The Crux with Critical Systems
December 8, 2020, by Christian Sommerhoff
December 8, 2020, by Christian Sommerhoff
Consider for a moment the following scenario: within a large corporation, each local organization chooses its own systems, such as ERP, the pulse of commercial operations. And while some countries might rely on SAP, others would run SAGE, ORACLE, or INFOR. Striving for cost excellence, the headquarter explores ways of overall cost cuttings, and the idea is born to reduce the number of suppliers. The working thesis statement gaining tailwind from management questions as to why to depend on external software if you could leverage in-house skills and develop your internal applications tailored to current needs? Talking truck loading management, this example reflects actual reality. However, since advanced truck loading management includes aspects such as process and product analysis, its overall relevance for continuous quality assurance is nowhere less critical than ERP in this example.
Avoid silos – secure standards.
Dependency is a keyword in this context, and so is isolation, the risk of a pursued silo approach. Keep in mind that any leading solution provider takes overall customer requirements, feedback, and market trends into account of ongoing system development. That’s the winning concept to offer significant value over time and quite different from the above illustrated single business perspective. Our objective at IWB is to scale automation for our customers in line with their respective business development, best practices, and industry standards. What are industry standards around bulk management? CRYO.TAS basics like SQL data exchange, solution scalability due to object orientation, vendor agnostic interfaces for third-party software or hardware devices such as analyzers, weighbridges, and HMI terminals at a plant. Ultimately, solution standards arise from individual component- and legislated industry standards, tweaked with best practices established in the market. There is nothing wrong with dependency per se. Any business is dependent on its customers but shouldn’t be dependent on single-source programming. Digital transformation is a broader effort
Improve interdivisional value.
A good way to test the ROI of a solution on a global scale is to question how its deployments support a broader set of interests, such as the requirements of other business units or new market segments. If a terminal automation system serves air gases, but not carbon dioxide or hydrogen distribution, its overall long-term value from corporate finance and IT perspective is rather restricted.
Don’t confuse software with solutions.
It’s a big mistake to narrow down solution requirements to just software applications. Everywhere in today’s world, it’s the interplay of hardware and software that makes the difference. Everything is based on engineering. At IWB, we combine all these aspects. Referring to the initial example of in-house programming, more people resources from other departments will be involved and blocked to design a (silo)system. One might argue that they are paid anyhow; however, our understanding of true automation ultimately targets zero man operation.
There is more to do.
The price of isolation is the sum of tied up inhouse capital, plus any time lost due to trial and error, plus typically pushed out deadlines, disregard of independent experience, and increasing internal dependency on the software lead in return. Tough to calculate, yet not attractive. That said, keep in mind that in the case of a validated system, any changes require seamless, updated documentation to not lose permissions or certifications. The tangible alternative is to source a standardized turnkey solution, where OPEX is plannable, optional after-sales services are provided and overall operational savings are secured due to increased efficiency. CRYO.TAS is a benchmark in the gas industry for utmost scalability and reliability. We support strategic visions and love to keep things in perspective and simple for our partners.
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