Kevin Parker, editorial director (


Virtualization, Cloud Analytics April 1, 2008

SaaS approach to ops performance management finds dashboards’ sweet spots

The idea of using “dashboards” to support management decision-making would seem to be just what the doctor ordered. Track the right operational and financial parameters and, with the appropriate analysis applied, fallible “subjective” insight can be replaced by quantitative-based judgments.

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
Virtualization, Cloud Analytics March 1, 2008

ARC forum discussions reflect changing operations/IT paradigm

Following a day's worth of conversations, a visitor to ARC Advisory Group's 12th annual Orlando Forum might be justified in having concluded: 1) Corporate IT departments have become the “decider” when it comes to plant operations solutions; and 2) the shortage of plant engineering skills is becoming increasingly severe.

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
Virtualization, Cloud Analytics January 1, 2008

SAP senior execs talk about ERP, SOA, and the demise of three-letter acronyms

By introducing SAP Business ByDesign—an SOA-based, on-demand enterprise system for midsize companies—and selling it through in-direct sales channels, SAP, the world's leading ERP vendor, says it is “singing from the same hymn sheet” as its customers. “We are innovators too,” said Henning Kagermann, CEO and chairman, at the SAP Influencers Summit recently he...

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
HMI, OI October 1, 2007

Wonderware releases bring HMI into managed applications world

To ensure harmony between its past and future—i.e., to support the installed base even as it moves firmly into the plant SOA era—Wonderware introduced in early September version 10.0 of its InTouch human-machine interface (HMI) software, which “brings it into the world of managed applications,” and version 3.

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
HMI, OI October 1, 2007

Revised MESA model gives production execution systems strategic context

MESA International has devised new guidelines for connecting plant-floor systems with higher-level business applications. The ultimate goal in releasing the new collaborative manufacturing execution system (MES) model is to help manufacturers deploy plant-to-enterprise solutions that support strategic business initiatives such as Lean, new product introduction processes, or Total Quality programs.

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
HMI, OI September 1, 2007

Data historian vendor faces an opportunity and a challenge: scaling to million-tag systems

Be on notice: the term data historian doesn't do justice to the pervasive role such systems are poised to play in today's most dynamic industries, nor does it hint at the big part the technology will have in initiatives ranging from demand-driven manufacturing to plant energy management. If data historians turn out to be the killer app nobody ever heard of, however, answers to how the systems ...

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (
Mobility September 1, 2007

Automation vendors address need to govern industrial wireless use of local radio spectrum

Given technology advances, emerging standards, and demand for affordable plant applications, in the last two years, major automation vendors have introduced products for wireless monitoring of the I/O and field devices used in process control. Just as important, they've introduced solutions for managing the wireless networks that result.

By Kevin Parker, editorial director (