Invensys Re-Enters FTSE 100 as a ‘Software’ Vendor

Aug. 5, 2008
Connecting Real-Time Operational Data with ERP Systems

The latest milestone on Ulf Henriksson’s journey to rehabilitate Invensys and remodel it as a “hardware-independent” software and services vendor is its readmission to the FTSE 100 Index of leading U.K. companies and its reclassification within the FTSE’s Software sub-sector of its Technology super-sector.

Invensys dropped out of the FTSE 100 in the midst of its financial problems back in 2003, and in recent years has been classified within the Electronic Equipment subdivision of Industrial Good & Services. “FTSE’s decision to reclassify us reflects our transition to a technology and controls business,” commented Henriksson. “We sell efficiency, safety of operations and ease of use by combining industry-leading real-time enterprise solutions, software and technological expertise with our in-depth industrial knowledge. For industrial customers, our capabilities, solutions and software platforms connect real-time operational data with ERP systems. This makes it possible for customers to accelerate process improvement and decision-making.”

New IPS Branding

The announcement coincided with a new phase in the development of Invensys Process Systems (IPS) as an entity in its own right. Go to any of the individual websites for IPS’ legacy brands such as Foxboro, Triconex or SimSci-Esscor, and you’re now confronted not just with new IPS branding, including a new logo, but a link to the new IPS website which incorporates the content from the original sites, together with a warning that they will close on June 1, although they all seemed to be working on July 2.

The new branding, logo and tag line―“A Revolution in Performance”―seem to be designed not only to unify the separate brands and businesses, but also to set IPS apart from the parent company. However, excluded from the exercise are Eurotherm, which remains outside IPS, and Wonderware, which continues its anomalous existence half in and half out of the fold.

Ironically, the change, which lays to rest the familiar Foxboro, Triconex and SimSci-Esscor branding, coincided with celebrations of Foxboro’s centenary, not as a company but, as the press release wording carefully ensured, as a brand. Foxboro, however, seems to have faired rather better than some of the other brands, at least retaining its own version of the new image with its name spelt out in green alongside what, it is clearly hoped, will become a familiar orange golf ball. Triconex, by contrast hardly gets a mention, even on those pages of the IPS site devoted to ‘Safety & Critical Controls’, any more than does SimSci-Esscor on the page devoted to ‘Operator Training Simulation.’

Those Foxboro centenary celebrations seem to have been relatively muted, perhaps not surprisingly given the reduced significance both of Foxboro the brand and, following the recent removal of IPS headquarters to Texas, of Foxboro the place. In fact the brand only came into existence in 1914 when the Industrial Instrument Company, which had been founded by E.H. and B.B. Bristol in 1908, was renamed. Clearly, given the current frequency with which names within Invensys are changing, it was deemed imprudent to wait another six years before breaking out the crackers and party hats.

Leading the celebrations, attended by some 1,000 employees, retirees and other dignitaries and guests, was IPS president and CEO Paulett Eberhart who seemingly preferred summer in Massachusetts to the winter weather which, so IPS legend has it, greeted her on her first visit and triggered the decision to relocate to Dallas. “The Foxboro brand has achieved global recognition and respect by delivering the advanced automation solutions many of the world’s leading manufacturers and energy providers need to keep their businesses running efficiently, effectively and safely,” said Eberhart. “I congratulate you on the excellence and innovation you have all demonstrated thus far and look forward to achieving even greater things as we move forward.”

One final observation, before we leave the subject: Go to the Foxboro, Triconex or SimSci-Esscor sites and, as well as being confronted by the new IPS branding, you’ll find a series of brands highlighted across the bottom of the page : APV – Avantis – Eurotherm – Foxboro – SimSci–Esscor – Triconex – Wonderware. Follow the link to the IPS page and the list becomes: Avantis – Foxboro – Infusion - SimSci –Esscor – Triconex. Confusing or what?