Photo by Keith Larson
AspenTech's Antonio Pietri speaks at Emerson Exchange Americas 2022

Software powers smart enterprise strategy

Oct. 24, 2022
AspenTech announces acquisition of a data management platform called inmation

Antonio Pietri, president and CEO of Aspen Technology, wants his company to help push all of its customers into becoming “smart enterprises.” While many companies have been collecting data and upgrading to digitalization practices, they haven’t necessarily been productive with either.

“Most of our customers are between phase 2 and phase 3 of the process [of digital transformation], but the goal is to move all of you over to the smart enterprise,” he told a packed general session room at the Emerson Exchange on Monday at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. “The smart enterprise will eventually enable new business models, which will comply with the abilities that your investors demand and meet the expectations of society. Ultimately, it is society that grants you your license to operate.”

Pietri was part of a three-person opening keynote session and spoke at Exchange for the first time since the company was acquired by Emerson earlier this year. Emerson is now a 55% owner of AspenTech.

“We wanted to reposition AspenTech around sustainability,” Pietri said of the deal. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner to carry AspenTech forward.”

He said the way forward is a “very simple strategy” to optimize the whole asset life cycle and to make its customers’ operation safer. “We know that safety is priority number one in industrial settings,” he said, adding that a smart enterprise is also more sustainable, more reliable and more efficient.

“We want to help you push the boundaries of what’s possible in the design of your assets, and we will help you push the limits of their performance in operation,” he said. “We have customers who are pushing their facilities to 110%, 115% of their design capacities through the use of our technology.”

He added that such aggressive goals are needed to address the sustainable operations that will only increase in expectations from the public. He highlighted the increasing demand for energy and goods as the world’s population continues to skyrocket.

However, Pietri said the company won’t compromise its foundation in first-principles engineering. “As a software company, I tell my team that there are three things we need to do. Innovation is number one. Certainly, we want to make sure we are justifying the value of the innovation. And, then there’s customer success. We want to make sure you are incredibly successful in the use of our technologies,” he said.

That’s why, even as innovation continues to churn, Pietri said AspenTech is sticking to its roots as it moves forward with innovation.

“In 2015-16, we saw the disruptive technology was going to be artificial intelligence (AI). It became clear to us that AI had to be paired with first-principles engineering,” he said. “It’s what provides the rules of the road for AI, because AI doesn’t understand physical constraints.”

He said that’s why the company created a new generation of products called Industrial AI, capabilities the company is introducing into the market after years of development. "These are hybrid products,” Pietri said. “They combine first-principles engineering with AI.” The concept is to leverage all of the data now available with first-principles engineering to create more accuracy and to provide more value in operations.

Pietri also addressed the explosion of data available and the inability of many to properly analyze and work with it in a productive manner. He said cloud computing companies have done an excellent job of convincing users to aggregate data. “But I can tell you as I’ve met with customers over the last year or two, what I’m hearing is now you have all of this data and you don’t know what to do with all of it,” he said.

To that end, Pietri announced the acquisition of a data management platform called inmation. According to AspenTech, inmation will become the cornerstone of its industrial data and connectivity business unit, AIoT. “It will bring order to your data,” Pietri said.

AspenTech was introduced to Germany-based inmation through its newly formed partnership with Emerson, which had been invested in the data management company. Now, through AspenTech, Emerson has effectively increased its investment into inmation to 55% as well.

“Emerson highlighted the company to us and of course we did our due-diligence,” Pietri said. “We concluded that this is the most forward-thinking data management and integration company in the industry.”

Petri also said that inmation will be a key part of the company’s holistic solutions. “The goal is to create a group of products that work together,” he said. “It won’t happen overnight. It will take 10 to 15 years.”

The end results may be greater autonomy for facilities in which technology will be able to learn on a real-time basis. 

About the Author

Len Vermillion | Editor in Chief

Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control.