The acceleration of digital transformation due to the challenges of the pandemic across all industries has triggered technology vendors to realign their partner programmes. A key initiative by industrial solutions vendor AVEVA, has been to familiarise channel partners with its recent cloud platform and gateway integration layers.
“For cloud, the model is changing in the Middle East. Earlier the Middle East was not a very cloud friendly environment. But after pandemic, regulations are easing, and we are finding customers are putting in their RFP and RFQ requirements,” says Dr Tariq Aslam, Head of Middle East and Africa, AVEVA.
AVEVA solutions hosted on Microsoft Azure face the end customers in the Middle East
There is now the realisation that cloud does help to keep the costs down, and is necessary to face the customer and the internal workforce to increase the speed of operations.
AVEVA solutions hosted on Microsoft Azure face the end customers in the Middle East. “The relationship with Microsoft is a global one. We have a very good relationship, where we take them to some of our customers, and they take us to some of their customers,” says Dr Aslam.
To add the cloud in its go to market strategy, AVEVA has been providing its distributors with training and enablement. End customers are also offered a 90-day trial period to assess how asset performance and analytical insights can be generated using AVEVA’s cloud platform.
While AVEVA is a strong player in oil and gas it has diversified significantly into other market segments
However, even prior to AVEVA’s adoption of the Microsoft Azure hyper scalar cloud platform, AVEVA system integrators who are active in the cloud SaaS space have been approaching the vendor for its cloud offerings.
Some AVEVA system integrator channel partners have already started on their cloud journey and are offering asset performance management and predictive analytics as a SaaS solution for large enterprises. “We are finding the system integrator part of our channel business is coming up with a number of innovative ideas,” reflects Dr Aslam.
This initiative is cost effective and gives a return for large enterprises, but is challenging for small and medium enterprises. “They are in discussions with us to build up the SaaS offering around EPM and to offer this to small and medium sized enterprises,” says Dr Aslam.
The AVEVA partner programme includes distributors, large system integrators and niche system integrators. Some of AVEVA distributors include AITS across the Gulf, Peritus in Saudi Arabia, EBS in Kuwait and BASS in Egypt.
The role of distributors is to manage the channel across their geographies and they operate horizontally across all industries. Industry expertise and vertical market solutions are provided by the system integrators.
The system integrator part of the channel is coming up with a number of innovative ideas in cloud
“For each one of these partners we have separate programmes to enable and train them because their needs are different. System integrators are more focused on project support, while distributors are more focused on product and technology focus. We have different certifications and enablement programmes for them respectively,” says Dr Aslam.
While AVEVA is a strong player in oil and gas it has diversified significantly into other market segments. “If you look at Africa and Middle East we are also moving quite aggressively into mining, infrastructure and power,” he adds.
AVEVA has segmented its solutions into three categories, operational and control, asset performance management, engineering
Amongst the key vertical markets where AVEVA operates are energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, food and beverages, mining, marine, infrastructure, smart cities, power and utilities.
AVEVA has also segmented its solutions into three categories including operational and control, asset performance management, and engineering.
A flagship product that is helping AVEVA drive digital transformation into industries is its manufacturing execution system, MES. This connects the world of operational technology with information technology. Dr Aslam points out that AVEVA’s MES connects an enterprise’s ERP to the factory floor.
MES layer is the glue between the IT and OT systems and acts like a middleware
Whenever orders are generated in the ERP system, the MES helps to distribute these orders to the individual machines. Each order needs to be translated into a series of processes and steps on the factory floor. It is similar to connecting the office floor to the factory floor. The MES layer is the glue between the IT and OT systems and acts like a middleware.
The MES is a central industrial bus where everything else can be connected and managed and controlled. It is also like an industrial API. MES is used in the industrial automation world, at a plant level, where there is production and an end-to-end control is required of the entire process. “You want to control that process flow through automation and that is where the MES layer will come in,” says Dr Aslam.
The MES layer is not required when commands need to be executed by individual machines, in a one-to-one fashion. However, for effective automation of an entire production floor, it is required to build the process end to end and to orchestrate and sync with the ERP application layer.
Medium to large system integrators would take this work of deploying MES at the customer site
“When you want to connect an end-to-end production line, or when you want to connect the whole plant and monitor and manage the production as an end-to-end cycle, MES does it for you,” he explains. “MES is the gateway to connecting with the ERP layer.”
MES is typically implemented by AVEVA’S larger system integrators. “It is very heavy service work. Medium to large system integrators would take this work of deploying MES at the customer site,” clarifies Dr Aslam.
“But it is not part of everything that we sell. It is not part of the digital twin solution, or when you are building an impact analysis,” for example, he points out.
MES is the gateway to connecting with the ERP layer
Because of the importance of the MES layer, AVEVA partners with multiple ERP vendors to make this work. However, MES can also run independently, points out Dr Aslam.
With its recent emphasis on cloud solutions and industrial digital transformation, AVEVA’s go to market into multiple vertical industries in the Middle East and Africa, is likely to provide significant gains for its regional channel partners.
Snapshot of AVEVA Select
In September 2020, AVEVA Select was launched, which is a new programme giving partners access to AVEVA’s software portfolio. AVEVA Select programme is designed to help customers accelerate digital transformation agendas. AVEVA Select, is a new full portfolio programme, created specifically for select AVEVA distribution partners. The launch of the new AVEVA Select programme comes at a time when industrial customer demand for digital transformation is growing and it will create new opportunities for the customer base. AVEVA Select aligns to market and technology trends helping companies simplify design, and maximize performance.
With AVEVA Select, partners will be able access the entire AVEVA portfolio through the channel. The programme will expand AVEVA’s reach to a wider distribution of industries. The core industries include oil and gas, chemicals, power generation and distribution. AVEVA Select diversifies to other industries including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, smart cities and infrastructure, mining, paper and pulp, utilities, water and waste, and discrete industries like automotive, and electronics.
The AVEVA Select designation along with the territory they support will denote a partner capable of representing the entire AVEVA Portfolio to customers. The expanded AVEVA Select customer base will be able to leverage monitor and control, and planning and operations solutions to improve performance of industrial operations.
AVEVA Select distributors provide training and AVEVA certification to local systems integrators, enabling them to build skills and expertise. Customers and partners can now work with their AVEVA Select local distribution partners to access AVEVA solutions, leveraging the investment in their installed base of AVEVA software. New certifications for AVEVA SI partners ensure they are enabled to deliver quality solutions.
Together with AVEVA’s network of localized sales and support distributors, customers now have access to local expertise and support for AVEVA’s solutions. The AVEVA Select programme will support customers in this necessary transition by addressing challenges with a single software platform. AVEVA Select is the latest development in AVEVA’s channel partner strategy that is focused on delivering the highest value to our customers.
AVEVA’s Partner Network includes 5,000 members providing opportunities for alliances, systems integrators, distributors, solution providers and technology partners to participate in the AVEVA community. AVEVA’s Partner Network continues to grow as a hub for the latest thinking on performance management of manufacturing operations. It is utilized for sharing of best practices with the partner community, and their collective insights to solve some complex industrial manufacturing issues.
Cloud, is rapidly gaining ground in industrial sectors with combinations of public and private clouds seeing growth. Big data analytics is supporting improved product quality, decision making, lower operational costs. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving improvements in asset productivity.
The move to digital is becoming central to every interaction, forcing both organizations and individuals in the industrial sector to expand the adoption of digital technologies almost overnight. Digital channels have become critical to the customer-engagement model, and increasingly automated processes are driving productivity as well as providing customers with flexible, transparent, and stable supply chains.
The transition to digital is leading to the acceleration of technology shifts across all industrial vertical markets, which in turn is creating new and unique opportunities to address the common challenges our customers are facing today.
Some of AVEVA distributors include AITS across the Gulf, Peritus in Saudi Arabia, EBS in Kuwait and BASS in Egypt.
While in the past project creep, cost overruns, were part of large projects, AVEVA’s shift to digital can help partners make gains in those areas as well.