SIs don’t confront the same barriers and roadblocks seen by end users because they sit at the forefront of technology and bring all the necessary expertise and know-how to implement new technologies with them. So, while SIs aren’t usually making the case for CAPEX or struggling to get to grips with new technology, they do need to get to grips with shifting market trends to help their customers overcome such barriers. To understand the challenges and opportunities for SIs in the DX era, Wayne Ashworth, SI Relationship Manager, SolutionsPT, spoke with a valuable member of the AVEVA SI Certification Program (that is administered in the UK and Ireland by SolutionsPT), Director of Peak Technology Solutions, Michael Thomas.Who is Peak Technology Solutions?Peak Technology Solutions was established in 2004. The company is headquartered at the national high-technology campus at Sci-Tech Daresbury (Cheshire), with regional offices in Reading, Newcastle and Chesterfield. Part of the Edwin James Group, their approach to systems integration is proven to lower the time and cost of a control automation project. This includes the specification and procurement of industry-leading hardware, world-class software, Industry 4.0 initiatives and process turnkey projects. Michael Thomas, Director, Peak Technology Solution, said: “We have a clear mission with our customers, and that is to help them save money and improve performance across process and manufacturing automation. Digital transformation is one of our strategies and we act as a guide for our customers through that difficult process. “We operate across the broad spectrum of manufacturing, pharmaceutical, chemicals, and utilities, and, in each sector, we scout the marketplace, for innovative technologies that will lead to the best capabilities for our customers.“Working with SolutionsPT, we have access to world-class AVEVA software, plus the knowledge that any new technology has already been through a rigorous due diligence process, creating safe products we can adopt into our solutions.” SolutionsPT has a regular product introduction, so anything new that joins its portfolio (AVEVA or otherwise) will go through a testing process where it is trialled with a variety of other products. Once complete, the company can present the latest technologies to our network of system integrators, and each and every member has a clear understanding of which hardware or software is fit for purpose and can offer the most benefits for their customers. “A good example of this process was our adoption of AVEVA System Platform way back in 2004, this was the first iteration of the product but because of the extensive testing by SolutionsPT we knew the capabilities it offered, and it has been one of our most successful products in the AVEVA portfolio,” added Michael Thomas Trusted expertsThomas makes a very good point about trust between the SI and the supplier. In the same way, it is vital that SolutionsPT can trust its SI partners to implement the technology we sell in the right way to maximise its potential. System integrators within the AVEVA SI Certification Program undergo a constant accreditation renewal process that proves an in-depth understanding of each product. This removes complacency completely from the equation and the end users know that they are not only getting the best product but getting the best people to integrate it. “We are constantly pushing our team through the accreditation process and are proud to have earned Premier Partners status with AVEVA and SolutionsPT. To achieve this status, we had to show not just a fantastic working knowledge of the product portfolio, but also a track record of successfully installing AVEVA technologies. “In the highly competitive world of system integration, this partnership status actually places us at the top of a pecking order and we are seeing customers actually seeking that status and making their purchasing decisions on it,” adds Thomas.Industrial customers face a lot of risks when advancing digital transformation since investing heavily in time and resources for a project that didn’t work, might cripple an entire business. There is no doubt that direct accreditation from AVEVA and the associated partnership status offers huge reassurance to end users. Ecosystem of integration It isn’t just the collaboration between SolutionsPT and Peak Technology Solutions that brings benefits to end users. Due to their partnership status Peak has access to our wide network of system integrators. This unique club features only integrators at the very top of their respective fields, and by pooling their collective expertise, there is no challenge that can’t be overcome. It allows for the open discussion of ideas and topics without the competition, and each SI member knows they have a network to rely on, all facilitated by the sole distributor of AVEVA software in the UK and Ireland, SolutionsPT. Digital transformation for allEvery stakeholder is on a digital transformation journey, and that is still true for SIs themselves. In the DX era, the converging worlds of IT and OT mean that the days when system integrators can focus solely on the OT side are long gone. Now, it is expected and integral to the success of a project that the SI has an understanding of the IT side and how their solutions will impact the wider enterprise. “We have evolved with the industry to expand our skillset beyond automation. Digital transformation means every operational asset must work seamlessly alongside IT infrastructures to enable improvements in everything from productivity and maintenance to safety. “Our teams include specialists versed in IT and OT as they are fundamental to our ability to deliver projects bridging the two worlds seamlessly. Typical IT/OT projects include a level of data analytics, enabling users to make informed decisions that really impact the performance of the business,” says Thomas. The world of system integration is competitive and end users will ultimately have the final say on whom they bring in to implement their projects. By working with SolutionsPT and joining the AVEVA SI Certification Program, SIs can get themselves onto shortlists of approved integrators and turn competition into collaboration. By collaborating with other specialist system integrators and the digital transformation expertise of SolutionsPT, members can access a far deeper pool of knowledge and experience and bring it to bear on their projects. “The relationship between Peak Technology Solutions, SolutionsPT and the wider SI ecosystem has consistently helped us win business and then deliver on the high expectations of our customers. “The technical depth we offer during the project inception is critical to success: it isn’t enough to simply offer the latest piece of kit. In fact, poor integration can give a new product a bad name and push a customer to seek alternatives. As our employees are constantly working with the AVEVA products, our customers have peace of mind that the project will be completed successfully. “We can also take this expertise and lend it to the ecosystem of system integrators facilitated by SolutionsPT. The ability to collaborate is key to successful digital transformation initiatives,” concluded Michael Thomas.
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