The Virtues of Simplicity, Habibi style

I received this email from Eddie Habibi, CEO and founder of PAS: Hello Walt,I hope you're doing well and enjoying the Spring in Illinois. All is well at this end.I saw your editor's note in the April issue of CONTROL, "The Virtues of Simplicity." As always, it was hard to read your editorial without feeling compelled to write back. The title of your piece reminded me of the theme of our Users Conference from a couple of weeks ago. Kevyn Renner, the Chief Technologist at Chevron Global Refining, gave a keynote on the subject of "Refinery of the Future" with the prominent subtitle of "Simplicity." Kevyn clearly articulated that the end user community is exhausted by the unmanageable number of disparate systems and applications that loosely glue together the information and control infrastructure of a refinery. The message from Kevyn, which many of us have heard many times over, especially in recent years, was that refiners want to make gasoline; "that is what we want to focus on; not manage literally hundreds of complex systems and applications," he said Understanding how we arrived to this point is a prerequisite to finding our way out. Repeating the patterns of behavior of the past three decades in process automation - both on the end user and the supplier sides - will, not surprisingly, yield similar results. Requirements for well refined information and actionable knowledge will continue to rise, especially as the pool of automation professionals continues to drain. Buying best-in-breed is a consumer behavior that will continue in a Laissez-faire economy - thank goodness for that. How we as an industry - end-users and suppliers - reconcile these seemingly contradicting forces of "simplicity" and "best-in-breed" will greatly impact the eventual outcome. These are indeed the most challenging and consequently the most exciting times in our industry. The industry is in an up cycle. The old infrastructure - all $65 Billion-plus of it - is rapidly deteriorating and needing to be replaced. The supply-demand scale of automation professionals is in a state of imbalance, as you have said and written about many times over the last few years. And the end user community is screaming loud and clear - "Simplicity." As one of my all time favorites Bob Seger, of the (former) automotive center of excellence Detroit, says in his latest album, "Simplicity"¦is good for me"¦" and it is surely good for everyone in the automation industry. So, thanks for your insightful editorial. Keep up the cause. Life is Good! Business is Good! Enjoy Both! Eddie HabibiFounder & CEO, PAS