Kerry Grimes, Head of Global Partners at AVEVA.\n\n\nDistributed control systems have come a long way from their humble beginnings in the 1960s. What originally began as basic device monitors have since evolved into slick, end-to-end manufacturing production systems.\nBut many of today\u2019s legacy systems, which exist in plants all over the world, are yet to take advantage of digital platforms such as the cloud to leverage data and generate predictive business insights.\nOn the positive side, digital transformation in manufacturing is being accelerated not just by the development of digital platforms and cloud technologies, but also other factors. These include low-cost sensors and other Internet of Things aspects, such as continuous improvement in network connectivity, exponential growth in computing power and data storage, open systems, growth of APIs, and the arrival of Edge, AI, and machine learning.\nWhat\u2019s more, the manufacturing worker model has reached an inflection point. Those workers who have spent decades with manufacturing equipment, control, and process systems will be reaching retirement stage and are being replaced by younger, less experienced but more digitally savvy workers.\nIndustrial software vendors working in manufacturing process automation are now using this turning point in the market to bring in the next generation of digital platforms to automate processes, improve operational efficiency, and generate business insights.\nMany of the legacy manufacturing production systems still in use contain traditional HMI\/SCADA interface systems, that rely on deep process understanding. These are not likely to be suitable for the incoming generation of digital savvy workers.\nAn HMI\/SCADA system is a software-based control system that aggregates data through networking from all types of equipment, displays their status, and accepts commands to manage their operations. The HMI\/SCADA system collects data from remote terminal units, programmable logic controllers, and other control devices. This data is presented to a manufacturing shop floor operator using a human machine interface, or HMI.\nAs HMI\/SCADA systems have evolved, leading offers are focused on user experience and now provide centralized visualization and situational awareness to operators in a manufacturing environment. The HMI helps the manufacturing shop floor operator understand plant operations in real time, increasing their visibility into what is happening around them, and aids decisions to adjust the working of any machines and processes.\nThese HMI dashboards that are more intuitive, have user friendly interfaces, rely on digital data transparency, and provide business insights for decision making will be more intuitive to use for the incoming generation of digital savvy workers.\nHMI\/SCADA systems are now being leveraged as foundations for integration and connection to historian and data platforms to allow for predictive type analytics. The way digital transformation works in a manufacturing plant is to capture industrial data through HMI\/SCADA systems, integrate it further with data attributes from other systems to add context, add to the data platform or historian, and then use analytics for predictive business insights and forecasting.\nSuch solutions create a democratization of tools throughout the manufacturing plant, improvement in operational performance, reduction of operational costs, transformation of mindset among employees, and a culture of continuous improvement.\nAnother driver that is boosting the movement of industrial enterprises toward digital solutions is the Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription-based licensing model. The transition from perpetual licensing to subscription has lowered the barriers for adoption of digital solutions, in the form of much lower first-year costs and expenses being funded as operating costs rather than capital expenditures.\nARC Advisory Group anticipates subscription-based models will grow at a pace nearly four times that of traditional software licenses over the next five years in the industrial software market.\nTo drive digital transformation in the manufacturing sector, leading industrial software vendors are now offering operations control that bring scalable sets of solutions that are cybersecure, based on industry standards, and support full asset and operations lifecycle capabilities such as design, HMI\/SCADA, supervisory control, analytics, Artificial Intelligence \/Machine Learning, Extended Reality, Manufacturing Execution Systems, asset performance, maintenance, and condition management. All this while only paying for the capabilities needed.\nThis simplifies consumption of new capabilities and helps to accelerate an end user\u2019s digital transformation journey.\nIndustrial channel partners providing digital transformation solutions for manufacturing enterprises must be able to provide a full range of operational and value-add services. Typical services provided by the industrial software channel partner include design consulting, integration with hardware, automation, security, and support services.\nHowever, for the enterprise end user the ability of the channel partner to build a software layer that integrates all the data, and converts their data into business insights, specific to their business, is also a critical and important differentiator.\nManufacturing enterprises will always have their unique data requirements, and the ability of the industrial channel partner to build this customized software service layer, will determine their position in the vendor-partner-customer value chain.\nAs the pace of digital transformation accelerates, both vendors and channel partners need to have an open dialogue on where channel partners operate across an X-Y matrix. The channel partners\u2019 importance in the market and their capability to keep pace with the demands of digital transformation are a good starting point when embracing a digital future.