OSIsoft Appoints New Senior Management

OSIsoft Appoints New Senior Management

Short take: OSIsoft appoints Michael Siemer President and Wolfgang Kuchen Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing revamping the senior management ranks.

OSIsoft, a leader in data technology for critical operations, recently announced these new appointments. I had thought that the transition from founder Pat Kennedy to his daughter running the operations was well under way. But Kennedy took on some VC investments a couple of years ago [https://themanufacturingconnection.com/2017/06/osisoft-announces-softbank-investment-fund-internet-things-infrastructure-growth/]and I’m betting that the investors were looking for experienced leadership to grow their investment.

Siemer, an energy industry veteran with extensive experience in leveraging software technologies to transform complex industrial operations, comes to OSIsoft from Devon Energy Corporation, a North American oil exploration and production company, where he served as Vice President of Engineering, Exploration and Production, Data and Analytics. Siemer led many enterprise-wide digital transformation efforts at Devon, including initiatives around field automation, data management, advanced analytics, decision support and strategic innovation. Prior to Devon, Siemer worked at SandRidge Energy, a startup E&P energy company, and prior to SandRidge he was employed for 18 years with 3M/Imation.

Kuchen, meanwhile, brings more than 20 years of experience providing financial, strategic and operational leadership in challenging business environments. Most recently, he served as President of Allergy Research Group (ARG), a Kikkoman portfolio company in the healthcare professional market. Prior to ARG, he was responsible for the growth and acquisition strategy at Soho Flordis International, a global healthcare company based in Australia.

Both Siemer and Kuchen will also serve on OSIsoft’s newly formed Executive Committee. Siemer will officially begin on September 1, 2019 while Kuchen will begin on August 1, 2019.

“Customer satisfaction has always been one of our most important principles at OSIsoft so we are very excited to bring in executives like Michael and Wolfgang who have experience in the type of digital transformation initiatives that many of our customers are starting to implement,” said Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy, CEO and founder of OSIsoft. “They will play a pivotal role in our growth as we enter a new decade.”

39 Years of Digital Transformation

Founded in 1980, OSIsoft has consistently been focused on software that lets people collect, understand and use data from critical operations, i.e. data generated by the production lines, safety equipment, power grids, and other systems that are at the foundation of their success. OSIsoft’s PI Systems acts as a data infrastructure, enabling individuals from across an organization to quickly obtain real-time insights into operations to save costs, increase productivity, develop new products or extend their capital investments.

OSIsoft customers have used PI System technology to predict wind turbine failures, increase output at a mine site by $120 million, reduce the power consumption of a supercomputer center at a national laboratory, deliver water services to millions of new customers in a major metropolitan city, boost the fuel efficiency of cruise ships and improve the quality and consistency of beer, among other accomplishments.

Over 1,000 leading utilities, 80% of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and 65% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 rely the PI System in their operations. Worldwide, over 2 billion sensor-based data streams are managed by the PI System.

“It is an honor to join OSIsoft. The company has long been recognized as a leader in industrial innovation and a critical partner for improving the performance of real-time operations,” Siemer said. “OSIsoft has earned an admirable level of trust with its customer base through technology-leading software and a genuine and consistent emphasis on service and support. My own experiences as a customer of OSIsoft are a big part of why I’m here. I look forward to working with the team and expanding upon the success they’ve achieved.”

“Data is the foundation of digital transformation and OSIsoft’s PI System is the gold standard for turning system data into an asset that people can use to make better decisions, improve their competitiveness and get the most out of their operations,” said Kuchen. “The impact of the PI System is set to expand rapidly.”

Industry 4.0 Provides A Framework For Agile Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 Provides A Framework For Agile Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 provokes much discussion with little understanding. It began as a German government initiative ostensibly to support the German machine building industry. The idea was picked up in a variety of forms by other governments.

Exploring Industry 4.0 leads me to Tim Sowell’s latest blog post. Tim is a Schneider Electric Fellow and VP of System Strategy at Schneider Electric in the Common Architecture team in R&D. He is also the last remaining (that I can find) true blogger in the space. The company blogs have pivoted from blog format offering information and opinion to more of a press release format—where they use the Webpage to get out a company message directly to readers rather than going through the unreliable filter of the trade press. Sowell offers thoughtful discourse on important topics of the day.

If I thought I could meet with Tim and Stan DeVries at the upcoming Wonderware user conference, I’d make plans to get down there. As it is, the trip would lead to about five weeks of travel in a row. That is more expense and time away from home than a one-person entrepreneur can afford.

Sowell lists this set of viewpoints which are discussed in the white paper:
  • Industry 4.0 is about the transformation from controlling focusing on process to “controlling the product/ order” and the “product/ order being self aware”.
  • Industry 4.0 is about operations transformation, not about technology.
  • Industry 4.0 provides a practical strategic framework for “lean” and “agile” industrial operations.
  • Industry 4.0 addresses the needs of discrete and batch manufacturing, but it needs some adaptation for the heavy process and infrastructure industries.

He adds, “Cloud computing and IT/OT convergence are often linked to implementing Industry 4.0, but these need some adaptation to address “trustworthiness” of the architectures.  One emerging topic is Fog computing.”

He argues that automation and operation management technologies are more relevant than ever before. Also important are information standards such as “IEC 61850/ISO9506, ISA-95/ISO62264, PRODML etc.”

You need to go back and read his entire paper. He discusses benefits of adopting this way of thinking about manufacturing (discrete and process). He looks at use cases. And the foundation of Industry 4.0—it requires better information, not just more data.

OSIsoft Appoints New Senior Management

Thinking Deeper About Industrial Operations Organization

If you noticed I was missing in action for several days, I took a little vacation and still had to finish a big project last week. Both missions accomplished. Finished the project and got in some quality relaxing.

It also gave me time to ruminate on Tim Sowell’s latest blog post about industrial operations. He’s been thinking a lot about the people who use the technology lately. I think rightly so. Technology only takes us so far (sorry technofuturists).

Several years ago, I ran across a theory of organization called “Holacracy.”  The name derives from an ancient Greek word for a “whole thing”—Holon—and was then taken a new way by Arthur C. Clark. The theory has roots with Lean (which I admire) and Agile (programming) which I know only slightly.

When I studied Holacracy (www.holacracy.org), the theory sounded interesting and leading edge. Yet, the write up on the website seemed too over the top and limitless. It was as if it solved world hunger, world peace, and personal satisfaction.

Perhaps my impression was deepened by reading about how Tony Hsieh implemented (or rather dumped it on people) the structure (or in his case non-structure). Hsieh, you may recall, garnered great publicity for the unique way he ran Zappos. However, his leadership has declined considerably over the past few years. His Downtown Las Vegas project is in shambles and the way he instituted holacracy at Zappos led to chaos and exodus of good people.

Reconsidering Holacracy

Sowell forced me to take a deeper look at the philosophy. Taken in the context of its “parents” Lean and Agile, it makes a lot of sense. But it can’t be just dumped on a company. It requires a culture of trust before it is implemented. As in all team-oriented approaches, there is a danger of lack of diversity as teams choose their members and they all begin to resemble one another.

Holacracy

Holacracy a New Way of Work can it Apply in Industrial Operational Space

Sowell has been thinking about operations performance, not just technology but how it is used and how people’s roles can be transformed. He says, “While agile is applied in the software work, what we seeing in industrial operations, is not a transformation in technology (yes it is being enable by technology) but it really is a transformation in the way companies plan, execute, work.”

And so, looking at a more encompassing picture, he discusses, “Holacracy and Agile are systems that transform the way in which work is planned, and executed, with constant empowerment of people to change and evolve the system.”

Empowering people to grow and excel becomes a crucial component of managing an organization as the newer generations of workers enter the field. People a little older than I, as well as many of my peers, were content with filling a job. Work, go home, live for the weekend. But even many of us wanted more fulfillment for the hours we put in at work. Younger people increasingly wish to feel they are contributing.

Further, implementing these systems that are designed to empower people is non-trivial. Sowell says, “It is important to note both systems are aligned and they are a framework, they require discipline and execution within the framework to enable the agility. Too often in manufacturing and the industrial space people put technology and systems in as “silver bullets” and expect them to solve everything.”

I felt in reading the Holacracy website that its authors expected the philosophy to solve everything. Whether or not they do, taking Sowell’s ideas about placing within a framework is a giant conceptual leap forward toward effective implementation.