IOM Europe Seeks to Establish Its Own Identity

Giuseppe Caltabiano, Invensys Operations Management (IOM) vp of marketing for Europe, Russia and Africa (EURA), took time out from a brief visit to a snowbound UK shortly before Christmas to brief INSIDER on the messages delivered to journalists, analysts and "ecosystem partners" at IOM's OpsManage event at Disneyland Paris in early December. Caltabiano was formerly responsible for the development and coordination of Wonderware's marketing strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, having joined from National Instruments in 2005.

Process Counterweight

While some may see his appointment as yet further evidence of the "Wonderwarization" of IOM, they could equally regard his new boss, EURA president Teemu Tunkelo, as providing the necessary process automation counterweight. Appointed last October, Tunkelo previously headed up the global control systems, collaborative production management software, analytical and force measurement businesses for ABB. The fact that he was prepared to move to IOM from ABB at this stage in his career, in contrast to many of the previous generation of senior management recruits to the former IPS, who moved at a time when they probably had little to lose, is perhaps an indication of just how far the rehabilitation of IPS/IOM has progressed.

European Dimension

As Caltabiano was keen to stress the IOM EURA operation is to be seen very much as a European company in its own right rather than as simply the overseas colony of a North American parent. That view was reinforced by Tunkelo in his presentation to the Paris OpsManage event when he outlined his vision of an organization with a "European leadership team" and with "local operations to serve local clients,"which would in the fullness of time become "the European automation vendor of choice." That, he suggested, would be best achieved by focussing back on the core business and building on the strength of the IOM "House of the Brands."

Integration of the former separate IPS, Wonderware and Eurotherm businesses is very much work in progress, Caltabiano explained. As a result, many issues remained to be resolved and there had been mistakes, he conceded. There was confusion between brands and businesses, not least between Wonderware and IOM, he acknowledged, and such confusion could be compounded as a result of the extension of the InFusion brand, originally used for the "Enterprise Control System" concept launched in 2007, to cover seemingly every aspect of the process automation system portfolio.

These, suggested Caltabiano, were issues which would be resolved in due course and should not be allowed to detract from the validity of the underlying strategy of integration of the former separate offerings into a common portfolio based on a common platform.

Roadmap

How that might be achieved had been set out with considerable clarity in the presentation given in Paris by solution/product strategy vp -- and one of the original architects of ArchestrA -- Tim Sowell. Sowell's roadmap envisages an evolving platform strategy based on ArchestrA and incorporating an array of tightly coupled or embedded applications. That will provide the underlying support for an ever-expanding portfolio of higher level, value added and value adding applications, the more generic of which would be developed by IOM itself, while the more vertical-market-specific will be developed by, or in collaboration with, third-arty partners.

Sowell sees this strategy being delivered in three waves, the first currently under way and due to be completed in the current quarter, the second targeted for the first quarter of 2011, and the third for the second half of 2012. It's the latter two waves which will, we are promised, see the real integration of the former IPS, Wonderware and Eurotherm, standardizing and simplifying the existing portfolio onto a unified platform with new generation visualization and decision-support tools that can support users across the enterprise, irrespective of the individual device on which or the location in which it is delivered.

Twelve months after the departure of the far form universally lamented Paulett Eberhart, the new IOM has a clear vision of where it is headed, even if there remain significant questions about how it is going to get there. What seems certain is that the IOM that eventually emerges will be markedly different from any of its competitors in both the process and factory automation marketplaces. Moreover, if Caltabiano and his colleagues realize their own distinctive vision, it will have a flavor perhaps more akin to that of the other European majors, as befits a company which, when all is said and done, has its corporate headquarters in London rather than Texas or California.

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