Beyond process automation: Invensys Process Systems hails its consulting successes

While nearly every vendor in the industrial automation space now claims to be a “solution provider” rather than a mere technology supplier, Invensys has something to support this claim that most of its competitors lack: its own global consulting organization.<br/>


Following a recent acquisition spree, Invensys Process Systems (IPS) appears to be settling into an identity.
“Our value proposition is bringing technology together to deliver real solutions that optimize business performance,” IPS President and CEO Paulett Eberhart declared at the company’s recent North America user’s conference. “We are no longer a product-focused company.”

Hannes Mittermaier, head of information management at chemicals and alternative fuels producer SASOL, accepts an Innovation Insight award from MBT Executive Editor Sidney Hill. In the background is Nathalie Marcotte, VP of Global Consulting with Invensys Process Systems, which assisted SASOL with its award-winning project.

Of course, nearly every vendor in the industrial automation space now claims to be a “solution provider” rather than a mere technology supplier. But Invensys has something to support this claim that most of its competitors lack: its own global consulting organization.
It should have been obvious that IPS would at least attempt to take more of a consultative approach to serving the market when its six-month search for a new CEO ended with the selection of Eberhart, a former EDS executive, in January 2007.
In September 2007, IPS Global Consulting was formed. This past September—during its North America user’s conference—IPS trumpeted the success that its consulting group has had in working with clients. One of those clients is SASOL , a South African producer of chemicals and alternative fuels that received a Manufacturing Business Technology

Innovation Insight award

for the work it did with IPS consultants in building a real-time finance and business intelligence system that is helping SASOL achieve significant savings in real-time costs at its synthetic fuels plant.
“A growing number of client successes and new client relationships indicate the progress our global consulting group has made,” Eberhart said. “Working with our clients, we have reduced their energy and supply chain costs, managed safety and regulatory constraints, and realized operational efficiency—all to the benefit of their customers, shareholders, and employees.”
Eberhart said she realized soon after joining IPS that it would be fairly easy for the company to switch its focus from selling automation products to offering business optimization solutions. “We had a lot of smart people working in the company,” Eberhart said. “We just needed to get them talking to one another about developing solutions.”
To speed up the transition, Eberhart reorganized IPS. In addition to forming the consulting group, the company’s multiple sales teams were folded into a single organization. “We are now an integrated solutions company with a single global delivery organization. That means our customers now have one number to call, or one throat to choke—or whatever metaphor you want to use. They know exactly where to go to answers to their questions.”
The hope, Eberhart admits, is that those answers will involve the use of an IPS product. The company’s product portfolio consists of technology from several companies that Invensys PLC, the parent of IPS, acquired in recent years. The IPS technology lineup includes:
• Distributed control and production management solutions from Foxboro ;
• Safety, critical control, and turbo machinery applications, systems, and services from Triconex ;
• Industrial process simulation and modeling software from SimSci-Esscor ;
• Enterprise asset management software from Avantis ; and
• An enterprise control system platform known as Infusion.
Eberhart says Infusion, as an open technology platform, gives IPS the freedom to add technology from other vendors into a customer’s solution.

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