference designs reduce risk and time to market with fully customizable, pre-integrated EcoStruxure Micro Data Center solutions for any edge environment. With secure solutions designed to meet IT standards, system integrators can free up time from the IT architecture to focus on the software and solutions. These reference designs are available in Schneider Electric’s Local Edge Configurator and can be customized to specifications.
      A digital training program for system integrators: Edge computing continues to prove itself as a space for opportunity for system integrators to extend business models and establish their roles as consultants. This learning program includes a comprehensive digital training series for system integrators on Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Micro Data Center and EcoStruxure IT solutions to help address common challenges at the edge.
      The Industrial Edge Exchange Community: Built within Schneider Electric Exchange, the Industrial Edge Community allows system integrators to easily identify and engage with edge-certified IT solution providers. It is designed to facilitate new business and address IT/OT projects, and features a tool that pairs Alliance System Integrators with Schneider Electric’s Edge-certified IT Channel Partners.

    “The smart factory is becoming smarter. Our expanded partnerships and new industrial edge programs empower system integrators to leverage their domain expertise and become IT/OT convergence specialists and meet these needs for their customers,” said Philippe Rambach, Senior Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric. “We know that smart manufacturing is driving an unprecedented wave of IT technologies into industrial spaces. As companies leverage AI, robotic processing automation, and more, they will require edge computing solutions to reduce latency and enable resiliency, while ensuring privacy and security, and addressing important data and bandwidth requirements.”

    What is the Industrial Edge?

    For industrial operators to capture the benefits of increased automation, they cannot rely on cloud-technology alone to bring the resiliency and speed demanded by AI, HD cameras, and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Local edge data centers are IT infrastructure enclosures/spaces/facilities distributed geographically to enable endpoints on the network. When in industrial environments such as a manufacturing plant or distribution center, this application is referred to as “industrial edge.”

    Report Identifies 4 Changes CEOs Must Implement To Maximize Digitization

    Report Identifies 4 Changes CEOs Must Implement To Maximize Digitization

    Digitization is on everyone’s lips these days. If you have not taken steps to implement and improve digital data flow, you are probably already behind. I receive information regularly from PwC and here is a new report on how digitization is reshaping the manufacturing industry. The report takes a look at 8 companies and showcase how they improved their efficiency, productivity and customer experience by ensuring they have the right capabilities central to their operating model and by matching them with strong skill sets in analytics and IT.

    Pressure from the consumer, new regulations and advances in information technology are all reasons that are pushing manufacturing organizations to digitize so they can avoid falling behind the new breed of market-leading ‘digital champions.’ The report identifies 4 significant changes CEOs must implement to maximize the benefits of digitization.

    1. Drive organizational changes that address new digital capabilities and digitalized processes – e.g., product and process design and engineering, end-to-end procurement, supply chain/distribution and after-sales – right from the top, because these are so new and different

    2. Hire more software and Internet of Things (IoT) engineers and data scientists, while training the wider workforce in digital skills

    3. Learn from software businesses, which have the ability to develop use cases rapidly and turn them into software products

    4. Extend digitalization beyond IT to include significant operational technologies (OT) such as track and trace solutions and digital twinning

    From the report, “Already, digitally ‘smart’ manufacturers are gaining a competitive advantage by exploiting emerging technologies and trends such as digital twinning, predictive maintenance, track and trace, and modular design. These companies have dramatically improved their efficiency, productivity, and customer experience by ensuring these capabilities are central to their operating models and by matching them with strong skill sets in analytics and IT. “

    During 2018 and early 2019, PwC conducted in-depth digitisation case studies of eight industrial and manufacturing organisations in Germany, the US, India, Japan and the Middle East. Drawing on discussions and interviews with CEOs and division heads, we explored the key triggers for change these companies faced, assessed how digital solutions are being implemented and how digitisation is affecting key aspects of their operating models. We also compared our eight organisations with other publicly cited digitisation case studies, and leveraged PwC’s 2018 study Digital Champions: How industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions and other ongoing PwC research.

    This paper is the result of ongoing collaboration between PwC and the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS). GMIS provides a forum for industry leaders to interact with governments, technologists and academia in order to navigate the challenges and opportunities brought about by the digital technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. PwC has been a knowledge partner with GMIS since 2016.

    The eight case studies in this report make clear how far the role of digital technology goes beyond traditional IT systems. It also encompasses OT and data and analytics technologies. Full integration and linkage among these different technologies, and the ecosystems they are part of, are essential to a successful digital transformation. Yet success is impossible without a digitally smart workforce that is familiar with Industry 4.0 skills and tools.

    These challenges are the subject of the second part of the report Digital Champions: How industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions, which will be published in January 2020.

    The report will elaborate further on the emerging theory of digital manufacturing and operations, in which successful, digitised industrial organisations will increasingly have to act like software companies in response to four key factors:

    • The connected customer seeks a batch size of one, necessitating greater customisation of products and delivery time, improved customer experience, use of online channels and outcome-based business models.
    • Digital operations require both engineering and software abilities to enable extensive data analysis and IoT-based integration, as well as digitisation of products and services.
    • Organisations need augmented automation, in which machines become part of the organisation via closely connected machine–worker tasks and integrated IT and OT.
    • Future employees will be ‘system-savvy craftspeople’ with the skills to use sensors in order to collect and analyse accurate data, as well as design and manage connected processes.

    About the authors

    Anil Khurana is PwC’s global industrial, manufacturing and automotive industry leader. He is a principal with PwC US.

    Reinhard Geissbauer is a partner with PwC Germany based in Munich. He is the global lead for PwC’s Digital Operations Impact Center.

    Steve Pillsbury is a principal with PwC US and the US lead for PwC’s Digital Operations Impact Center.

    Report Identifies 4 Changes CEOs Must Implement To Maximize Digitization

    Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

    In brief: During its brief history as a collection of Hitachi Ltd. data properties, Hitachi Vantara continues to grow and remake itself. It has now added Hitachi Consulting and Intelligent Data Cataloging company Waterline Data. The new company combines IT Infrastructure, Data Management and Analytics.

    The first news is the combination of Hitachi Vantara with Hitachi Consulting as one company to create a new digital infrastructure and solutions company.

    The new Hitachi Vantara aims to become the world’s preferred digital innovation partner by unlocking the “good” in data that benefits customers, raises the quality of people’s lives and builds a sustainable society. Hitachi Vantara will specifically bring a competitive edge to the digital domains that matter most – the data center, data operations, and enterprise digital transformation.

    The new Hitachi Vantara combines the best consulting-led digital solutions and vertical industry expertise of Hitachi Consulting with Hitachi Vantara’s IT domain expertise. Going forward, the integrated company will help customers develop practical, scalable digital strategies and solutions that transform operational processes, improve customer experiences and create new business models to drive innovation and growth.

    For example, the new company will offer a holistic manufacturing industry practice as one of several vertical industry practices. The manufacturing practice will integrate consulting methodologies for addressing quality, customization, sustainability and new business models with data-driven solutions such as Lumada Manufacturing Insights from Hitachi Vantara, which integrates silos of manufacturing data and applies AI and machine learning to evaluate and enhance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

    “A barrage of data and technology is disrupting enterprises and industries the world over,” said Toshiaki Tokunaga, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Hitachi Vantara. “Through the integration of Hitachi Consulting, the new Hitachi Vantara will be uniquely equipped with the capabilities our customers need to guide them on their digital journeys. We’re going to be the company that helps customers navigate from what’s now to what’s next.”

    The Hitachi Vantara portfolio is built upon a foundation of world-class edge-to-core-to-cloud infrastructure offerings, including the recently introduced Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 5000 series, the world’s fastest data storage array. The portfolio further features AI and analytics solutions, cloud services for application modernization, systems integration and change management services for SaaS-based ERP implementations and migrations, and Lumada-based digital industrial solutions. Hitachi Vantara’s offerings are all backed by world-class business consulting, deep experience in improving organization effectiveness, co-development capabilities and global delivery services.

    With its expanded capabilities, the new Hitachi Vantara will play a key role in advancing Hitachi’s 2021 Mid-term Management Plan, which aims to make the company a global leader through “Social Innovation Business.” The Social Innovation Business strategy centers on combining Hitachi’s industrial and IT expertise and products to create new value and resolve social issues.

    Hitachi Vantara will help advance the plan by expanding revenues from digital business, by digitally transforming Hitachi’s industrial businesses, by fueling international growth, and by delivering social, environmental and economic value which helps customers contribute to the attainment of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

    As announced in September 2019, Toshiaki Tokunaga, a 30-year Hitachi veteran who has successfully transformed several Hitachi businesses, will serve in the dual role of chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Hitachi Vantara.

    The company’s two business units, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Solutions, will be led by Presidents Brian Householder and Brad Surak, respectively. Hitachi Vantara today also announced details of other appointments to its executive leadership team.

    Hitachi Vantara Will Integrate Advanced Data Cataloging Technology Into Lumada Data Services Portfolio

    In further news, Hitachi Vantara announced acquisition of the business of Waterline Data, which is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. It provides intelligent data cataloging solutions for DataOps that help customers more easily gain actionable insights from large datasets and comply with data regulations such as GDPR.

    Waterline Data delivers catalog technology enabled by machine learning (ML) that automates metadata discovery to solve modern data challenges for analytics and governance across edge-to-core-to-cloud environments. Waterline Data’s technology has been adopted by customers in the financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries to support analytics and data science projects, pinpoint compliance-sensitive data and improve data governance. It can be applied on-premises or in the cloud to large volumes of data in Hadoop, SQL, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud environments.

    Waterline Data’s patented “fingerprinting” technology is the cornerstone of its solutions, removing one of the biggest obstacles to data lake success. Fingerprinting uses AI- and rule-based systems to automate the discovery, classification and analysis of distributed and diverse data assets to accurately and efficiently tag large volumes of data based on common characteristics.

    Integrating Waterline Data technology with Hitachi Vantara’s Lumada Data Services portfolio will provide a common metadata framework to help customers break down data silos distributed across the cloud, the data center, and the machines and devices at the edges of their networks. By applying DataOps methodologies to the unified datasets, customers can more rapidly gain insights and drive innovation.

    “Our research illustrates that almost half of enterprise data practitioners are spending more than 50% of their time simply trying to find and prepare data for analysis. Data catalog products have emerged in recent years as strategic imperatives for enterprises seeking to address this challenge while also improving data governance,” said Matt Aslett, research vice president, 451 Research. “This acquisition is logical and strategic: Waterline Data’s capabilities are a complementary fit for Hitachi Vantara and its Lumada Data Services portfolio. Adding Waterline Data furthers the company’s ability to address growing demand for products and services that deliver more agile and automated approaches to data management via DataOps: helping enterprise consumers of data ultimately leverage information in a fluid, yet governed way.”

    “Hitachi Vantara provides customers with the digital building blocks, DataOps approaches and industry solutions they need to transform their organizations through data-driven insights,” said Brad Surak, president, Digital Solutions, Hitachi Vantara. “Waterline Data technologies complement Hitachi Vantara’s DataOps expertise and will become key offerings in the Lumada Data Services portfolio, bringing our customers greater visibility, tighter quality control, improved compliance and better management of their data.”

    Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition of Waterline Data is subject to customary closing conditions and it is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Hitachi’s fiscal year 2019 (ending March 31, 2020).

    Upon completion of the acquisition, Hitachi Vantara will make Waterline Data technologies available as standalone solutions as well as integrated components of the Lumada Data Services portfolio.